MUZAFFARABAD: Fulminating against Imran Khan on the second consecutive day on Saturday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari alleged that the prime minister had not taken a single correct decision or position on Kashmir and instead had been making one mistake after another.
“While Quaid-i-Awam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had stated that he could not make a mistake on Kashmir even in his sleep, the present puppet prime minister has not taken, even once, a correct decision, a correct policy and a correct position on this sensitive issue,” he said in his speech in the city of Kotli as part of his party’s election campaign in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Most of his speech had repetitions from his Friday’s address to two gatherings and recollections of the quotes, actions and ideology of his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and mother Benazir Bhutto.
He said when Indian premier Narendra Modi launched a “historic attack” on Kashmir on Aug 5, 2019 and the whole country anxiously waited for the government’s response and reaction, the prime minister of Pakistan had responded with his inability to do anything.
Says whole country waited for govt’s effective response to India’s Aug 5 action
“His [PM’s] other response was to stand along the roads on each Friday but he could not honour even that commitment. Other than this, he just renamed Kashmir Highway as Srinagar Highway.”
Contrarily, Mr Bhutto-Zardari recalled, when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto used to give a strike call against tyranny in occupied Kashmir, both sides of the divide would witness a historic shutdown.
Amid a round of applause from the charged crowd, the PPP leader vowed that his party would follow the desire and dictation of the Kashmiris and not “anybody else”. “If you decide for [a] war, we will wage a war and if you decide in favour of peace, we will welcome it by all means and establish peace,” he said.
“Let me make it clear it’s only you, the Kashmiris, who have right to decide your fate. Neither India nor Pakistan can take decisions about your destiny. This has been and this will remain the policy of our party,” he added.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said: “I wonder at whose bidding the puppet prime minister is formulating policies on Kashmir. Why isn’t he consulting the Kashmiris.”
Alluding to the powers that be, he said those with a “peculiar mindset” had declared Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto ‘security risk’ though former was the architect of nuclear programme and the latter was the architect of its missile programme. “I ask those people whether this puppet of yours has not become a security risk when he says that there is no need for Pakistan’s nuclear programme?”
Drawing a parallel between two parts of Kashmir, he said if people in occupied Kashmir were facing and resisting atrocities of Modi’s Hindutva driven regime and RSS, here in AJK people were braving dearness tsunami, unemployment, poverty, and economic impoverishment.
He said: “The PPP is still the most vibrant force from Karachi to Kashmir. Allah willing the next prime minister in Azad Kashmir will be from our party,” he said, asking Kashmiris to elect PPP candidates from all constituencies so that PPP could form a government independently to “respond not only to Mr Modi but also to puppet Imran Khan”.
He alleged that Mr Khan was trying to rig the election in AJK because he himself was a product of rigged elections.
Former PM Raja Parvez Ashraf, Qamar Zaman Kaira, PPP AJK chief Chaudhry Latif Akbar and many other PPP leaders and candidates were also present.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2021