Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday took shots at political opponents and the state institutions, stating that they were ready for elections despite lacking a level playing field. He also had advice for the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
For whomever the pitch is curated, we are ready to play every match, he said, using cricketing euphemisms to suggest that ground is being created for a certain party but that they were ready to contest on every seat against them.
Addressing a press conference in Mithi, Sindh, alongside Nisar Khuhro and former Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah and other leaders, Bilawal said they have never been provided a level playing field. Despite that, they have managed to get elected into power and form government.
He said that they hope to form a people-friendly government.
Reiterating his party's refrain of providing all parties with a level playing field, he asserted that today, the field is again being set to favour a particular party. However, Bilawal stopped short of naming the party.
Asserting that they were ready to contest for every seat, he hoped they would win and surprise everyone.
He further said that his party does not have a quarrel with any state institution. But it was also true that they are not looking to any institution for [support in] elections.
Bilawal asserted that they do not believe in revenge politics or abusing opponents, adding that is not how he was raised.
Commenting on Nawaz Sharif's upcoming tour of Balochistan, Bilawal advised Nawaz to focus on Lahore and Punjab, where his party, the PML-N, is in trouble.
He pointed out how the PML-N avoided by-elections and local government elections when it was in power.
He added that they are honouring the promises made to the public by slain prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
Bilawal said that propaganda was created against them, but through their work in Thar, they had responded to it.
In this regard, he pointed to the Thar Coal project as proof of their performance in governance.
He admitted that there was widespread unemployment, poverty, and inflation but argued that they have managed to reduce the neonatal mortality rate as a result of a programme initiated by his party for mothers and children.
Bilawal said that this news was not per their statistics but per international organisations.
Despite this, he maintained that more work needs to be done in Thar, especially to come good on their promise of 'Roti, Kapra, Makan' (bread, clothes, homes).
If they return to power, Bilawal promised to build a railway line connecting Thar to Karachi, which will connect the people and help transport the coal mined in Thar to markets.
Taking a swipe at the now-demolished Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Bilawal said they had raised the slogan that people from abroad would come and work in Pakistan. However, they ensured that locals were given jobs in local projects.
The PPP chairperson added that even though they were part of the coalition government, they had differences of opinion and quarrels on various matters with the federal government, including rehabilitation and resettlement of flood affectees.
He urged the caretaker government to continue the policies introduced by the elected government instead of halting projects.
Bilawal asserted that the caretaker government is supposed to hold elections and continue work on projects initiated by the elected government.
Lamenting that not much attention had been paid to higher education across the country, he said they had started a project to build a campus of the NED engineering university in Thar. In contrast, colleges will be built in different districts of the province.
Moreover, they were taking steps for teacher training.
He said that after COVID-19, they twice saw floods and flood-like situations, which forced them to redirect funds away from development projects, which got delayed.
PPP is aware of the difficulties the public faces, adding that inflation will be high on their agenda.
We want to bring improvement through democratic means. He also explained that supporting the rainbow coalition of the Pakistan Democratic Movement was the need of the hour then.
If we kept our political interests first, we would have decided differently, he said.
Bilawal added that he will travel to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) later this week.