Imran's Imprisonment Not Solution To All Issues He Created, Says PPP Chief Bilawal

Advises Caretaker Prime MInister Anwaarul Haq Kakar against travelling to New York to attend the UNGA, says that this should be left to foreign minister

Imran's Imprisonment Not Solution To All Issues He Created, Says PPP Chief Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday noted that the imprisonment of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has not helped solve the problems currently facing Pakistan, including the ones he had created.

He said this while addressing a news conference in Okara on Monday. Bilawal was speaking alongside the family of Asif Baloch, whose brother had been recently killed. Bilawal demanded that the local administration and the Punjab government impartially probe the matter and apprehend those responsible. He promised to personally reach out to Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi over the issue.

"It was through the support of the people that we were successful in achieving the goal of ousting a puppet PM through the constitutional and democratic tool of the no-confidence motion for the first time in the country's history," he stated. 

Bilawal said that for him, the country is still riddled with a plethora of problems, not all of which can be resolved through the imprisonment of one man.

"Today, Pakistan is faced with a host of issues, be it the remainders of the actions of the puppet PM, those on an international level, economic turmoil, law and order or terrorism," he noted. 

Prioritising the common man

Speaking about handling the issues faced by the country, Bilawal said only those parties will find success who prioritise the well-being of the common man, the farmer, the labourer, the young and people from all walks of life over the elite or their interests. He added that only the PPP's leaders make conscious decisions and consider their implications on the average Pakistani. 

Detailing the PPP's track record in resolving issues of grave consequence facing the country, Bilawal recounted the period the PPP spent in power from 2008-2013. He said that their government tackled critical issues such as food shortage, law and order situation, terrorism, and global recession, among other issues.

"We were importing edibles despite being an agrarian country," he lamented, adding that his party tackled poverty and inflation by introducing the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). 

"We improved agriculture, and within a year, we started exporting wheat, sugar and rice," he asserted. 

Bilawal insisted that the PPP represents the common people of Pakistan and not the elite. 

"Today, if we have to overcome this crisis, then we, the PPP, will do it," Bilawal said of tackling the country's current challenges. 

We will design our economic programme for the benefit of the people. The PPP will remain serving and looking after the labourers, growers and downtrodden. 

Bilawal added that their party's philosophy of "Roti, Kapra aur Makan" (bread, clothes and house) will remain. 

Advice for caretakers

Responding to questions by journalists, the PPP chairman advised the caretaker government against sending a high-profile delegation to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

"If I had been in this cabinet, I would have suggested to the prime minister that the foreign minister should be sent to the United Nations," the former foreign minister suggested. 

The caretaker government, he reminded, has limited space to work generally and especially in foreign affairs. 

ECP again urged to give poll date

The PPP chairman reiterated his request to the Election Commission of Pakistan to give a date and schedule for the general elections to dispel the air of uncertainty surrounding polls.
"After the election date, I will be able to tell what kind of alliance the PPP will be making or not making," he stated.

Complaining that the PPP was being targeted, Bilawal warned that the party could never be pushed to the wall. 

When Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged, some people thought we would be pushed against the wall, but no one could, he said.

"When Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was martyred, we did not retreat; rather, we contested and won the elections," he added.

On the level playing field issue, he said that they have empowered former president Zardari to address them. If they are not addressed, then my hands will not remain tied. 

Reaction to Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa

Bilawal said that the message newly appointed Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa sent, by standing with his wife while taking oath was quite powerful.

He repeated the saying that there is a powerful woman behind every successful man and that Sarina Isa had proved that she is a powerful woman. 

"This has sent a very good message."

Bilawal added that the PPP has had bitter experiences with this institution. Despite that, he said that they have nothing but good wishes for Justice Isa and hope that he will be able to improve the institution. 

We will only suggest to Justice Isa that, like we had left a legacy of the Charter of Democracy, he can similarly leave a legacy. 
The judiciary has to restore its credibility, he said.

Responding to a question about Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi's continued detention, he said it does not matter if a pet is kept in a cage or anywhere else. 

"I am with the people who are on one page with me on the Constitution, law and democracy," he said.

Paused flood relief efforts

The PPP chairman lamented how their projects to construct houses for the poor and flood-hit people in Sindh had ground to a halt due to restrictions by the ECP.

He added that the PPP planned to provide two million women with homes. 

Ambassador of the youth

Bilawal pointed to how he will be turning 35 this month, adding that as the youngest chairperson of a political party in the political arena currently, he has a better understanding of the issues of the youth. Further, he said that he had seen the development of the modern world.

"If we work hard together, we can make a modern world for ourselves," he said, adding that they should make the youth a stakeholder in politics and the economy.

In this regard, he proposed introducing a 'youth card' similar to the BISP cards. The cards, he envisioned, would help youngsters secure a job after completing their education, training and skills. 

Youngsters need support for their first job to secure experience, he noted. We have to create a positive environment for the youth. Bilawal noted that the youth crave knowledge, and the state can provide them with physical and digital libraries. They need career counselling. We can help our youth. 

"We have to teach different languages to be able to work in different countries, and we can provide such facilities to our youth," he concluded. 

The writer is a senior correspondent at The Friday Times with a focus on politics, economy and militancy.