LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has threatened to launch a ‘long march’ if the Nawaz government does not accept his four demands by Dec 27.
He has also announced making the Punjab capital his abode for his future political activities.
His demands are: forming a parliamentary committee on national security, adopting the PPP-drafted bill on Panama Leaks probe, implementing decision of the multi-party conference chaired by Asif Zardari on CPEC and appointing a full-time foreign minister.
“I’m forming a committee [for holding talks with the government] on the four demands and if the demands are not met by Dec 27, I’ll announce a long march against the government,” he told participants of the 7th and concluding day ceremonies of the party’s foundation day here on Tuesday.
“Then they will learn about the power of Bhutto and of the masses,” he said, adding a dash of Punjabi to his Urdu speech.
Hurling another veiled threat at the ruling family, he also announced that he would make Lahore, that is considered stronghold of the Sharifs, his abode after Dec 27 (when death anniversary of his mother Benazir Bhutto would be observed in Larkana).
“Then the whole politics will be done in Lahore. And then slogans of Bhutto will be raised here,” he told the local party activists.
“The party has just begun”, he said, cautioning the rulers to get ready as “the son of Bhutto” was coming out on roads.
Lacing his speech with slogans of “go Nawaz go”, he gave a six-month schedule of “struggle” to the workers.
“There would be a three-month anti-government drive and then a three-month election campaign,” the young PPP leader said without elaborating when the campaign would be launched.
Bilawal reached the stage when Punjabi folk singer Arif Lohar was performing.
Tuesday being the central Punjab day of the celebrations, the stage’s background displayed images of historical landmarks of Lahore — the Fort, Badshahi Masjid and Minar-i-Pakistan, besides the agricultural setting of Punjab showing a pair of oxen standing in a green field and a peasant family walking along a water channel.
In the front of the stage were displayed traditional Punjabi handicrafts and rural life symbols, including a chati (pitcher used for preparing butter and lassi), charpoys, spinning-wheel, etc.
The participants, mostly from Lahore, were offered an “early dinner” as the serving of meal comprising multiple dishes began by 5pm. The service continued till the end of celebrations late in the evening.
The jiayalas, many of them arriving at the venue in rallies, danced to the beat of drums and kept raising slogans throughout the event.
Bilawal repeated his rhetorical questions during his speech: “If you see any change in Sindh government’s performance? If change is coming in PPP affairs?
And the workers replied with a loud collective “yes”.
After getting a positive response, he held the Nawaz government responsible for all ills in the fields of economy, foreign policy and governance and assured the workers that the change could be possible in Punjab too which, he said, was still in the grip of “remnants” of Gen Zia.
“Nawaz Sharif could be said goodbye in 2018 elections provided the people of Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir, central Punjab and of dear Lahore sided with me,” he said.
He thanked the jiyalas for coming in large numbers for what he said “showing the Showbaz [Shahbaz] and nakaam [failed] Sharifs that the PPP was still alive.
Earlier, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khurshid Shah, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Qamar Zaman Kaira and others also spoke.