Ex-president Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday called Balochistan the “heart of Pakistan”, lamenting that this view was not shared by Islamabad or the other provinces.
He made the remarks while addressing a rally in Quetta to mark the party’s 56th foundation day in an effort to improve its prospects in the province in the run up to the general elections.
“Pakistan has everything. And Balochistan is the heart of Pakistan. Unfortunately, Islamabad does not see that Balochistan is the heart. The other provinces do not see it [either],” he lamented.
“But we see that Balochistan is the heart of Pakistan. And it is very important to win over this heart. Without winning over the heart of Balochistan, we cannot fix Pakistan.”
Zardari said that “grief” prevalent in the province, which needed to be addressed.
“There is much grief […] in Balochistan and we need to address that. We tried to do it in our time but it was not enough,” he said, adding that PPP wanted the people of Balochistan to take ownership of their land and resources.
He said that he would ensure water was made accessible for the people of the province. “Pakistan becomes an export country when Balochistan has [access to] water,” he said.
“We have formulas available on how to develop Pakistan, how to strengthen Balochistan, and how we have to serve you,” he added.
Commenting on his son PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the ex-president — in an apparent slip of the tongue — said, “My son, by becoming the youngest prime minister of Pakistan, raised Pakistan’s honour and flag.”
During the previous tenure of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, Bilawal had served as the foreign minister, the youngest ever to do so.
“Everyone knows him now. Some knew him because of his mother, some people knew him because of his father and some knew him because of his grandfather but today they know him because of his own identity,” he said.
“In all seasons and at all times, we have to support him […] we have to transfer what we know […] we want to make Bilawal the leader of the youth,” he said.
“We will redefine Pakistan, we are not weak, you are not weak,” he said as he wrapped up his speech.
Bilawal says Pakistan needs ‘new ideology, new politics’
In his speech, Bilawal said that the country was in need of a “new ideology”. He stated that politics which dwelled on division and hatred need to be discarded.
“The PPP wants to start a new system of politics in the country where our opponent would not be any particular party or politician. Instead, our opponent would be poverty, unemployment and inflation,” Bilawal said.
He said that when his mother Benazir Bhutto became the prime minister, she set an example of governing through unity.
Bilawal said that PPP cared for the common man, while other political parties represented the elite. He said that Pakistan was not only in need of a new system of politics but also a “people’s charter of democracy”.
Bilawal stated that the people of Balochistan supported the PPP in the general election, then he would change the fate of the country.
He called out the PML-N for failing to address economic challenges after the departure of the PTI government. He said that the people of the country had realised that to ensure the poor man is catered to, they would have to vote for the PPP.
“They are not the Muslim league anymore, they are the mehngai (inflation) league,” he said, referring to the PML-N.
Bilawal said that no other political party was prepared for the upcoming election. He also expressed the hope that the next premier and chief minister of Balochistan would be from the PPP.