PPP Foundation Day: renewed zest at best
Head of PPP Media Cell
Pakistan People’s Party’s 49th Foundation Day held in Lahore on 30th of last month was an exceptionally heart-warming occasion beaming out full energy of the Jialas. Seeing is believing because the workers, office bearers and leaders were fully charged in Jialas’style, and the sloganeering was continuing ‘in full throated ease’ reminding the days of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. They were raising their tightly closed fists in the air, off and on, expressing their unflinching resolve to work tirelessly for reclaiming the political glory in the province of Punjab which was the heartland of the Party. The local bodies’ elections results shock seemed to have worked as a therapy to recoup their enthusiasm. They were also cursing the mandarins of the PPP last government that ignored them and preferred to promote their parochial interests rather than redressing their problems. It was quite usual as without such blitzes it would hardly be called the get together of the PPP workers. Such an expression of them clearly suggested as how strongly they feel about the Party.
In a way, they were exhorting the Party leaders to carry on the movement with renewed zeal focused to lay down the road map with clarity assuring overall socio-economic welfare of the common people -- farmers, labourers, harris, students, women, youth and minorities. These sections of the society have been abjectly ignored by the incumbent government as the sword of privatisation continues to hang on heads of labour, and the frequent arbitrary increases in indirect taxes have made their lives miserable. The treatment meted out to minorities is devoid of dignity, and want of headway in women empowerment epitome the neglect and inaptness of mandarins. Agriculture sector has been the worst hit by government’s anti-farmers policies since it came to power. The decline in agro-base exports, in particular, during the last financial year is the anecdotal evidence of the government’s step motherly treatment to this very important sector of the economy. The growth rate also fell short of the target.
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President Punjab PPP, while addressing the Foundation Day function, Lahore, paid rich tributes to the leadership of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who empowered the people of Pakistan by granting them the right of vote on the basis of adult franchise. This one giant step brought out the country’s politics from the drawing rooms of the elite to at the door steps of the masses making them as the ultimate arbiter in the true sense. Earlier, the people of Pakistan’s role in the election of the members of the assemblies was inconsequential because BD members constituted the Electoral College for such elections. Now, the aspiring members of the assemblies have to go to the people to seek their vote to become the members of the Parliament and of the respective provincial assemblies. It was a composite strategic decision reflecting pro-people tilt with conviction of the founding father of the Party towards the empowerment of the people. It was in unison with PPP’s guiding principle ‘people are the source of power’.
Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, he recalled, as per advice of her illustrious father given from his death cell, later hanged, continued the struggle for the rights of the poor masses even under the most ferocious conditions perpetrated by dictators General Ziaul Haq and General Musharraf. She kept the flag of people’s rights flying high in the midst of appalling torturous conditions like solitary confinement, putting her spouse in jail, forcing her to exile, facing cases in the courts spread over the country etc. PPP workers were also subjected to the hell unleashed by tyrant rulers that was also great source of agony and distress for the Mohtarma. But, like the great leader she did not succumb to the pressures and stood up the people’s enemies with remarkable display of courage, fortitude and perseverance for the realisation of worthwhile cause of the general peoples’ rights. She succeeded in subduing the dictators in the final analysis purely through peoples’ power and twice restored democracy in the country. The terrifying tale of her struggle undoubtedly is the source of inspiration for the people in general and for the Party workers in particular. Great cause demands arduous struggle and Mohtarma did not default in this count even a bit. She rendered the ultimate sacrifice but did not abandon the people of Pakistan as per the advice of the Great One given at the time of partying ways. Her martyrdom drew the dawn of democracy closer scuttling the game plan of the adversaries. She proved her mettle worthy of a people’s leader fighting against all odds.
The granting of unanimous Constitution by Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was lauded by Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo in his speech. It is this Constitution that has been keeping the federation intact since its promulgation not withstanding of political turbulences attributed to successive dictatorships. The dictators could not abrogate it although they were averse of it and tried to undermine it to perpetuate their illegitimate rules. They miserably failed to resolve the issue of moral and political legitimacy of their misadventures. They are considered by the history as usurpers and will be remembered as such for all times to come.
Sardar Latif Khosa, Secretary General PPP, in his address eloquently projected PPP’s philosophy striving for making Pakistan a welfare democratic state reflective of the aspirations of the people. The observance of the Foundation Day this year was marked with sobriety due to the passing away of Amin Fahim, a loyal leader of the Party. While throwing light on the politics of the country, he maintained that civil and military bureaucracy had occupied the country since independence, adding still the country was under the occupation of the reminiscent of Ziaul Haq. They have emerged as the biggest investors of Asia in the UK. Their old habits are refusing to die because they have resorted to the politics of victimisation through NAB this time as well as Dr Asim Hussain and Qasim Zia are their latest victims. He took on the government for their policy of heavy foreign borrowings blatantly flouting their much touted policy of breaking the begging bowel. They have instead lifted “Begging Barrel” for mortgaging the future of the coming generations; he pointed out among the cheering crowd.
Opposition leader in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan in his heart warming speech referred to the guiding principles of the PPP which were, ‘Islam is our religions, democracy is our politics, socialism is our economy and people are source of power.’ Martyrdom is our destination was the fifth guiding principle that was included after the assassination of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1979, he maintained. Afterwards, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto took up the challenge of serving the poor masses while adhering to these five principles and became twice prime minister of Pakistan. She was poised to become the prime minister of Pakistan third time but was assassinated by the anti-people and anti- democratic forces those did not want to see the empowerment of the people in substantive terms. Now, the responsibility of the mission of the realisation of socio-economic justice has been shifted to Chairman Bilawal Bhutto who is unequivocally determined to uphold the legacy.
On the PPP political standing in the country, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan refuted the perception of PPP as a spent political force, adding it was the Party that had its footprints from Gilgit to Gwadar and from Wagha to Torkhum including its government in Azad Kashmir. The PPP was a political force to be reckoned with on the political horizon of the country and those projecting it as the relic of the past were living in the fool’s paradise. PPP had played a decisive role in saving the country and the political system by opposing the sit-in politics that was apparently launched to de-legitimise the democratic institutions.
Sharif brothers’, he added, portray as perfect impersonation of wrestlers who have worn excessive muster oil on their bodies on purpose to slip away from the clutches of law. “They are master mangers and manage adversaries to their advantage caring less the legitimacy of means and ends.” He pointed out that they did not pay any tax in 1996 that inevitably should move FIA, NAB and FBR to spring into action to investigate as how they had amassed so much wealth during the last two decades. Referring to the cost of construction of Metro Bus track, he said, it was the highest in the world but the NAB and FIA had turned their blind eyes and only following the PPP and its leaders in fabricated and politically motivated cases. He further said that Euro bonds were launched by this government as the most sophisticated method of whitening the black money of the crony capitalists that too on exuberant interest rates. It is despicable enjoyment of two rides with no ticket at public expense.
He strongly advocated the case of political economy based on the principles of socialism like in the West. They, Western countries, have suitably incorporated socialism in their system to become welfare state in the real sense. In Pakistan, the capitalism system is working against the people as it is on the fleecing spree abhorrently.
The participants unanimously adopted five resolutions, requested the chairman to come to Lahore for longer stay, demanded an apology from Nawaz Sharif for registering false cases against Asif Ali Zardari, to pursue the trial of General Musharraf leading to logical conclusion, to adjudicate the case of judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sahrif, Imran Khan, Sirajul Haq and others to confess that their policy of appeasement of Taliban was wrong that inflicted colossal losses on the nation both in ‘blood and treasure.’