Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday said the opposition would launch “a constitutional attack on Prime Minister Imran Khan” after his long march reached Islamabad in a couple of days.
Bilawal is leading the long march, which began its journey from Karachi on February 27. On Saturday night, the marchers reached the outskirts of Lahore and planned to enter the city on Sunday (today) morning.
“Upon reaching Islamabad, we will launch a constitutional attack on Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Bilawal told the party workers in Okara, alluding to the option of the no-confidence motion. A sizable number of people had turned out to welcome the PPP long march in Okara.
Bilawal said that the PPP had fought against dictators in the past and rid the country of them. “This time around the people will get rid of this ‘puppet’,” he added. “We will send Imran Khan packing through constitutional means.”
On the seventh day of the march, the PPP caravan set out from Sahiwal, with Bilawal delivering speeches to the supporters in Okara, Patoki and Kasur. By nightfall, the marchers had reached the outskirts of Lahore, while Bilawal himself went to the Bilawal House for meetings with party leaders.
On Sunday, the PPP will hold its main power show at Nasir Bagh, where former adviser to prime minister, Nadeem Afzal Chan will formally re-join the PPP, according to PPP office bearer close to the party chairman.
During his speeches in Okara and Patoki, Bilawal said Prime Minister Imran, who used to tell people not to worry, was himself worried now, after seeing a sea of PPP workers coming his way. His legs are trembling with fear,” he said.
While addressing the PPP workers in Okara, Bilawal called for lifting the ban on the students unions. He said that students had resisted the dictatorial rules of Gen Ayub Khan and Gen Ziaul Haq in the past and that was the reason the unions were banned by Gen Zia.
“The dictators and their supporters have deprived the students of their democratic rights. Sindh has restored the students unions and now the PPP wants to see them restored all over the country,” the PPP chairman said.
He said that the people of Pakistan had given their verdict in favour of the ‘Awami March’ against “this selected, incapable, and illegitimate government of puppet” Imran Khan. “Terrorism has increased during this government, whereas the PPP thwarted terror designs during its government,” he added.
In his speech, Bilawal also referred to pro-farmer policies of the former PPP governments. “The PPP’s stance is that if the farmer is prosperous, the entire country is prosperous,” he said. “The PPP’s philosophy is that the one who sows [the crop] is the one who reaps [it],” he added.
“Quaid-e-Awam [late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto] gave the farmers ownership of their lands,” he said, adding that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto ordered her government to procure entire potato crop to stabilise its price after a bumper crop, because she did not want the famers to sleep hungry.
“In contrast, this selected has forced the farmers to buy fertiliser from black market,” the PPP chairman charged. “Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto gave five and seven marla schemes during their governments but this selected could not give a single house despite promising five million homes.”
In Patoki, Bilawal told the crowds that “this selected and puppet Imran” had given economic relief to the rich and made the life of the common man miserable. “The PPP workers have come out to hold this puppet accountable for this destruction and to save this country, economy and democracy,” he said.
“We are out on the streets for the rights of the people. We are going to Islamabad to challenge this puppet and the selected. Imran has no past and no future but we were with the people in the past, we are with the people today, and will be with the people tomorrow,” the PPP chairman continued.
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“We will enter Lahore in the morning with the message of Patoki that no one wants Imran, the puppet, to remain in power. Then, we will go to Islamabad with the message of the people of Pakistan that “Go Selected Go”.
The long march is part of the opposition’s anti-government campaign. The PPP and the opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had announced last month that they would move a no-confidence motion.
In recent days, Lahore has seen hectic political activities with leaders from both sides contacting each other. However, it still remains a mystery as to when the no-confidence motion would be tabled and against whom – Prime Minister Imran Khan or National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), both of which are part of the PDM, have been holding consultations on the proposed no-confidence motion. On Saturday, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman again discussed the plans with PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari and PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif.
According to the JUI-F sources, Fazl, in his separate telephone conversation with the two leaders, expressed satisfaction over the required numbers game, regarding the no-confidence motion. He also consulted them on setting a possible date for tabling the motion.
Separately, JUI-F leader Maulana Amjad clarified the remarks attributed to Fazl last week that the no-confidence motion could be tabled in a day or two, saying they were misconstrued and his generalised statement was taken as a deadline.
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