Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari continued his verbal assault on erstwhile ally Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) on Monday, as he reiterated claims that his party will emerge victorious in upcoming general elections.
Addressing a rally in Mithi, where he also attended a Diwali event, the former foreign minister appeared to distance himself from the policies of the 16 months of the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government, despite being a coalition partner with ministers on several key portfolios. Describing the PMLN as the Mehngai (inflation) League, he claimed the public would defeat it in the next polls, as it was disappointed in its policies.
“On Feb. 8, we will defeat the Mehngai League, if you are with us,” he said, adding the PPP’s victory would establish “people’s rule” in Pakistan. In a similar assault on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which the PPP has hinted it would be amenable to entering an electoral alliance with, Bhutto-Zardari dubbed it the Tehreek-e-Inteshar (conflict), stressing its leadership had allegedly attacked state institutions on May 9.
Maintaining the people would not accept any conspiracy and ‘selected rule,’ he said the public would have a choice between two or three parties in the polls. Voters, he claimed, would “surprise” those who hoped to secure victory through “certain” quarters, though he did not specify who he meant. In a subsequent appearance on Geo News, PPP spokesperson Faisal Kurim Kundi claimed his party had no issues with the military establishment, but was unable to explain who the party believes would otherwise facilitate the “selection” of any political leader.
In his speech, Bhutto-Zardari claimed the PMLN was “copying” the PTI. Maintaining the PPP had yet to launch its election campaign, as no schedule had been issued for polls, he said the passion of the people before him indicated a victory for his party on Feb. 8. He recalled that PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had worked to get a prime minister of a rival party elected—a reference to Shehbaz Sharif—and his efforts could similarly ensure the next prime minister and the Punjab chief minister was from his own party.
Summarizing the PPP’s manifesto, the party chief said it was the same at that of his grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and mother, Benazir Bhutto. Their slogan of ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makaan,’ he said, was even more relevant and necessary today than it had been in the 1970s and ‘80s. “Tharparkar is the manifesto of PPP, Tharparkar is the narrative of PPP, Tharparkar is the performance of PPP,” he said, pointing to the Sindh government’s development in the region.
Maintaining that the PPP’s initiatives in government had improved the district’s infrastructure, while the Thar Coal project was employing 20,000 locals, he said as the project expanded, it would lead to even more job generation.
Bhutto-Zardari also claimed the PPP was the only solution to the economic challenges facing Pakistan. “We will double salaries in five years. We will fight against inflation,” he said, adding if elected, the PPP would also introduce the Hari and Mazdoor cards for laborers and farmers along the pattern of the Benazir Income Support Program.