Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday called on the public to elect “new faces,” and send “old politicians” home, as he continued public engagements ahead of the upcoming general elections on Feb. 8, 2024.
Addressing a workers’ convention in Abbottabad, he claimed the PPP’s rivals were indulging in “old politics,” when the prevailing conditions required a “doctrine and manifesto” that the PPP had. “[We need] a leadership which is not stuck in the past, which thinks about the future, doesn’t get caught up in politics and division,” said the former foreign minister, whose political engagements following the announcement of a date for polls have primarily revolved around taking potshots on political opponents. “We will have to make old politicians sit at home,” he said. “Now the time has come that you all rest now,” he added.
“We now need to think about whether we will vote for septuagenarians and leave our future in the hands of those who only think of themselves or if we should give a chance to the PPP, the party that thinks about the future,” he said, in a seeming reference to PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif and PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Emphasizing that 70 percent of the country’s population is under 30, he said the next prime minister should be someone who has never been given the chance, and not someone who would be serving in the role for a “second or fourth time.”
Describing “old politics” and decisions taken in backdoor rooms as the country’s biggest enemy, the PPP leader said Pakistan cannot succeed until the public’s vote is respected. “If you give me a chance, I promise I will never disappoint you,” he said, stressing that political parties should focus on serving the public rather than seeking favor with influential quarters.
Vowing to increase the funds allocated to the Benazir Income Support Program if elected to government, Bhutto-Zardari said the PPP also had plans to tackle inflation and sought to introduce new social welfare schemes. He recalled that the PPP’s last government had changed Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s name from the North-West Frontier Province, giving the people of the province their identity.
“We gave the people of KP their rights through the NFC Award. We began the revolutionary Benazir Income Support Program to support the poor women of the country, empower them and help them combat poverty,” he said, adding a PPP government would double salaries within five years. “Only then can the nation be saved from the tsunami of inflation,” he added.