Bilawal terms talks with TTP betrayal of martyrs – Pakistan

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that dialogue between the government and the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is betrayal of the blood of martyrs, adding that terrorists involved in heinous crimes should face legal action before talks.

Addressing a public meeting here on Tuesday, he alleged that the federal government was trying to reintroduce draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation in the erstwhile Fata on the pretext of negotiations with the TTP. He said that the PPP rejected talks with the terrorists.

The PPP held the public meeting in connection with the party’s 54th foundation day. Observers say that it was an impressive show of power put up by the PPP in Peshawar since the assassination of its chairperson Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. The party’s women wing workers also participated in the event in large numbers.

Addressing Peshawar rally, PPP leader says terrorists should face legal action

MNA Syed Khurshid Shah, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, parliamentarians and party workers from the four provinces attended the public gathering. The venue was decorated with PPP flags.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that the government did not have the mandate of parliament for holding talks with terrorists. He said that the government was negotiating with the terrorists who had martyred students of the Army Public School, Peshawar, thousands of innocent civilians and personnel of security forces.

He said that terrorists wanted to impose Shariah in the country and added that terrorists should understand that the country was already ruled under the Islamic constitution. He paid tribute to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for defeating terrorists. “Big powers could not resist terrorists in Afghanistan, but the people of KP defeated terrorists,” he said.

He said that the PPP would not accept negotiations with the TTP without the consent of the parents of martyred students of the APS.

The government has started talks with the TTP and other militant groups that have declared a so-called ceasefire amid sporadic attacks on security forces. The Afghan government has announced that it is facilitating talks between Islamabad and the militant groups.

Regretting the video and audio scandals which have recently engulfed the country’s politics, the PPP chairperson hoped that the court would give a verdict to stop recording of phone calls for ever.

“We are not happy with the surfacing of scandalous audio and video tapes against anyone and we are against such practices,” he said. He cautioned that (Prime Minister) Imran Khan would face the same fate in future.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that the government was trying to introduce electronic voting machine (EVM) in the next general elections to manipulate the results. He termed the EVM “Result Transmission System-2 which was used to rig elections in 2018”. He said that the PPP’s lawyers would challenge the EVM in the court.

He said that Imran Khan was also trying to deceive overseas Pakistanis in the name of giving them right to vote. He said that instead of direct voting the PPP had proposed separate electoral college for overseas Pakistanis to give them representation in parliament.

“How is this possible that the vote of a person will be counted in Bannu while he is sitting in New York,” he argued and vowed that his party would expose the PTI’s “rigging plan”. He alleged that Imran Khan was trying to give NRO to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav through an act of parliament. He said that the PPP would oppose NRO to Jadhav on the streets and in the court.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari urged the people of KP to support his party in the next elections. He said that the PPP had never betrayed masses and had always fulfilled its commitments. He said that the PPP was the only party which gave jobs to people, launched Benazir Income Support Programme for destitute women and sent millions of people to the Middle East and other countries.

“The PPP will give jobs to people and protect their fundamental rights,” he said, adding that “selected government” was trying to usurp political, economic and fundamental rights of the people.

He said that Imran Khan had vowed that he would prefer to commit suicide instead of getting loan from the International Monetary Fund. “Now policies of the selected prime minister are forcing people to commit suicide because of poverty.”

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2021