HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should dissolve assemblies and resign voluntarily before his party workers land in Islamabad along with no-confidence resolution.
“This march has already caused the ‘puppet’ prime minister to betray signs of ghabrahat [nervousness],” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari while speaking to a charged crowd at Gharibabad Chowk near Pathan Colony after arriving there on a container from Tando Mohammad Khan on Monday evening.
He left for Matiari after the speech and would go to Naushahro Feroze thence.
“Why are you fleeing, you coward? Make announcement of fresh election as PPP is up to the challenge. When people will be offered choice they will definitely reject the ‘selected’, he thundered amid applause from the crowd.
His younger sister, Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari made an appearance on the container alongside him but did not deliver a speech.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP Sindh president Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, MNA Naveed Qamar, Minister Jam Khan Shoro, MPAs Abdul Jabbar Khan, Sharjeel Memon, MNA Hussain Tariq Shah and the party’s district president Saghir Qureshi also spoke at the gathering.
Men and women dressed in tri-coloured party flag danced to the tunes of dila teer bija and other party songs. Elaborate security arrangements were made along the route of the caravan and traffic was diverted to alternate routes, causing traffic jams in the city.
Bilawal said that if the PM thought he could face PPP he should announce dissolution of assemblies in Monday’s address to the nation and hold fresh election as the PPP was ready to face the challenge. “There would be a ‘democratic attack’,” he said. The PM should go home otherwise PPP would oust him, he warned.
He said that only one day had passed to PPP’s march and day two had just begun but Banigala had already started screaming. When this march was giving such pain to the PM in one day what would happen when it reached Islamabad on March 8. “He will have to go then,” he said.
He urged every parliamentarian to express his or her no confidence in the PM since masses had already lost trust in him. “Did you like Tabdeeli, people of Hyderabad?” he asked smilingly before he started his 15-minute speech.
Clad in shalwar kameez, he waited for other party leaders to deliver brief speeches before his turn came. “If you [people] didn’t like it then time has come to send the selected packing,” he said, mocking PM Khan’s refrain of tabdeeli aa gaee hey.
“We [PPP] are ready for election,” he said. This ‘long march’ was against the inept government and the PM, his political and economic policies and tyranny, he said.
He thanked people for according him a warm welcome and said people of Hyderabad had supported his grandfather Z.A. Bhutto and his mother, Benazir Bhutto. “I am here to seek your help as I am struggling for the country, labourers, peasants and students,” he said.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that it was only PPP which was able to extricate Pakistan out of the present economic crisis. When PPP decided to raise minimum wages the decision was challenged in courts and the government was told the wages could not be raised, he said.
He said that PPP government lifted ban on students union which had been proscribed by military dictator Gen Zia. The restoration of students’ unions was a step that would go a long way in producing future leadership for the country, he said.
“We have been struggling to get rid of the economic crisis since the PTI presented its IMF-dictated budget. Imran would have to be ousted to expose the PTI-IMF deal, PTI government would have to be dislodged and transparent election would have to be held to bring a true representative government with masses’ mandate,” he said.
He said that the PM had deputed his ministers to stage a march for Sindh’s rights. “Can someone make him understand it is he who has committed robbery over rights of Sindh be it gas, NFC, 18th Amendment, water, flour or sugar,” he said.
Bilawal said that the PM had committed injustice not only against Sindh but against all provinces. The prime minister put curbs on media to restrain it from criticising him and his government and then tried to gag it for speaking against the first lady. Now he had introduced a fully fledged ordinance to punish and imprison those using abusive language or sending messages on social media, he said.
Referring to the prime ministers’ aides, he said the PM himself and his ‘sherros’ hurled abuses and ‘barked’ at others and simultaneously blamed others but one journalist was beaten up for his slip of tongue against the PM’s slip of tongue since the prime minister did not tolerate his criticism.
He ridiculed federal ministers’ attempt to draw parallels between PTI and Asif Zardari government. Zardari had restored 1973 Constitution, introduced 18th Amendment, enforced NFC Award, gave name to NWFP and ensured provincial autonomy. In contrast “what Imran Khan has done and what he has to do if Gwadar port is functioning in CPEC,” he said in a sarcastic tone.
He said that PPP government introduced Benazir Income Support Programme for social security of under-privileged women. “But what have you done? Do you think by changing BISP’s name it will become your programme,” he wondered.
Bilawal said in his address at a gathering in Hala town that he knew Imran Khan would not accept what he was being offered by PPP because he was afraid of masses. People would slap him for making false promises of creating 10 million jobs and building 5m houses when he reached out to them for seeking votes, he said.
He said the PM had promised to end corruption but on the contrary he was himself found to be a thief as he had stolen sugar, gas, flour, water etc. The PM should learn from Asif Ali Zardari, who braved the kind of character assassination which was unseen in the history of Pakistan media, he said. “Still, Zardari is smiling but the PM is nervous,” he said.
He urged people to recognise the faces who had become facilitators of Imran Khan so that they knew who was providing help when robbery was being committed on Sindh’s water, gas, sugar and flour.
Bilawal’s caravan left Hala and reached Qazi Ahmed in Shaheed Benazirabad district where he was to address a rally.
Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2022