Today's Paper | July 22, 2024

Updated 09 Dec, 2023 06:46pm

Politicking heats up as Bilawal taunts Nawaz, accuses him of trying to become ‘selected’ for 4th time

With general elections less than two months away, rally politicking was on full swing on Saturday when PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari taunted PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, saying “Raiwind’s prime minister” was trying to become “selected for the fourth time”.

Last month, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and President Arif Alvi had agreed on February 8, 2024 as the date for polls. In the run-up to polls, the rivalry between the Nawaz-led PML-N and the PPP resurfaced after the latter alleged that the former has a secret alliance with the current caretaker setup.

Bilawal has targeted Nawaz on multiple occasions over the past few weeks, with his first advice to the PML-N top leader on Nov 14 being to focus on his traditional stronghold Lahore instead of venturing into other provinces. Last week, he again urged Nawaz to contest the upcoming general elections on the strength of his own ideology and mandate and shun the support of the “administration”.

Today, Nawaz was again on Bilawal’s agenda during a party convention in Dir. “You have suffered in both [the cases],” he said as he addressed his party workers. “First, the Zaman Park prime minister in whose time vindictive politics and traditional politics were emphasised on … Second, the Raiwind PM who has already been PM three times and is now attempting to be selected for a fourth time.

“Everyone has a right to contest elections and dream but the people also have the right to ask that the one who failed once, twice and thrice, what can he accomplish after a fourth time?”

He said the people had the right to raise questions about the person who was “selected” via the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad in the 90s, carried on with an old style of politics of “fighting with those who brought him to power” upon assuming the government and ended up hurting the people and the country.

“The ones to bring him [to power] forgot and he was once again made the premier with a two-third majority but instead of serving you … then too Mian sahib preferred making himself Amir-ul-Momineen, clashed with those who got him a two-third majority and once again had to go home, then abroad and stayed there for 10 years.

“Then we all thought that Mian sahib would bring some change after a third time but the same old [pattern] was replayed,” he said, adding that Nawaz was yet again ensured a two-third majority in the National Assembly and made the prime minister but the same old politics of revenge continued.

“Yet again, for a third time, Mian sahib ended up fighting with those who favoured him … and yet again he ended up asking: ‘Why was I thrown out?’ and while saying that, he reached London’s Avenfield apartments and was bringing his revolution from there.”

Bilawal said it was good that Nawaz had finally returned to Pakistan. “But, the point is that he wants to do the same that he did three times before. Still, his attempt and demand is to once again grant him a two-third majority from those who gave it to him before,” the PPP chairman added.

The PPP scion said the people already knew what would happen if Nawaz became premier for a fourth time and the “same old outdated style of politics” would have to be endured for a fourth time while the PML-N chief would yet again clash with his benefactors.

“In this financial crisis, we cannot afford a khilari (an athlete) who will play around with your future for the fourth time. We need a new style of politics that keeps the nation and its issues at the forefront.”

He said there was only one political party which did not consider the PTI or PML-N as its opponents, and if it did have a fight with anything then it was against inflation, unemployment and poverty.

Bilawal said current politics did not pay attention to the nation’s problems. He said the crisis of inflation began during the PTI’s government and was bungled by the PML-N-led finance ministry in the previous government.

He also criticised the caretaker government for having ministers with political affiliations and said it was a “wrong message” for free and fair elections that people close to Nawaz — such as Fawad Hasan Fawad — were occupying ministerial positions.

The PPP chairman urged Nawaz that he was the experienced elder and should not turn away from his stance but instead remain steadfast on his vision and manifesto.

“Practice the politics of respecting the ballot instead of disrespecting it. Abandon this preference of being selected. I challenge you to get actually elected just once and then even I will accept and the nation will accept,” he said.

Those accusing Nawaz of being blue-eyed should be ashamed: Maryam

Meanwhile, PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz, while addressing a workers convention of her own party in Gujrat’s Jalalpur Jattan, said that those accusing her father of being the blue-eyed should be ashamed.

Those complaining about the lack of a level playing field for the upcoming elections should look at how Nawaz “endured exile, prison and other tribulations”, said Maryam.

“If you want a level playing field against Nawaz Sharif then look at the level playing field he got. Do you want that kind of level playing field? I pray that not even an opponent has to suffer it.”

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