Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), dismissed the idea of any political disagreement between his party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). He asserted that both parties’ political stances would align with the principles of the Charter of Democracy.
The apparent differences between the two parties surfaced after Zardari, heir to the Bhutto legacy, critiqued the ruling coalition government at a public gathering in Swat on Saturday. He accused them of overlooking provinces significantly impacted by last year’s destructive floods in the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2023-24.
Bilawal stated that the budget did not sufficiently reflect PPP’s input. He declared, “If the Muslim League [PML-N] desires PPP’s support for this budget, they must first assign funds for flood reconstruction.”
Responding to Bilawal’s remarks a day later, senior PML-N leader Ahsan advocated for coalition partners to discuss and resolve issues in cabinet meetings rather than public assemblies.
He highlighted PM Shehbaz Sharif’s commitment to addressing the concerns of coalition partners, often prioritizing them over his party members. Ahsan added that public disputes generate an atmosphere of instability, which the country cannot afford.
While addressing the media at the swearing-in ceremony of Karachi’s mayor and deputy mayor, Bilawal reassured that no political friction existed with PML-N. “There could be a policy difference with PML-N, but there will be no personal opposition,” he clarified.
Bilawal expressed optimism that both parties’ politics would continue following the Charter of Democracy—a 2006 agreement between PPP and PML-N to reject alliances with undemocratic entities intending to overthrow each other’s governments.
On this historical day, Bilawal marked the first-ever appointment of a mayor and deputy mayor from the PPP in Karachi. He congratulated his party officials and workers while also lamenting the previous instances when his party was allegedly prevented from electing its mayor through rigging in 1979, 1983, and 2001.
Bilawal pledged his personal involvement in resolving Karachi’s challenges, underlining that the city’s progress was crucial for the country’s advancement. He expressed his confidence that Karachi would benefit from an optimal local government system under the newly elected Mayor, Murtaza Wahab’s, leadership.
He also encouraged the Jamaat-e-Islami, the PPP’s opponent in the mayoral election, to collaborate with other political forces. He alleged that the party, in conjunction with PTI, was attempting to “take over” Karachi.
While remembering PPP’s sacrifices, Bilawal asserted that the party would demonstrate its strength to those alleging election rigging. He announced that a party delegation would meet PM Shehbaz Sharif again with hopes of allocating funds for flood victims.
Last year’s unprecedented flash floods due to historical monsoon rains resulted in the deaths of at least 1,000 people, impacting more than 33 million inhabitants primarily in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Baluchistan.
Looking forward to the upcoming general elections, Bilawal announced that the PPP would soon present its manifesto and demanded a “level-playing field” in the next polls. He also expressed his condolences for the Greece boat tragedy and pledged stringent action against human traffickers.