Saturday April 13, 2024

Bilawal and Kashmir

By Bashir Riaz
July 21, 2016

The PPP has been the flag bearer of the Kashmiris’ struggle for independence and self determination and has always expressed solidarity with them and highlighted Indian atrocities at the international level.

Benazir Bhutto had also always maintained close contact with the leaders of the Hurriyat Conference and during her meetings with them in her exile days extended full support to the Kashmir cause. She not only raised a voice for the Kashmiris but also kept the independence movement of Kashmir alive.

The historical speech of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the UN is the hallmark of the Kashmiris’ struggle for self determination. ZAB gave a strike call on February 5 against Indian Occupation in Kashmir.

Since then February 5 has been observed as a national holiday in Pakistan. During her term as PM, Benazir Bhutto made the All Parties Hurriyat Conference a member of the OIC as the sole representative of the occupied Kashmiris.

During a press conference in New Delhi in 2001, Benazir Bhutto announced that the PPP’s policy is that is the sole representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. And during her visit to Delhi in 2003, she demanded the Kashmir issue be resolved according to UN resolutions.

The PPP has ruled Azad Kashmir more than one once. Today, general elections are being held in AJK after five years. And the PPP is facing the ruling party as well as the PTI.

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has taken part in the election campaign for the first time. His arousing speeches have increased enthusiasm among the PPP workers and voters. This passion of party workers and leaders has increased the PPP’s prospects in today’s elections.

The criticism leveled against the government by Bilawal Bhutto led to movement in the power corridors of Islamabad. Bilawal Bhutto managed to raise important points in his speeches. Apart from the Nawaz-Modi relationship, he focused on how many times our sitting government has highlighted the Kashmir issue during its three years in power.

Bilawal has also pointed out how the recent violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir have been overlooked by the government. He feels that there is no place for the Kashmir cause in the PML-N government’s foreign policy.

Bilawal has termed the PML-N government’s three-year performance as a failure. This word he repeated three times during his Muzaffarabad public meeting. These words were in fact a comprehensive comment on the PML-N government’s three years in power. The PPP chairperson also targeted the federal government’s lassitude towards the Kashmir cause.       

The main point of Bilawal Bhutto’s recent speeches was his declaration that he will follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and mother Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and raise a voice at all forums for the freedom struggle of the Kashmiris.

Bilawal Bhutto has also said to the Kashmiris that their vote for the PPP will bring them their rights and a better future. He has also cautioned that if they don’t vote for the PPP then they don’t have the interests of Kashmir at heart.

The people of AJK     attended the PPP public meetings in large numbers and Bilawal Bhutto’s addresses were shown live on TV, and newspapers gave special coverage to the meetings. Bilawal’s speeches have been widely hailed and his message spread to every nook and corner of Azad Kashmir. This also reflects that the role and stature of Bilawal in national politics has been recognised publicly.

Bilawal Bhutto has responded to baseless allegations has and said that the PPP has had to deal with such fake cases for many years now. Asif Ali Zardari spent 12 years in imprisonment but did not leave the country by forging an agreement for freedom.

Benazir Bhutto too faced such fake cases but never bowed before dictators and political enemies. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is clean and has never been involved in any wrongdoing or scandal; he has thus demanded transparent accountability against corruption.

The Kashmiris have found an energetic and enthusiastic voice in Bilawal Bhutto – like ZAB and BB – that can play an important role in their struggle for democratic rights and self-determination.

It is expected that today on July 21, the people of Azad Kashmir will vote in favour of the PPP. Whatever be the result, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will play an important role in the general elections of 2018.

The writer is a former journalist.