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HomePakistanBilawal dials up rhetoric against ‘the old guard’ | The Express Tribune

Bilawal dials up rhetoric against ‘the old guard’ | The Express Tribune


Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday repeated his call on the “traditional old guard politicians” to step back, emphasising that the country’s youth deserved a chance to shape their future without anyone else’s political baggage.

Addressing a public rally in Chitral, Bilawal dialled up his rhetoric against his party’s former partners in the previous coalition government, accusing the Shehbaz Sharif-led dispensation of neglecting public issues and indulging in personal vendetta.

The scion of Bhutto dynasty particularly targeted the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – the mainstay of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) government from April 2022 to August 2023 – saying that nation clearly witnessed how personal enmities took precedence over other concerns.

Read more: Bilawal slams ‘traditional politics of electables’

“Over the last 18 months, our coalition partners claimed to tackle citizens’ challenges. Yet, it all boiled down to personal animosities, shattering hopes for addressing economic, political, and democratic crises,” he said.

He added that the traditional politicians could not provide viable solutions and were intellectually bankrupt, lamenting that under their stewardship disillusionment prevailed in every sector — from the economy to foreign policy.

18th Amendment

Expressing optimism for change, the PPP chief championed the need for a transfer of leadership to younger figures, saying the upcoming February 8 general elections would serve the masses only if entrusted to youthful leadership.

Turning his attention to ongoing discussions around the potential re-evaluation of the 18th Constitutional Amendment and the National Finance Commission (NFC) award formula, Bilawal stressed that the 18th Amendment was the solution to the country’s issues.

If implemented in letter and spirit, the PPP chairman added, the amendment could devolve ministries to provinces, potentially saving billions, which could be used for employment creation, poverty reduction, and healthcare provision to the masses.

His statement came amid reports indicating the PML-N was contemplating on making adjustments to the 18th Amendment– enacted by the then PPP government in 2010. The PML-N, however, had refuted any such claim.

In his speech, Bilawal also dilated on various public welfare projects, his party intended to launch in the country if it was voted to power in the upcoming general elections. He pledged to provide perpetual wheat subsidies to Chitral and tax exemptions in Malakand and former tribal areas (Fata).

He said that a PPP government at the Centre would introduced ‘Apni Zameen Apna Makan’ [own plot and own house] scheme to grant property rights to slum dwellers, particularly in the flood-affected regions. He also pledged to fulfil a longstanding aspiration of the youth.

Also read: Send old guard home, Bilawal tells people

To realise the dream of development of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the PPP chairman stressed the need for a strong chief minister in the province. He said the government in province, opposing the Centre could be a hurdle to the federal developmental projects.

He urged the people of K-P to fully recognise current sensitive juncture and rid the province of old traditional politicians and pave the way for exemplary development of the province by making a Jayala their next chief minister by winning the PPP with a huge majority.

He told the gathering that the Bhutto family had a special relationship with Chitral, as his grandmother Begum Nusrat Bhutto had won the election from this area. We will invite Aseefa Bhutto Zardari [Bilawal’s sister] to contest the election for the National Assembly seat from Chitral.

Earlier, PPP K-P President Muhammad Ali Shah and former Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, besides Provincial vice president Salim Khan and local party leaders Amirullah Khan, Sharif Hussain and others also addressed the gathering.


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