Condemning the recent terror attacks on political campaigns in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan that killed over 150 people in a week, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari urged national unity to rid the country of terrorism.
Addressing a news conference in K-P’s Malakand district on Sunday during an electoral campaign for his candidature in NA-8 (Malakand Protected Areas), he said the terrorists’ target was democracy and peace.
“I must make it clear that we will not let get away with it. We must unite to thwart their efforts. I have repeatedly spoken about implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP),” Bilawal said.
“If Iran and Iraq can hold elections despite terrorist attacks then I think we are capable of holdings polls on time as well. The terrorists do not want our country to progress,” he noted. “Elections will be held on time.”
He also told reporters about his receiving security threats. “The government is responsible for the security of political leaders. I have the right to do politics and run an electoral campaign.”
The PPP chairperson, however, also stressed on economic development for rooting out terrorism. “We want to promote economy in areas worst hit by militancy. The PPP will inject investment from the federal government and through NFC [National Finance Commission] awards in Malakand and other tribal areas.”
Dwelling further on the subject, Bilawal emphasised that the tribesmen are deprived of basic facilities like gas and water.
“Economic justice has been the top priority of PPP and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir worked towards it,” Bilawal said, adding, “Zardari also addressed the issue of K-P when he gave Northwestern Frontier Province (NWFP) its identity through 18th Amendment.”
Bilawal added: “I want to strengthen the federal and provinces by focusing on backward regions.”
Speaking on the upcoming general elections, The PPP leader lamented that political parties were not provided level playing field. “We have raised this issue with Election Commission of Pakistan and in Senate as well. We must ensure the mistakes of 2013 are not repeated.”
He critcised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the “repeated use of derogatory language during its election campaigns”.
“The PPP has never indulged in derogatory politics,” he claimed.
Bilawal went on to say: “The PTI has been using strong language not just for politicians but for the general public. PTI Chief Imran Khan has set a precedent unworthy of a national leader.”
On the Supreme Court’s Fund for Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams, Bilawal said that while he did not doubt Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar’s intention, the construction of dams did not fall under the apex court’s jurisdiction. “There are many pending cases, including Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir’s, that need to be prioritised by the judiciary.”