Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks at a rally in Chachro.—Dawn
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks at a rally in Chachro.—Dawn

MIRPURKHAS / MITHI: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has asked his party workers to thwart any attempt to rig the February 8 general elections and not leave polling stations without collecting Form-45.

While addressing a rally at Mirpurkhas’ Gama Stadium on Saturday, the PPP chairman said that masses will reject the parties who are fooling the people and indulging in politics of violence and hatred.

Earlier, Mr Bhutto-Zar­dari addressed a public gat­hering in the Chac­hro area of Tharparkar district where he suggested preparing a code of conduct and rule of games after elections to keep politics from turning into a personal enmity.

The PPP leader said a system should be evolved where everyone could contest elections and not point fingers at others after the exercise.

“We want all the parties to unite after the elections to form a political alliance and work together for the welfare of people.”

He pledged to bury the politics of hatred and division forever.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari criticised PML-N’s focus on “specific areas within one province” and stated that the party’s supremo, Nawaz Sharif, was not campaigning in Sindh because he didn’t make any contributions to the province’s development.

He added that an individual who is seeking a fourth term as prime minister is “lying” about the Thar coal project.

“Who built the Thar coal project?” he asked the crowd, which replied, “Benazir, Benazir….”

He explained that the project was planned to benefit the people of Tharparkar and announced plans to lay a track from Karachi for quality and low-cost travel facilities to the people of the desert district.

He claimed that he is the only politician seeking votes from people, while others are “looking left and right”.

The PPP leader also criticised his other rivals, the Grand Democratic Alliance, saying their candidates are contesting elections in Sindh but are facilitating the PML-N.

About his other rival, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the PPP leader said they were “waiting for a dictator like Ziaul Haq” to regain power.

He added that supporting the former dictator was the party’s mistake, and “people have not forgiven it till now”.

According to a press release by the Bilawal House Media Cell, the PPP chairman expressed gratitude to the people of Chachro and Tharparkar, stating that they had already given their verdict before Feb 8.

He identified inflation, poverty, and unemployment as the three biggest problems and presented the solutions given by the PPP in its election manifesto.

The former foreign minister promised to establish at least one university in each district and improve the public health system with free treatment facilities similar to NICVD, SIUT, and Gambat Medical Institute.

The PPP chairman also vowed not to allow anyone to damage Karoonjhar Hills and warned to cut the hands of those attempting to extract the granite stone from the area.

He appealed to the people of Tharparkar to vote for his “nai soch” on February 8 and support PPP candidates Dr Mahesh Malani, Arbab Lutfullah, Ameer Ali Shah Jilani, Dost Muhammad Rahimoon, Qasim Siraj Soomro and Faqir Sher Muhammad Bilalani.

The candidates also took an oath to serve people without discrimination after winning the elections.

Meeting in Jacobabad

Earlier on Friday night, The PPP chairman addressed a press conference in Jacobabad after his planned election rally was called off due to rain.

He claimed that other than the PPP, all other parties were exploiting religion and linguistic issues for their politics.

“We advocate for a level playing field for all political parties with the aim of free, fair and transparent elections,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said.

He once again accused Mr Sharif of “using the police force in Punjab” to harass opponents.

He appealed to people not to waste their vote by supporting independents, as according to him, “the real contest was between ‘Arrow’ and ‘Lion’ [PPP and PML-N]”.

The former minister said inflation, unemployment, and poverty were the most pressing issues, and PPP had framed its manifesto to address them effectively.

The PPP chairman said his party wants to complete the Pak-Iran Gas pipeline project, which his father, Asif Ali Zardari, initiated when he was the president.

“Its completion would benefit the people of Pakistan,” he said and appreciated the positive interaction between the foreign ministers of the two countries to resolve the challenges of security and terrorism.

He also reiterated his promises of doubling the income, providing 300 free electricity units through solar energy and building three million houses for the poor.

The PPP chairman referred to the recent attacks on his party’s candidates in Balochistan and added that politicians and common people were being targeted.

M.B. Kalhoro in Larkana and Waseem Shamsi in Sukkur also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2024

To find your constituency and location of your polling booth, SMS your NIC number (no spaces) to 8300. Once you know your constituency, visit the ECP website here for candidates.



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