GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday said today’s democracy was brought by the PPP and the party will protect it. He urged all the political parties to join hands to ensure peace, progress and prosperity in the country and fight against extremist elements.
Bilawal launched his political career on the fifth anniversary of his mother’s death.
More than 200,000 people gathered at the Bhutto family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh to hear Bilawal Bhutto Zardari make his first major public speech.
Bilawal Bhutto surprised many by addressing the rally in fairly fluent Urdu, reminiscent of his mother Benazir Bhutto.
Addressing the grand gathering, the young Bilawal in a very emotional address said: “We want to take along all the parties and have adopted the process of reconciliation to ensure progress and prosperity in the country.”
He said the PPP government has taken a number of steps in the last four and a half years, by adopting a reconciliation policy.
He said reconciliation proved the best weapon to take revenge and added “we want to work for the progress and prosperity of the country unitedly”.
He regretted that some elements were using negative politics that could harm the country.
Bilawal said: “We invite them (all political forces) to come and work together and we will change the winds.”
He said he belonged to the “Shuhada” and had the support of all those who sacrificed for democracy and for the rights of the people of Pakistan.
Bilawal said all those who gave their lives will be remembered and will live forever.
The PPP chairman said only those people are against the PPP who did not want democracy as they are following the path of dictators and continue to snatch the rights of the people.
“We are followers of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, and all those who sacrificed their lives for democracy and rights of the people,” he observed.
Bilawal vowed to continue the mission of Shaheed Bhutto. Talking of the recently assassinated ANP leader, he said if one Bilour is martyred many Bilours will emerge. If one Malala will be attacked, there will be many more Malalas to fight for their rights. Similarly, if one Benazir is martyred, many more Benazirs will emerge.
He said Bhutto is a name of a mission, a passion and a Bhutto will emerge from every house if one is eliminated.
“Our path is the path of democracy, which is difficult, and this was taught to us by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto who could not lower the flag of the people of Pakistan”, he added.
Bilawal added, “we have to live with honour and with dedication”.
He said today parliament is independent in making its decisions, the provinces are free and more independent, and the people are the real source of power.
He said the 1973 Constitution has been restored in its original form. “We will lead the nation to a prosperous future for Pakistan. It was the dream of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto that every woman has those rights which women at the international level are enjoying,” he noted.
Starting from domestic disputes to property disputes; the government has taken a number of legislative measures to resolve these disputes for the empowerment of the women.
Bilawal said: “Roti, Kapra aur Makan” was the slogan of the PPP in the past and is the same even today.
He said under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), the demands of the people are being fulfilled. The Waseela-e-Haq was started to provide financial assistance to the poor, the Waseela-e-Rozgar to train people, the Waseela-e-Sehat to ensure health and the Waseela-e-Taleem to impart education to the people. These projects were started by the present government.
He said these were just the beginning. “We have to do many more things and this process will be completed when everyone will have job, everyone will be educated and get health and everyone has Roti, Kapra aur Makan”.
He said despite the recession, the PPP gave very effective economic policies and Pakistan’s banking system remained intact while many banks in the world collapsed.
He said despite terrorism, the economy has been improving and exports have been increased to 25 billion dollars. “We were forced to buy wheat in 2008 but are now exporting wheat, inflation has decreased from 25 to 9 per cent in the last four years,” he added.
He said remittances have reached $13 billion and the Karachi Stock Exchange 100-Index has crossed 16,000 points that reflects the good economic policies of the government.
He said terrorism has damaged the country and everyone has to play a role to fight this menace.
He said the source of power is the people of Pakistan and no one can stop it, adding that the will of the people will decide the future of Pakistan.
Bilawal said: “We have not ignored the Balochistan situation while Musharraf had adopted an enemy-like attitude towards the province.
“We tendered apologies to the Baloch people, took many decisions for their welfare and gave them autonomy.”
He said the government had taken practical steps to create a peaceful atmosphere in the province.
Bilawal said his grandfather was hanged, his mother was martyred, but the PPP leadership did not leave Pakistan. “We have to save the country from the cruel elements,” he added.
He said the PPP was a strong wall against terrorism while on the other hand the opponents did not even talk about the menace.
He said some elements were still working against the democratic system and they had not learnt lessons and our using various methods to destabilise democracy.
Bilawal, however, vowed that the caravan of democracy would not stop.
He said: “the Jiay Bhutto slogans will never end. I promise that the PPP will not allow any dictator to snatch the rights of the masses and allow terrorists to succeed.”
He said, “We were not afraid when there was an attack on the GHQ. Even when Benazir Bhutto was martyred, we raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan Khapey’. We never left the country and will remain here forever.”
Recalling the last words of Benazir Bhutto, he urged the people to make a pledge to follow the mission of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. He finished his address by raising slogans of “Jiay Bhutto, Jiay Benazir Bhutto”.