CHITRAL: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday asked veteran politicians to call it a day allowing youth to take up the reins of the country.
“Youth form 70 per cent of the population and have the capability and passion to run the country along modern lines and thus, steering it out of the current morass,” the PPP leader told a public meetinghere.
Mr Bilawal said Pakistan was a country of fabulous resources and tremendous growth potential but its leadership that was well into old age impeded national progress, lacked vision, and focused its attention on settling scores with political rivals and amassing wealth after coming to power.
“They [veteran politicians] should either have a rest in their farmhouses or madrassas and pray for the welfare of the country and people acknowledging they can no more get along with modern times,” he said without naming names.
Says PDM-led govt ‘failed’ as his party’s allies wanted to take revenge from political rivals
The PPP chairman said the 18 months long PDM-led government “failed” as his party’s allies wanted to take revenge from political rivals leaving the country’s grave economic and foreign policy issues unresolved.
He claimed that during his party’s rule, Sindh had seen more development and progress than the other three provinces and that its healthcare system was on par with international standards with facilities in Karachi being accessed by people from across the country.
Mr Bilawal said massive floods hit all four provinces but the PPP-led Sindh responded to it well by carrying out relief and rehabilitation work on an unprecedented scale.
“We will construct two lakh houses for those who lost their homes to floods. Proper houses will be given away to slum dwellers,” he said.
The PPP leader said his party had proved to be only one with the “power and competence to fight poverty and natural disasters.”
He said the PPP wasn’t averse to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or any other party and it was just fighting against poverty, unemployment and inflation, which had made life of the poor hell.
Mr Bilawal said his party hoped that the people would elect it to power yet again to serve them on the basis of its past performance and “character.”
He asked the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to vote for the PPPin the Feb 8 elections to enable a jiyala (its worker) to be elected as the province’s chief minister and said if that happened, then the PPP government in the centre wouldn’t face any hurdle from the provincial government to the formulation of development plans.
The PPP leader said that if his party was voted to power, it would declare Malakand Division and tribal districts tax-free zones forever and not for a period of 10 or 20 years, while Chitralis would get “full” subsidy on wheat prices.
He also said the PPP government would increase the quota of Chitral area in the cash handouts given away by the Benazir Income Support Programme to the needy people so that the maximum number of women could benefit.
Mr Bilawal also said a special development package would be announced for the region with a special focus on infrastructure development.
He said that the “proper” implementation of the 18th Constitutional Amendment would save the country Rs100 billion every year and that amount could be spent on the youth’s development and their education and for providing them with employment, and increasing the people’s access to healthcare.
Earlier, former Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP KP president Mohammad Ali Shah and local leaders Salim Khan and Amirullah Khan addressed the gathering.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2023