Aug 262017

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, in his speech on Saturday which primarily focused on foreign policy, said that his party's government had closed Nato supply lines and airbases after the Salala incident in which Nato helicopters had attacked a military checkpoint in northwest Pakistan and killed 28 troops.

Citing the incident from 2012, he said that the PPP had taken a tough stance with the United States and asked for an apology — something the PML-N had failed to do after US President Donald Trump's recent remarks about Pakistan.

While speaking to the crowd gathered in Fateh Jang, Attock, on Saturday night, Bilawal lamented that the PML-N government had not appointed a foreign minister for four years. "Now that they have appointed a foreign minister, he can be found on the GT Road, asking 'why was Nawaz thrown out?', rather than visiting other countries."

"Good or bad, every country has a foreign policy — but PML-N doesn't have one altogether," he said.

Bilawal criticised Trump for threatening Pakistan when "thousands of Pakistani people, security personnel, and even political workers and leaders had laid down their lives in the fight against terrorism". In the same breath, he also warned that the rulers that the world cannot be fooled.

"Banned organisations forming political parties and sitting in assemblies, or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government giving millions to their 'extremists' madressahs will not end terrorism, extremism and sectarianism," Bilawal claimed.

"They [PML-N] have buried the National Action Plan on which all political parties had agreed upon," he alleged. "You [PML-N] lie to the people but the world will not accept your lies"

Taking on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, he said: "Whenever people need Khan, he climbs the mountains and doesn't come down."

"The people in Peshawar are facing dengue, but Khan sahab is speaking in Sukkur," said the PPP chairman, asking Khan whether he was afraid not only of the terrorists but also mosquitoes.

"The PTI and PML-N are two sides of the same coin as both are right wing political parties with the sole agenda of grabbing power," Bilawal maintained.

"But do not be disappointed as I have now taken charge of the PPP," he said, promising to prioritise the agenda of the poor, labourers and farmers if the PPP comes into power.

He stressed that the PPP was a federal party and had remained so even in the aftermath of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's hanging, Benazir Bhutto's death and coups by dictators.

Bilawal is currently visiting KP and Punjab to solidify support and challenge Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif in their strongholds.

"Your own ministers are alleging that Imran Khan's kitchen and Jahangir Tareen's plane are operating [financially] on KP's contracts," Bilawal had said in a recent visit to Mansehra while accusing the KP government of financial mismanagement.

While Bilawal visits KP and Punjab, Khan is canvassing for his party in Sindh. In a jalsa in Sukkur on Friday, he had asked the people to help him take down "Sindh's pharoah" Asif Zardari.

A number of political figures have switched loyalties from both sides recently, with several leaders of PPP Punjab switching to PTI — including Firdous Ashiq Awan and Babar Awan — while PTI and PML-N leaders have been joining the PPP in Sindh as new alliances are forged ahead of the 2018 elections.

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif also announced on Thursday to visit Sindh soon as he welcomed former premier Mohammad Khan Junejo's son into the party's fold.

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