Pakistan can’t afford politics of ‘business as usual’, says Bilawal

Published January 5, 2024
LAHORE: PPP supporters attend the party’s workers convention at Jati Umra, on Thursday.—PPI
LAHORE: PPP supporters attend the party’s workers convention at Jati Umra, on Thursday.—PPI

LAHORE: PPP Chair­man Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday said the country could no longer afford politics of “business as usual” and it was time to “build a Pakistan that works for everyone”.

“Pakistan can no longer afford the politics of ‘business as usual’, where it is always the poor who are asked to sacrifice, whilst the privileged few reap the benefits,” he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, after addressing a rally in Lahore’s Jati Umra.

“We can no longer afford the politics of division and hatred that continues to divide us. We can no longer afford the politics of convenience, where the will of the people is suppressed by backroom deals that empower whoever is the new ‘flavour of the month’,” he said.

“You will not stand for it. I will not stand for it. The people of Pakistan will not stand for it. And all power must flow from the people. Together we can usher in a new dawn, and build a Pakistan that works for everyone,” he added.

Earlier, in the Jati Umra rally, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PPP would put up a strong fight against its political opponents in Lahore, which has been PML-N’s stronghold.

He said the PPP would give a message to all “political forces” that the party was contesting from every constituency of the country to form the next government.

Calling on PPP workers to work day and night, he said the PPP did not believe in politics of mudslinging and would take its manifesto and vision to the masses of Punjab.

“You have to convince the people of Raiwind and Punjab that if you want a government of the common folk, the poor and the farmers […], then only this party of martyrs can accomplish that and represent the people instead of the PML-N and PTI,” he said.

The PPP chairman also laid out and explained the party’s 10-point manifesto to the crowd.

As for free healthcare, he highlighted the PPP’s performance in Sindh, insisting that it was not an “empty promise like the PML-N or PTI”.

“What do they (PML-N) talk about? That they have done this and that in Punjab? You tell me, have they given any free government hospital to you in Raiwind? They themselves flee to London whenever they have chest pain.

“Next time when there is chest pain — and it will definitely happen on Feb 8 — then we are making a free hospital here for you,” he quipped.

Earlier, former provincial minister Abdul Ghafoor Meo, once a close aide of the Sharifs, announced joining the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2024

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