Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary
By Shakeel Ahmed
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lashed out at the government Friday, saying the “puppet regime of political orphans” was crumbling. The PPP chairperson was addressing a rally held at Liaquat Bagh to mark the 12th death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto. The former prime minister was killed in a gun-and-bomb attack at a PPP election rally in 2007 at Liaquat Bagh. Bilawal said he would complete the unfinished mission of Benazir and ensure people were given their rights. He said the political orphans were ruling over Pakistan; hence, there was a leadership and economic crisis in the country. “These are the same political orphans Benazir warned you about,” he said. “Look at how they conduct their politics. They are cowards.” Bilawal taunted the government, saying all claims they made about politicians had proven false. “They said Mian sahab [Nawaz Sharif] will never go abroad for treatment. Mian sahab went abroad for medical treatment. They said President Zardari will never come out of jail. He is out of jail now too,” he said. Bilawal urged the masses to support him in ousting “this government of selected and political orphans as the people’s rule cannot be established without the PPP”. The PPP chairperson praised his grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, by crediting him with giving rights to the labourers when he was prime minister. Bilawal said his mother had fought two dictators during her lifetime and never backed down from anyone. “You [people] are witness that they [political rivals] used to say a woman can never be the prime minister of a Muslim country,” he said. “You saw how she became the first female head of state of a Muslim state.”
Bilawal said the credit went to Benazir for providing Pakistan with the much-needed missile technology. He said the slain PPP leader had come back to Pakistan, before her assassination, to ensure democracy thrived in the country. The PPP chairperson slammed the government, saying it was an enemy to the poor people of Pakistan. He criticised “those in corridors of power” for removing women beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) from its list and declaring them “undeserving”. “This is not the independence that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave us,” he said. “We will build the Pakistan that Benazir envisaged for you.” PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a message on the death anniversary of his mother, former prime minister and party chairperson Benazir Bhutto said she was the strongest chain of Federation of Pakistan. “Those who assassinated her had planned to break the chain but failed due to “Pakistan Khappe” slogan of President Asif Ali Zardari soon after the national tragedy,” he said, paying rich tribute to her. He said the people of Pakistan would never forget their brave leader, who sacrificed everything for the country and for the rights of its downtrodden and barefoot masses. As a young daughter whose father and the most popular leader Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by a dictator, she fought bravely for the ideals her father embraced the gallows for, he added. Mr Bhutto-Zardari said she led the followers of ex-PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto into an untiring struggle against the brutal tyrant in shape of Zia. She suffered solitary confinement, imprisonments and forced exiles while fighting for restoration of democracy. He pointed out that Benazir Bhutto defeated the dictatorship and was given power under compulsion after its remnants failed to completely hijack the 1988 general elections.
After elections, as prime minister, she ordered the release of all the political prisoners in the country and launched programmes for the development of the country and the masses, he added. The PPP chairman said that programmes covering health, education, poverty eradication, women development and defence, she launched, put the country onto the path to progress and prosperity. “The ballistic missile programme made our defence invincible in the wake of the nuclear programme launched by her father Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto before his judicial murder.”
He reiterated his commitment to the mission of Benazir Bhutto and pledged that he would continue the struggle with the support of Pakistani masses and the Party supporters. He added Benazir Bhutto would continue to live in the hearts and minds of the people as her legacy would never be forgotten in the history of Pakistan and her struggle for democracy, human rights and peaceful society.