PESHAWAR: Chairman of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for ‘backtracking’ on his all commitments and said his party’s Feb 27 long march on Islamabad would oust the ‘corrupt and incompetent’ federal government.
Addressing the party workers’ convention here, Mr Bilawal said the country’s economic situation had worsened to the extent that there was no room for Prime Minister Imran Khan to stay in power any longer.
He said his party had announced the waging of a war against the incompetent federal government.
“Our [PPP’s] long march will leave Karachi on Feb 27 and it will really difficult for the government to handle once it reaches Islamabad,” he said.
The PPP leader said the Imran Khan-led government had promised to bring a positive change in fate of the people but it only pushed masses into economic crisis.
He said the Feb 27 long march would be a no-confidence motion against the current incompetent and illegitimate government.
PPP leader says long march on Islamabad to oust ‘corrupt, incompetent’ govt
Mr Bilawal said the ruling PTI had failed to fulfil its promises for the provision of 10 million jobs and five million houses to the people during the last three years.
He said the prime minister hadn’t given a single job to the people since he assumed the office and instead, he got his illegal Banigala mansion regularised by Islamabad’s civic agency.
“All his [Imran’s] promises to the people about better education and employment opportunities, good economy, elimination of corruption and better law and order have turned out to be false one after another,” he said.
The PPP leader said the PTI government had created the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.
He said he had called Imran Khan the selected prime minister on the first day of the current National Assembly and the people learned about the veracity of his assertion.
Mr Bilawal insisted that PM Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ was the most corrupt country in the world according to a Transparency International report.
He said some opposition parties had advocated en bloc resignations from assemblies but his party opposed the idea as it didn’t want to leave the ‘field open’ to the PTI government and instead asked the combined opposition to resist it forcefully.
“We resisted dictators General Yahya Khan, General Ziaul Haq and General Musharraf,” he said.
The PPP leader said his party urged the other opposition parties to defeat the PTI in electoral arena instead of quitting assemblies, and the people later saw the ruling party lose all by-elections, Senate polls and local body elections,” he said. He claimed that the long march on Islamabad would weaken the government.
“We are democratic people and will neither attack parliament and PTV building nor will we seek the help of any national institution to oust the government. Our friends are now with us on it. We will reach Islamabad and place our demands before the selected government,” he said.
Mr Bilawal said the PPP workers had successfully fought against terrorists, who martyred police officials, soldiers, schoolchildren and other civilians.
He said the government had bowed down to terrorists but the people would continue with their struggle against anti-state elements.
The PPP leader said the terrorists should first seek forgiveness from the nation for their past actions and then face the law.
He said the people and parliament should be taken into confidence by the government before engaging proscribed groups for dialogue.
Mr Bilawal said it was the PPP government, which named the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as demanded by the residents and granted provinces autonomy through 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
“The youth cannot forget the party, which gave them jobs. The women cannot forget the party, which gave them financial support through the Benazir Income Support Programme. We [PPP] will continue fighting for the people’s rights,” he said.
The PPP leader said his party’s government in Sindh was trying to take the minimum wage to Rs25,000 and give more and more benefits to workers.
“We have restored student unions in Sindh and will do so in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other provinces as well after coming to power. We will also ensure free treatment of cancer, liver, kidney and heart patients,” he said.
Former opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, provincial president Najamuddin Khan and other PPP leaders also spoke on the occasion.
MEETING WITH ANP LEADERS: Mr Bilawal also visited the Awami National Party’s Bacha Khan Markaz here and met leaders of the party, including central general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain and provincial president Aimal Wali Khan.
They all discussed the overall political situation in the country and the PPP’s preparation for the Feb 27 long march on Islamabad.
The ANP has already announced it will join the anti-government rally.
Mr Bilawal later addressed a joint news conference along with the ANP leaders and said the PTI government, which was imposed on the nation, had failed to resolve the country’s issues and instead, it had created a massive economic crisis.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2022