Bilawal rues ‘uneven’ playing field in run-up to polls

Published September 13, 2023
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to reporters in Sukkur on September 12. — DawnNewsTV
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to reporters in Sukkur on September 12. — DawnNewsTV

• Fazl rules out alliance with PPP, says JUI-F values ‘loyalty’
• PPP chief claims advanced weapons have fallen in hands of terrorists, katcha robbers

SUKKUR: Building steam on the campaign trail, Pakis­tan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday raised objections to the lack of a level playing field in the run-up to general elections, saying there was a need to do away with outdated methods of running the country.

In a response to a question during his visit to Sukkur, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said: “Curr­ently, there is a level playing field in the country for some [parties], but not for everyone; and I object to that.”

The PPP chairperson, however, expressed his confidence in the ECP, emphasising that the electoral watchdog was the authority to announce the poll date.

“We will also request [the ECP] to hold polls timely,” he told journalists. The PPP leader said that issues of inflation and the economy were linked to elections, adding that only elected representatives would be able to resolve this crisis.

On the other hand, his party’s former ruling ally in the Centre, the JUI-F has ruled out a potential electoral alliance with the party in Sindh, with its chief Fazlur Rehman saying his party valued “loyalty” in its political dealings.

The JUI-F will not side with anyone who goes against this value, Maulana Fazl said, claiming that the PPP was not interested in ‘teamwork’.

“I have closely observed how the JUI-F was treated during the PDM alliance, and PPP has been of no help so far,” he said, adding that JUI-F’s suggestions were not taken into consideration during the caretakers’ appointment.

“This was not limited to us, they [PPP] also did not pay attention to the suggestions their own party members gave; hence, it has been proven that they’re not interested in teamwork, so the JUI-F will be working in coordination with other parties in Sindh, but not with the PPP,” the JUI-F chief, who also headed the PDM, told Hamid Mir on Geo News.

Katcha robbers and US weapons

Speaking about armed robbers in the Katcha area of Sindh, the PPP chief rema­r­ked that the US weapons used in Afghanistan had not only reached terrorists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but robbers in Sindh were also using these weapons. He said the police officials sacrificed their lives to rid the area of dacoits

Mr Bhutto-Zardari blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for undermining the national security policy within a few days.

“After the Taliban government came to power in Afghanis­tan…a plan was chalked out to settle terrorists here,” he said, calling out former army general Faiz Hameed and Imran Khan for their plan to resettle the militants in the erstwhile Fata region.

“How long would terrorists take to reach Karachi from [erstwhile] Fata region,” he said, asking whether the duo had thought about this.

In a reference to the surge in terrorism, he said the ramifications of the “dangerous policy” to resettle TTP militants in Pakistan have started to affect the country.

The PPP chief claimed that his party had prepared a plan to fix the power sector. He said the PPP would focus on green energy and solar energy and touted the public-private model for these projects.

The PPP chairperson also met the family of slain journalist Jan Muhammad Mehar in Sukkur. He said the PPP would help seek justice for the bereaved family. He said that on the demand of the family of the journalist and the Sukkur Press Club, a joint investigation team was formed to probe the murder.

Aleezeh Fatimah in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2023

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