Bilawal hopeful next PM ‘won’t be from Lahore’

  • PPP to contest elections “on its own”; rely on public support: Bilawal.
  • LB by-polls result merely a “trailer”, ex-foreign minister claims.
  • He says: “February 8 to be the day of victory of Bhutto’s manifesto.”

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Monday expressed hope that the country’s next prime minister will not be from “Lahore” — the stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Speaking to media in Karachi, the former foreign minister said that his party will contest the polls “on its own” and on the basis of its elections manifesto.

“We won’t look towards anyone [else] and [will rely] on public’s [support] for [success in elections],” Bilawal said adding: “[Although] anyone can be a candidate for the prime minister, the final decision is that of the people.”

Bilawal also termed PPP’s success in Sunday’s local government by-polls as merely a “trailer” and said: “The people proved [by voting] that they are with the PPP”.

The PPP leader’s remarks come as the party, on Sunday, won big in the LB by-polls held across 14 districts of Sindh with Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab winning the union committee (UC) chairman seat from Karachi’s Saddar Town area.

Meanwhile, Karachi’s deputy Mayor Salman Murad of the PPP along with Saifullah Noor also won the chairman’s seat from Malir district and Maurpur town, respectively.

“Even if our [political] opponents unite [against us] they won’t be able to defeat the PPP,” Bilawal said.

“The PPP won yesterday despite not being in government,” he added.

The party chairman also claimed that his party will mirror LB by-polls success in upcoming general elections.

“It is necessary that PPP forms the government [in order to] introduce people-friendly projects.”

“February 8 will be the day of victory for the manifesto of [Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto Shaheed and Benazir Bhutto,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention that last week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in pursuant to the directions of the Supreme Court) announced that general elections will be held on February 8, 2024 — ending months of ambiguity surrounding the polls.

The top electoral body announced the poll date after consulting with President Arif Alvi on the court’s directions.

The apex court’s three-member bench headed by CJP Isa — while hearing multiple pleas seeking timely elections within 90 days — also ordered the caretaker government to “ensure the conduct of general elections on February 8”.

‘Unfortunate’ terrorists using US-made weapons 

Commenting on the revelation that America-made weapons were used in the attack on the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base in Mianwali, the former minister said that it was unfortunate that the weapons left by the United States in Afghanistan — during their hasty withdrawal — have found their way into the hands of dacoits and terrorists.

Bilawal was referring to last week’s terror incident where the security forces eliminated nine militants in a clearance operation after a failed terrorist attack on the air base in a swift response by the troops.

“Whether it be Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or Sindh’s Katcha area [the miscreants] have which the US left behind in Afghanistan,” he said.

The ex-foreign minister also reiterated his party’s staunch stance against all forms of extremism and reassured to curb the menace of terrorism via the effective implementation of the National Action Plan — if his party comes into power.

Furthermore, expressing his views on the May 9 riots, the PPP leader was of the view that there should be a provision of some kind of pardon for those “not involved” in the incident.

“Those who attacked Jinnah House and military installations will not be forgiven by the nation […] However, not everyone was involved [in the May 9 riots] those who were not involved must be released.” he said.

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