Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday accused “some” of his party’s former ruling coalition partners of “running” from elections, as he maintained the PPP would not avoid any polls.
Addressing party workers after the inauguration of a water filtration plant in Hyderabad, he said “some allies” were running from elections. “If they are fleeing then let them flee, but people should know that this creates a space that is then filled by someone else,” he said, in an apparent reference to the military establishment. “Competition is necessary in politics, but when you have fear, you die,” he said, adding that the PPP would not run away from polls, as its workers didn’t know the meaning of the word.
During his speech, the PPP leader claimed his party’s political allies had “ran away” from local government polls and by-elections, and were now seeking to avoid general elections. He specifically hit out at the Muttahida Qaumi Movement—a ruling coalition partner of the PPP at the center—alleging it had facilitated the rise of the “anti-Pakistan” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) by refusing to contest local body polls earlier this year. “Today, the MQM doesn’t even have two towns’ chairmanship, much less the mayor’s office,” he said.
Vowing to “wipe out” the PTI because of its politics of “hatred and division,” he reiterated that the party had attempted to create rifts between the institutions and people of Pakistan, as well as orchestrating attacks on the GHQ in Rawalpindi and Lahore Corps’ Commander’s House during the May 9 riots. He said he would not confront the PTI with the backing of a caretaker prime minister or chief minister, nor with the support of police officials or bureaucrats. “I will fight this anti-Pakistan party with the public’s support,” he claimed.
The former foreign minister further urged his supporters to “defeat” propaganda of lack of cleanliness in Sindh province, which has been governed by the PPP for 15 consecutive years. “As if the rest of Pakistan is a paradise and garbage remains unattended in Sindh alone,” he added, dismissing criticisms of his party failing to address public issues of cleanliness during its tenure in office. In this regard, he urged supporters to create and upload videos of the PPP’s accomplishments in Sindh and share them with the people of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa via social media platforms.
“Let’s help the ‘burger children’ understand that if you want a heart treatment in the NICVD [National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases], this is going to happen only thanks to the martyrs’ party and not because of some cricketer,” he added.
A day earlier, the PPP chairman had set off controversy by publicly deriding his own father and co-chairman of the PPP, Asif Ali Zardari, for supporting fresh delimitation after the approval of the new census. Responding to the statement of the former president, Bhutto-Zardari had described it as a “personal opinion,” adding he was bound to listen to his father in matters of the home, but was similarly bound to adhere to the wishes of his party’s CEC in demanding polls 90 days of an assembly’s dissolution.