Bilawal announces to prepare for long march
Garhi Khuda Bakhsh
Former president of Pakistan Asif Zardari on Tuesday announced that he and his son Bilawal Bhutto would contest elections and take part in parliamentary politics.
“I want to share the good news I had promised to share: Bilawal and I will contest the election now, right now, [and sit] in this Parliament,” Zardari told a charged crowd of PPP supporters as the party obvserved the 9th death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh near Larkana.
Zardari said that he would contest the election from Nawabshah for the seat currently occupied by Azra Fazal Pechuho, and that Bilawal would contest the election from Larkana for Ayaz Soomro’s seat.
Zardari said he is not afraid of Supreme Court-appointed NAB chief. “Bilawal’s demands are democratic, we don’t want to topple the government but would present our case before the Parliament and the courts, he said. Referring to Nawaz Sharif’s royal style of rule, the former president warned him saying we will spare this Mughal emperor rule. “We took all the decisions with consensus but you are changing the Constitution,” he said.
Zardari’s announcement is being interpreted as a strategy to enter parliament through by-elections in the two constituencies. Fresh polls will have to be called if Pechuho and Soomro give up their seats in Parliament in line with the party’s directives.
“We have sacrificed much for the sake of democracy and politics to save Pakistan. We will not leave this Mughal emperor (Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) to rule,” Zardari continued.
The former president hit out at the premier. “Mian (Nawaz Sharif) Sahab we gave you this democracy as a sacred trust. We made every decision with your input. We made decisions in Parliament through consensus. It is a pity that you seem to have forgotten all your promises today,” he said.
Zardari also demanded that the Supreme Court decision on Panamagate be brought to the floor of the Parliament and be vetted by all political parties.
“We would like to see you and your judges go down in history as respectable individuals, not as people who twist the law for their own gains,” he added.
“This is our right. We will protest, exercise our democratic right and go to the parliament. Go to the courts and the bar councils, and talk about what is happening and what should be happening,” Zardari said.
In a fiery speech, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari warned the government of the party’s preparations for a ‘long march’.
“Principally we have decided that we have to start preparing for a long march,” Bilawal announced. “I will begin making visits around the country to get my four demands met.”
The PPP leader had earlier threatened the government that the party would launch a long march on Dec 27 if the government failed to meet the PPP’s four demands.
Despite the premier’s assertions that the party is free of scandal, Bilawal asserted the PML-N is embroiled in scandal.
“Do you think us simple? That we don’t know you at all?” he questioned. He alleged the government is ‘full of scandals’.
“The opposition in the Senate has passed the Panama Bill. If you obstruct its passage in the National Assembly, then you will have to face the opposition’s protests,” the PPP chairman warned.
“On the one hand, you want to present yourself for accountability, but on the other, you continue to obstruct the Panama bill in the National Assembly,” Bilawal said.
He added that the party does not want to approach the apex court without the bill. “The courts have never delivered justice to us (the PPP),” he claimed. “Will they provide justice to the people of Pakistan?” he asked. “This is why we want to get this bill passed and go to the Supreme Court,” he said.
Bilawal lashed out at the PML-N government on multiple fronts, including terrorism and religious extremism. “The interior minister is threatening people instead of resigning,” he said, accusing Minister of Interior Chaudhry Nisar of meeting with people from banned outfits.
“The world wants to call us a terrorist state, (and yet) people in your cabinet facilitate terrorists,” Bilawal alleged while addressing the prime minister.
“If something were to happen tomorrow, you can run away from this country, but the 20 crore people of Pakistan must stay here,” he added.
“My parents have taught me to respect my elders. But that does not mean we cannot disagree on our politics,” Bilawal said, adding he will not stay quiet when he sees the federation fall apart because of the government’s ineffective policies.