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January 18, 2016

Bilawal – a dream


January 18, 2016

 After analysing the PPP’s dismal performance in Punjab, the chairman reached Karachi and took his cavalcade to camp at Mithi in Tharparkar for all of 2016, declaring it the first adopted revolving capital of Sindh.

By the time the summer heatwave returned to the Thar desert in 2017, the Sindh government was ready with a black top road connecting Tharparkar with Karachi, a 1000-bed hospital for children, the foundation of the Thar University of Science and Technology, and a water pipeline of 200 kms with a desalination plant supplied from sea, a solar park with 24/7 energy production of 100MW and a series of 1000 brick-lined ponds dotted across the desert to store rain water.

All expenditure was to be borne by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and via party fund collected through donations by MPs.

Meanwhile, the PPP tasked all MPs to adopt one village and one town of less than 50,000 people as ‘model towns’ with all the basic facilities of water, sanitation, education up to college level, hospitals and black-top roads. The party laid down stricter controls on development of infrastructure – with no money from the Sindh exchequer. All expenditure was borne by individual MPs through their hard-earned money in the last three decades. The adopted towns were declared the revolving capitals of the Sindh province.

The chairman declared that he would camp in each revolving capital of Sindh for one month each and live and eat with the common people. A Sindh mobile cabinet of five designated ministers would accompany the chairman to run the affairs of the revolving capital. For the rest of the province, high-tech video conferencing and holograms were used to pass on instructions.

By the end of 2017, Bilawal Bhutto had not only provided the proverbial ‘Roti, Kapra and Makaan’ to the entire Sindh, he had transformed the province into the model province of the 21st century. Sindh’s economic growth at 20 percent per annum was declared the fastest growing in the entire world. Sindh became a magnet for foreign and domestic investment as big industrial houses in Pakistan and entrepreneurs flocked the towns and villages to invest in its booming economy.

Sindh’s growth and philanthropist approach put so much pressure on the rest of Pakistan, especially Punjab, that the PPP found young leaders joining the party in droves. Bilawal Bhutto promised the other provinces the same agenda if the PPP was brought back into power.

Public demand across Pakistan had put so much pressure on the government and the Election Commission that early elections were held in February 2018. The PPP swept into power and grabbed 80 percent of seats in national and provincial assemblies with Bilawal Bhutto as the youngest elected prime minister within the Muslim world. On his oath-taking ceremony, Bilawal took another step; he would not go for a foreign visit in the next five years and let the president and foreign minister do so on his behalf. Bilawal would spend each and every day of his five-year tenure within Pakistan.

Bilawal’s formula of revolving capitals was applied at the federal and provincial levels. MNAs and MPAs across Pakistan were asked to adopt villages and towns on the model of the Sindh province. As PM, Bilawal had the singular honour to run Pakistan from revolving federal capitals like Taftan, Panu Aqil, Khushab, Malakand, North Waziristan, Toba Tek Singh, Bannu, Dir, Kohistan, Skardu, Naushki, Shakargarh, Ghotki, Khuzdar, Chaghi and many more.

This unique experience equipped Bilawal Bhutto with a charisma unknown in the modern history of Pakistan and beyond. Bilawal became the ‘peoples’ man’ and was declared Lok Badshah (the peoples’ emperor).

Pakistan’s economic growth touched new heights and it became the fastest growing economy in the world. By the end of the first term of the Lok Badshah, Pakistan had achieved and surpassed the MDGs. With 80 percent education, 2000 universities and a booming middle class, Pakistan became the global centre of excellence in science and technology.

The 2023 National Assembly unanimously amended the constitution to make Bilawal the Lok Badshah for his lifetime. Bilawal’s formula of Real Democracy became the new model for the rest of the world and was taught in all major universities across the globe.

Waking up the next morning, I wondered if my hallucinations could turn into reality. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: can you become the Lok Badshah of the people of Pakistan? It seems so simple.

The writer is a Lahore-based defence analyst. Email: [email protected]

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