New PPP in the making

LAHORE -  PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday declared to dismantle the dictatorship of ‘Takht-e-Lahore’ through a democratic struggle.  

“I will lead a revolution from Lahore after December 27 if the government did not concede my four-point charter of demands,” he said while addressing a charged crowd on the occasion of PPP’s 49th foundation day at Bilawal House Lahore.

A good number of party activists from across the four provinces including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir had come to take part in the seven-day celebrations. The venue was giving a festive look as jiayals danced to the tune of drums and sang party songs in regional languages. They were conspicuous by their distinct cultural identities they had brought with them in the form of costumes, music and songs.

Prior to the formal start of the day’s proceedings, Bilawal mingled with the party jiayals who made selfies with their leader. It was a selfie galore wherever he went. His elder sister Bakhtawar Bhutto also accompanied him. Later, his younger sister, Aseefa, also joined the crowd while sitting on a wheel chair driven by her brother. She sprained her ankle as she fell over a couple of weeks back at Bilawal House.

Young Bilawal was all praise for Lahore and its people. He said party founder ZA Bhutto brought a revolution from Lahore and he will also do the same from this place.  

“I love Lahore. Lahore Lahore hai. It was from Lahore that ZA Bhutto founded a party and brought a revolution. It was from here that BB got a historic reception in 1986. It was a city of progressive people,” he observed. Bilawal also remembered Jahangir Badr in his speech and attributed the foundation day to late Badr.

Entire PPP leadership including the two former prime ministers, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, was sitting around Bilawal on the stage. Party’s central Punjab general secretary Nadim Afzal Chan conducted the proceedings. Provincial presidents also addressed on the occasion.   

Syed Khurshid Shah, Ch Aitzaz Ahsen, Latif Khosa, Syed Ghous Ali Shah, Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Makhdum Ahmed Mehmood, Mian Manzoor Wattoo, Moula Bakhsh Chandio, Ch Manzoor, Mustafa Nawaz Khokar and newly nominated provincial presidents were prominent among others.

Talking about his four points, Bilawal said he had not made these demands for his personal benefit. He said he was talking of strengthening the democracy and the Parliament. “I am not talking of accountability by purchased judges or Kangro courts. I am talking of democratic accountability,” the PPP leader made a mocking remark.

The PPP chairman cautioned he should not be forced to come on roads. “Mian Sab, accept the four demands because December 27 is not too far. If Bhutto came out on roads, the entire Lahore would be on roads, the entire Punjab would be on roads, the entire Pakistan will be on roads and you will feel the heat,” he threatened, adding that he was preparing a fresh force in anticipation of the protest movement.

He believed the ruling party would not meet his demands. “As I know N-League would not accept the four demands, it would be ‘dammadam mast Qalandar after December 27”.

Bilawal questioned why the accountability was only meant for the PPP. He deplored that banned outfits were enjoying protection under the present government.

He said Panama leaks was the biggest corruption scandal ever at the international level, but country’s judiciary and other institutions were keeping mum over it. He said there was no escape for the rulers from this scam.  

“You can fool some of the people some of the times, but not all of the people all of the times,” he read an English proverb.

He said he would soon come up with a new agenda and a new party manifesto. He also talked of introducing democratic and revolutionary reforms in the system to ensure social justice.

“Bilawal will come and bring about a revolution,” he averred.

He said a new PPP was in the making through reorganisation and also heading towards intra- party polls.  

“When the party of Bhutto is fully made, the lions will become a cat and run away from the [political] scene. But we will not let it run this time,” he affirmed. He said he would not allow rigging in the coming elections. “The PPP would win next elections and we will make a new Pakistan,” he said.

He said he brought about a change in Sindh by bringing the youngest and educated chief minister. “I will bring this change in all of Pakistan”.

Referring to a news channel and former chief justice of Pakistan, he said a judge in collaboration with a news channel and a few companions of former dictator Pervez Musharraf tried to dislodge the PPP government but they all failed in their mission.

In a sarcastic tone he said, “We are told every day that we are unsuccessful to deliver.”

“Yes, we failed to deliver because we restored the constitution to its original form. Yes, we failed because we gave autonomy to the provinces. Yes, we failed because we strengthened the provinces. Yes, we have failed because we gave a name to the frontier province. Yes, we have failed because we gave financial autonomy to the provinces through NFC award. Yes, we have failed because we laid the foundation of Pak-Iran gas pipeline. Yes, we have failed because we initiated Benazir Income Support Programme, Waseela-e-Haq and Waseela-e-Roazgar for the poor. Yes, we have failed because despite all excesses by Nawaz Sharif we waived off the condition preventing him to become prime minister for the third time. And yes, we have failed because we ensured a successful transition of power from one elected government to another.”  

He said PPP’s only failure was that they could not give a second life to Shaheed BB.

Bilawal said country was in the grip of a wave of grief and anger after the assassination of Shaheed BB. The federation was under threat. But in such circumstances Asif Ali Zardari raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan Khappay’ and saved the country from disintegration, he said.

During the course of his speech, Bilawal also read a poem once read by his mother in Lahore. “Mein baghi hon, mein baghi hon: jo chaho mujh pe zulm karo”.

He vowed to introduce radical reforms in the system especially in the judiciary.

“What justice is this that ZA Bhutto was hanged and his killers have not been brought to justice as yet. What system is this that Shaheed BB was martyred and her killers got scot-free. A prime minister was disqualified only for not writing a letter. A former president spent eight years in jail only to be freed later with all dignity,” he asked.