MULTAN: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has said that the PPP is the party of the people and will remain so and continue following the ideology of its late leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
“Till now we are not involved in any kind of conspiracy against the PML-N but we might get involved in such kind of conspiracies,” said the former president while addressing a gathering at Qasim Bagh Fort in Multan on Friday.
On the possibility of PML-N leaders being jailed for corruption by the courts, Zardari said, “These people cannot bear the hardships of imprisonment.”
Blaming Nawaz Sharif for bringing in Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, Zardari said, “Even today the differences with the establishment are due to the dictatorial ideology of Sharif.”
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He praised the sacrifices rendered by former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for the promotion of democracy.
About the soaring debt, he said, “The PML-N has taken loans which we have to return sooner or later.”
On the problems being faced by the people of south Punjab, Zardari said, “If the people of the area support the PPP, a Seraiki province will be carved out and all the problems can be resolved.”
Earlier addressing the gathering, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said, “Multan is the city of Sufi saints and my mother and grandfather had addressed the people at the very same place where I am standing.”
He said the people of Multan stood against the oppressive policies of Gen (retd) Ziaul Haq, adding that thousands of labourers had laid down their lives in the era of Zia.
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He said historical revolution came in the era of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto 50 years ago, but then came Zia and the forward-moving Pakistan stopped, lands of farmers were snatched, labour and student unions banned, and democracy and Constitution annulled.
Turning his guns towards Imran Khan, he said, “Khan is the soldier of the ideology of Maulana Sami-ul Haq.”
“You claim to be the representative of youth. Tell me your age? Your chief minister is also aged and there is no representative of youth in your party,” he said. “On the contrary, the Sindh CM is younger and represents the youth. The PPP encourages youth at every forum.”
“The problems of youth are lack of education and unemployment,” he said. “We will provide equal opportunities to the 60% population.”
“Listen Imran Khan … this will be my first election and your last one,” said Bilawal.
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He blamed Khan for introducing foul language in politics which was “never used by anyone else before and is against the culture of Pakistan”.
Targeting Sharif, he said, “You are bashing about ideology these days, tell us what your ideology is. Is this the ideology which you pledged at the graveyard of Zia to protect, is this the ideology with which you conspired against every prime minister from Junejo to Gilani or is this the ideology under which you tried to topple the government of Benazir with the money of Osama Bin Laden!”
He went on, “Let me tell you what your ideology is. It is making parliament a camp office of Ittefaq Foundry. It is using a remote to control the government while disrespecting parliament from where you gained respect and power.”
He said Sharif was responsible for the deprivation of south Punjab. “There is no hospital in south Punjab, but the Sindh government, in its limited budget, has established hospitals for the poor people.”
He said that agriculture should be improved as per the ideology of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. “And we will follow in their footsteps,” he added.
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“We will abolish general sales tax imposed on the agriculture sector and devise farmer-friendly policies. Water distribution for the sector will be justified as well as the amount of money provided to the farmers for their crops,” he added.
PPP leaders Khursheed Shah, Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood, Natasha Doltana, Shokat Basra, Gilani as well as other prominent personalities also addressed on this occasion.
There was an arrangement of about 25,000 chairs but only 4,000 to 5,000 people attended the gathering due to poor weather.
Half of the crowd left before Zardari’s address began. Half of the stadium and chairs remained empty.
About 1,800 policemen were deployed at the site for security purposes.
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