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‘Give chance to us again’: PPP’s long march turns into election campaign in Lahore

PPP chairman promises jobs and quality education for youth, says he is young and understands their problems

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)’s much anticipated long march, focused on getting rid of Prime Minister Imran Khan, turned into the party’s campaign for the next elections as Bilawal Bhutto urged Lahoriites to give the party a chance again.

While addressing a crowd at Lahore’s Nasir Bagh, the PPP Chairman said that the party would address economic challenges, give rights to the people and would fulfil the mission of his mother, Benazir Bhutto, and grandfather, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, if his party was given another chance to rule.

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“Vote and support PPP once again. Give it a chance,” Bilawal said, asking Lahoriites while addressing supporters.

The gathering was attended by senior PPP leadership including Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, PPP Central Punjab President Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Senator Sherry Rehman, and Member of Provincial Assembly Syed Hassan Murtaza.

The gathering at Nasir Bagh comprised mostly of supporters from outside Lahore. Moreover, the other opposition parties also stayed away from welcoming PPP’s march in Lahore.

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“Give a chance to the PPP and we will show you how the economic issues are addressed. Support the PPP and we will show you how the country is represented around the world,” Bilawal said.

In a bid to grab Lahoriites’ support, Bilawal spoke about the NFC award and the 18th amendment, saying that it was the PPP which gave autonomy to the provinces.

“Lahore’s resources were being utilized by the centre until the 18th amendment and NFC award were introduced by the PPP,” said the PPP Chairman.

Just a day before the PPP’s rally entered Lahore, Punjab government spokesperson Hassaan Khawar had said that Asif Ali Zardari was using the PML-N to run his party’s campaign. Khawar had stated that the PPP would complete its campaign and the PML-N would regret it.

In today’s rally, while addressing the workers, Bilawal Bhutto said that the Metro Bus project was built due to NFC awards and it was Asif Ali Zardari who enabled the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The PPP chairman said that the party’s relations with Lahore went way back. “Lahore is the city where PPP took birth,” said Bilawal, while assuring Lahoriites that he would never run away and would not leave for London like many others.

He further added that the incumbent rulers would also escape to London.

“I’ll never run away. I’m here and I will prove it. How is it possible that the public is in trouble, farmers are facing problems, and I leave this country?” Bilawal asked the crowd.

The PPP chairman also spoke about how Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave the constitution to the country and struggled for its supremacy. He said that the slogan of ‘roti, kapra aur makan’ [bread, clothes and shelter] originated in Lahore.

“Nobody can compete with the PPP, which has done much for Lahore and the entire country,” he added.

The PPP chairman said Imran Khan made many promises but could not fulfil even a single one.

“Tell me where the five million houses are?” he asked the audience.

Bilawal reminded Lahoriites that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto introduced the five-marla scheme in 1970s, and it was the PPP that gave ownership rights to the people of katchi abadis [slum areas].

Later, he said, Benazir Bhutto introduced the seven-marla scheme and during Zardari’s government, financial assistance was announced for poor women. He said salaries of government officials were increased 100 percent during the last tenure of the PPP, and those of the army were increased by 175 percent.

He urged the people, especially Lahoriites, not to focus on what he said was propaganda of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

“Don’t focus on the propaganda. These rulers have taken away your bread and butter. They promised to give you jobs, but what he [PM Khan] has done is known to everyone. They destroyed Pakistan Steel Mills in Karachi and did nothing for 16,000 employees of various government departments,” he added.

Bilawal went on to say that the PPP would continue to wage a democratic war against the ruling government for restoration of democracy.

“We will continue our struggle so the real representatives of this city [Lahore] could be elected to the provincial and national assembly. We want to bring real representatives to power,” said Bilawal.

The PPP Chairman also talked about the electoral reforms.

“I will come back to you again,” Bilawal said, while addressing the participants. “We are working on the no-trust motion against the government for real representation.”

Bilawal said that Shah Mahmood Qureshi was sent to Sindh, which was evidence of the fact that the ruling PTI feared the jiyalas.

The PPP chairman also spoke about how student unions were restored in Sindh.

“A big fraud has been committed with the youth of this city,” said Bilawal, pointing out that the same was done with the youth of the rest of Punjab and the whole country.

Bilawal said, “I’m young and I understand your problems. We want to give you quality education and jobs in the country,” adding that the PPP would keep a check on daily recruitment when in power.

He further criticised the ruling PTI over the introduction of a single curriculum, saying that it was “pathetic”.

“Give independence to the youth and let them decide. But, I tell you, it is PPP which can fulfil your promises,” he added.



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