Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday continued his election campaign by promising to introduce “youth cards” along the pattern of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) if voted into power in the Feb. 8, 2024 polls.
Addressing a workers’ convention in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla district, he claimed the youth card would provide a stipend to fresh graduates for a year to help them launch their professional careers. Additionally, he said, he also wanted to launch a similar scheme for non-graduates to facilitate all segments of society.
The former foreign minister said that, if voted into power, the PPP would double people’s salaries over the next five years, and further enhance the BISP, as this was the state’s responsibility. He said his battle was not with “old politicians,” but rather poverty, unemployment, and inflation. “The PPP has taken Pakistan out of crises before and will do so again,” he vowed.
“The country is riddled with woes, be it heightened polarization in politics or the economic crisis. In this situation, the traditional politicians are adamant on continuing the politics of hate, ego and division, transforming it into a vehicle for personal vendettas rather than maintaining it as a platform for a difference of opinion,” he said, claiming such politicians were not interested in resolving the people’s problems.
“We have been fighting this war for three generations, learning to serve the downtrodden masses through our elders. This is our political training. We reject the politics of name-calling, TikTok, or Gate No. 4. Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had said that the political heaven is under the feet of the people. We do not seek guidance from anyone else; we trust the people of Pakistan,” he stressed, adding he has the grandson of the man who stated the “people are the source of all power.”
Claiming he was the only politician whose “hands are clean,” he maintained no other politician or any party was similarly untainted. “There is no other political party or politician whose hands are clean. I have been foreign minister for 18 months and my hands are clean. I want to fill your pocket instead of filling mine. I promise you in five years, your salary will double,” he stressed.
The PPP chief also promised to prioritize working for the progress of Shangla coalminers. He said he was aware of the prevailing financial constraints, especially in rural areas, and vowed that if they trusted him, he would work for them. “We are constructing 200,000 concrete houses in Sindh for flood victims, enabling the poor affected community to have their own homes,” he said, adding this especially benefiting women as the homes would be in their names.