Bilawal criticises PML-N for ‘giving space’ to PTI

MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday criticised former ally Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with a volley of blunt comments tinged with sarcasm at an election rally in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) but did not take its name directly even once in his entire speech.

Addressing a huge crowd of PPP supporters in Abbaspur, he also reiterated his diatribe against Prime Minister Imran Khan but for the first time persistently upbraided the PML-N for what he alleged giving space to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) governments in the centre and Punjab.

He also took exception to those who, according to him, claimed on TV screens that the PPP had finished or was restricted to just one province and asked them to “open their eyes and look at the crowd in the mountains of Abbaspur.”

“This is just a trailer; the PPP has now set off its journey. It was thriving yesterday, it is thriving today and in the days to come you will see only PPP.”

Highlighting the importance of AJK polls, he exhorted the masses to send a message on both sides of the divide with the power of their vote that the “sell-out of Kashmir is unacceptable.”

“When we say the sell-out of Kashmir is unacceptable, it also means whatever is happening in occupied Kashmir is unbearable to us.”

“When we say we don’t pray for Modi’s success in elections and don’t invite him at our weddings, we give a message that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Kashmiri Muslims and we are ready to confront Modi boldly.”

Repeating his allegation that PM Khan had disappointed the nation with his reaction to India’s moves on occupied Kashmir, he asserted that together with the AJK people, his party would not allow anyone to think about a “compromise on Kashmir.”

“The whole world knows that the Kashmiris have been struggling for over 70 years and have not accepted dictations and coercions. They will decide their destiny by themselves and both Islamabad and Delhi will have to accept it.”

Drawing attention to economic situation in Pakistan, he said people were under an obligation to save AJK from the “incompetent and puppet regime” in Islamabad which had “plunged the nation in historic poverty, unemployment and dearness in the name of so-called change.”

“What kind of politics and economic policy is it which has rendered the people already possessing homes and doing jobs homeless and jobless?”

Asking people to recognise the “hypocrite telling lies and taking u-turns while giving relief to the rich and inflicting pain on the poor,” he announced that the PPP would increase the salaries and pensions after forming the government in AJK.

“You will have to make a decision that whether you want a selected and incompetent government and a puppet prime minister in Azad Kashmir? If not, you will have to throw your weight behind the PPP.”

With this preamble, Mr Bhutto-Zardari asserted that the PPP was fighting and giving a tough time to the “selected system and puppet ruler” in the centre from the day one.

Though without naming anyone but clearly referring to the PML-N, he said the PPP had reached out to all of its [previous] opponents while forgetting the bitterness of the past.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2021

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