ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto on Sunday said he who failed to respect parliament during his tenure as prime minister now seeks ‘respect for the vote’.
“Opening batsmen of Gen (r) Ziaul Haq thinks democracy is linked to him only,” the PPP chairman told a rally in Kotli Sattian, referring to Nawaz Sharif terming PML-N’s defeat in the recently held Senate elections as ‘defeat of the democracy’.
Gloating over PML-N’s loss in the Senate elections, the PPP chief said the opposition had defeated the ruling party’s ‘Zia alliance’ in the Upper House. “You [PML-N leadership] used to say ‘rok sako to rok lo’ (stop us if you can),” recalled Bilawal. “Look, we have stopped you,” he said, in an apparent jibe at Maryam Nawaz.
Bilawal said the PML-N leader was the biggest wound-up toy whose key was broken at present, referring to Nawaz Sharif’s statement that came right after Sanjarani defeated PML-N’s Raja Zafarul Haq in the elections for Senate chairman wherein he had referred to the opposition parties as ‘wound-up toys’.
The PPP chairman said that the Balochistan Assembly had passed a no-confidence motion against PML-N’s government because of lack of development in the province under the ruling party’s administration. “Were they wound-up toys too?” he asked, and claimed that Nawaz Sharif’s entire politics was based on using power to his personal advantage.
The PPP chief also questioned the democratic credentials of Nawaz Sharif, reminding him of his role in various incidents, including anti-PPP moves in the past such as supporting former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s ouster by the Supreme Court.
The PPP leader also criticised the federal government’s plans to privatise state-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). “You have destroyed the manufacturing industry, the textile industry, and every other job providing industry. The privatisation of PSM and PIA is a transaction which cheapens the labour and effort of several employees,” he said.
“The height of government’s indifference is that the finance minister is offering our state institutions in a ‘buy one get one free package,” he said, and added that he will hold ground on opposition to this policy and will organise a resounding protest with the real stakeholders of the organisation – the labour unions, the workers and the people of Pakistan.
Turning his guns towards the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Bilawal slammed the provincial government’s plan to build a metro bus in Peshawar after criticising similar projects by the Punjab government. “Imran Khan has introduced the terms ‘good corrupt’ and ‘bad corrupt’ in our politics,” he said.
The PPP leader claimed that any of the PTI’s promises of ‘change’ could not materialise and turned out to be hollow claims. “He has given nothing to the country except abusive words and taken nothing but U-turns,” he said.
Senior party leaders, including former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former Senate chairman Nayyar Bukhari and former MNA Mehreen Raja, also addressed the workers before Bilawal took the podium.
The PPP leader has been holding rallies and addressing workers and supporters across the country as part of the party’s recently launched membership campaign.