PM trying to turn ISI into Tiger Force: Bilawal

Published October 18, 2021
ACCOMPANIED by sister Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari waves to the crowd at the rally.—Shakil Adil / White Star
ACCOMPANIED by sister Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari waves to the crowd at the rally.—Shakil Adil / White Star

• Expresses resolve to stand by armed forces
• Warns Imran ‘final countdown has begun’
• Says PPP will guarantee pro-people govt

KARACHI: In a blunt and strong response to the federal government’s reluctance to notify new Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief’s appointment despite clear decision of the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of trying to take control of the military establishment by turning it into his ‘Tiger Force’.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari not only criticised PM Khan for his recent moves related to the armed forces and the prime intelligence agency but also expressed his resolve to stand by the institution in case of any such move by the prime minister. In the same breath, he predicted the downfall of the PTI government claiming that it was the “beginning of a final countdown”.

The PPP chairman expressed these views while addressing a party rally at Bagh-i-Jinnah to mark the 14th anniversary of 2007 Karsaz bombing on Benazir Bhutto’s homecoming convoy.

During his address, he maintained the same harsh tone against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government that he had been using since it came to power in 2018 but what appeared different this time was his choice of words for the military establishment.

“If we allow him [PM Imran Khan], he would turn this whole country into a Tiger Force. Even he wants our military and ISI to turn into a Tiger Force [a group of volunteers formed by the premier to help the government in accomplishing its tasks],” the PPP chairman said.

“We won’t allow Mr Khan for any move that threatens our democratic values. Whether it Is our democracy or politics or even economy, we would not allow you to do whatever you want. You will no longer find an easy sailing. We warn Khan sahib the countdown has begun. The protest has begun in every nook and corner of the country against this ‘selected and puppet’ government.”

KARACHI: Women workers of the Peoples Party while attending the party’s rally on Sunday pray for those who died in the 2007 Karsaz bombing.—White Star
KARACHI: Women workers of the Peoples Party while attending the party’s rally on Sunday pray for those who died in the 2007 Karsaz bombing.—White Star

At a packed portion of Bagh-i-Jinnah near the Quaid’s mausoleum, the PPP leadership’s speech appeared different considering his choice of words and confidence. Mr Bhutto-Zardari was though addressing the rally that marked the anniversary of the twin blasts that had killed hundreds of PPP workers in Karachi, at one point he sounded like making an election speech when he shared the plan of his future government. He claimed the PPP would be in power in the next parliamentary set-up.

“It is now as clear as day that the PPP is coming into power,” the party chairman said to the roar of the crowd. “Everyone is seeing [it happening]. I appeal to you and people of Pakistan everywhere across the country not to pay heed to anti-PPP propaganda.

“I request you that you have to decide your own future. We will not allow [anyone else] this time to decide the country’s future or decide the leadership of the country. We won’t allow anyone this time to select the PM for this country. It is the people’s right and they will make a decision this time,” the PPP chairman said.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari then told the crowd that the PPP was going to form the next government at Centre. However, he also made it clear that he was not making any tall claims to fix the problems in one go. But the nation should be rest assured that the PPP would guarantee a pro-people and pro-poor government, he said.

He also shared a sketchy plan about easing financial burden that common man had been bearing amid growing inflation. “I promise you that we will increase the wages from the very first day [of the power],” he said.

The PPP chairman then promised the people, “We will increase the pension from the very first day. I assure you that the journey towards welfare state, prosperous and strong Pakistan that was started by Quaid-i-Awam [Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto] and continued by Bibi Shaheed [Benazir Bhutto] would be resumed and would end only after reaching its destination.”

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021

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