Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday claimed he could transform Pakistan within one term at the center and wouldn’t need “four” terms—an apparent reference to the rival Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), whose leader Nawaz Sharif has been projected for fourth term in office by his party.
Addressing a rally in Sahiwal, the former foreign minister said he was only seeking one chance, not four. Reiterating his 10-point manifesto, he claimed the PPP was the only solution to the multiple issues facing Pakistan, including inflation, unemployment, and poverty. If granted power, he said, the PPP would provide interest-free loans to women; introduce a Benazir Kissan Card; grant subsidies to formers; introduce a Youth Card; and ensure free healthcare and cheaper utilities for the masses.
“Pakistan is going through a [n economic] default time,” he said, regretting society was polarized. Hostile forces could use such divisions to further damage societal cohesion, he warned. “I am contesting election to bury the politics of hatred and division,” he claimed. Maintaining that a vote for the lion—a reference to the electoral symbol of the PMLN—he said it would revive politics of hatred that Pakistan cannot afford presently.
Referring to his mother, Pakistan’s first elected woman prime minister Benazir Bhutto, he said her philosophy was needed today more than ever before. He also recalled his grandfather, PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, asserting that he had decided to follow in the footsteps of the former prime minister.
With a little over two weeks left until elections, Bhutto-Zardari has made Punjab his focus in recent days. On Sunday, he addressed a rally in Lahore, and has also addressed party workers and supporters in Muzaffargarh and Rahim Yar Khan. He is scheduled to address a rally in Multan on Jan. 26, as the PPP hopes to secure a foothold in South Punjab.