Bilawal backs PM, urges budget consultation

PPP chief says political dialogue to strengthen democracy

Our Correspondent June 22, 2024


Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Friday that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s intention to mitigate the ongoing economic crisis was clear, but it would have been better if the government had consulted the allies before announcing the federal budget.

Addressing a ceremony to mark the 71st birth anniversary of the late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi, the PPP chief called on the democratic forces to engage in dialogue with each other in order to strengthen democracy and banish the politics of hate from the country.

“On the one hand there are economic problems and on the other, a political crisis has arisen where the politics of hatred is on the rise. Politicians in Islamabad are not willing to shake hands with each other, whether you are in government or in the opposition,” Bilawal told the ceremony.

He warned that political parties, who had been harming the country and the national economy because of their ego, were actually spreading hate in society. “They should play positive role in parliament. Democratic forces should talk to democratic forces to make our democratic system work.”

Bilawal, who had a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday, stressed the need for joint efforts to take the country out of current economic crisis. “At this time, the country’s economic issues are in front of you but the current government is trying to mitigate it,” he said.

Bilawal told the participants that the coalition parties had some reservations on the budget but added that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s intentions were evident. He expressed the hope that the PM would fulfil his promises made with the PPP. “We believe that it would have been better if the government had discussed with all its allies, especially the PPP, before making the budget so that we could apprise it of the issues that we have. Our duty is to represent the people of Pakistan and resolve their problems,” he said.

“Let all the political parties unite and agree that parliament is the institution which we will resolve the problems of the people of Pakistan. Then you will see that we can resolve the problems, including the economy. We have to be the voice of the people and strive to give them their rights.”

Bilawal also broached issues facing the Karachiites, particularly, electricity load-shedding, scarcity of water supply, law and order, employment opportunities and development projects. He assured that the Sindh government, led by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, was trying to resolve these issues.

“The results of the work that the chief minister’s team is doing for the development of Karachi and resolving the problems [facing its citizens] are also visible,” he said. “Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has been told to pay attention to the problems of the people of Karachi.”

Bilawal highlighted his special connection with Karachi and especially the Lyari town that went back to three generations. He said that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi and her wedding function was also held in Lyari’s Kakri Ground.

“Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto fought against two dictators with the support of the people of Lyari, and never left the people alone. Ever since I came into politics, I have the support of the people of Karachi. With your help, we have once again formed a government in Sindh,” he said.

“I will fight for the development of Karachi. We have formed the government of Sindh for the third time with the help of the people. I am grateful to Murad Ali Shah and his team that when he was re-elected, the problems that arose during the caretaker government are being resolved,” he continued.

“The chief minister and his team are working day and night to improve the law and order and we are seeing the results. Hopefully it will improve in the future. We are working to create employment opportunities in Sindh,” he added.

About the electricity load-shedding, he said that this was an issue all over the country, especially in Sindh, Balochistan, South Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where power outages spanned over 16 to 18 hours. He added that the people in these areas did not have the resources to even pay the bills.

The PPP chairman told the participants that the provincial government would provide relief from load-shedding by giving free solar power. “The chief minister has started a new project in the budget, under which we will provide free solar facilities to the poor people,” he added.

“In the next five years, we will expand this project across the province. We will provide free solar power facilities to the poor people so that they can get relief from load-shedding. Even those who can afford, will also get solar power on subsidised rates so that there will be improvement in load-shedding.”

He said that the Sindh government had come up with a project to provide water to the people from the Hub dam. He also assured that the Sindh government was trying to initiate such projects that could create employment opportunities.

He said that he had directed the provincial law minister to speak with the judges about lifting the courts’ stay order on jobs so that the people could be provided employment. “Many development projects are also stalled due to stay orders,” he added.

He thanked the people of Lyari, who celebrated Benazir Bhutto’s birth anniversary. On the occasion, Chief Minister Shah, Sindh PPP President Nisar Khoro, PPP Karachi President Saeed Ghani, party leaders Yousuf Baloch, Nabil Gabol, Waqar Mehdi, Javed Naguri and other leaders were also present.



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