The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has set the stage in Garhi Khuda Baksh, on the 13th death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan.
The gathering is PPP event, like every year but Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party, invited leaders of the opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz and several other leaders are sharing the stage with leaders of PPP.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari commented that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s vision for democracy is alive, however, those who opposed here have been forgotten by the masses.
Bilawal also turned his guns towards the incumbent government, saying that the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) government had forced millions into poverty, and even after being installed by “selectors”, he could not competently rule the country. “Imran Khan will be held accountable for the unprecedented rise in the prices of essential commodities and making the lives of masses miserable,” said the PPP chairperson. He said incumbent government must resign before January 31 or els get ready for the long march.
Bilawal also referred to the recent island controversy, saying that PPP “will not let them [PTI] invade our islands.”
Asif Ali Zardari
Former president Asif Ali Zardari addressed the rally via video link. He said the 18th Amendment was introduced to empower provinces and the people, and this was done to continue the vision and ideology of Z. A. Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
He said the PTI government would collapse “under its own burden” and predicted that the ruling PTI would perish, “people like you come and go. You don’t have any value,” he said to the ruling party.
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz opened her speech with Sindhi, thanking the PPP and the people of Sindh for a warm welcome.
She said that her father and the martyred Benazir Bhutto had signed the Charter of Democracy in 2006 for the sake of strengthening democracy in Pakistan. She added that the entire nation is mourning along with the PPP 13 years after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
Turning the guns towards the ruling party, she said PM Imran is “begging for NRO” from PDM and sending his emissaries to strike a deal with the opposition parties. “Imran Khan knows he doesn’t even have the authority to give NRO,” said Maryam Nawaz.
Sardar Akhtar Mengal, leader of the Balochistan National Party Mengal Group, said on the occasion that “We [the Baloch people] also have a love for the soil of Sindh,” the peoples of the two regions have great historic ties, said the BNP leader.
Mengal said, “Political parties were broken, new factions were made.” Mengal also called for an impartial investigation into the death of young Baloch leader Karima Baloch in Canada.
Other attendees also made speeches at the rally, including PPP leaders and leaders of smaller regional parties.
Earlier, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari welcomed the leaders from various Opposition parties upon their arrival. This included a PML-N delegation led by Maryam Nawaz. After the public event, a dinner in honour of PDM leaders will be hosted at Bhutto House, Naudero.
The PML-N delegation included Captain (retd) Safdar, Pervez Rashid, Maryam Aurangzeb, Muhammad Zubair, Muftah Ismail, and Shah Muhammad Shah.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman will not attend the public gathering. He will be represented by JUI-F Central Secretary-General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Siraj Ahmed Khan, Abdul Razzaq Abid Lakho, Saud Afzal Jalijo and Maulana Abdullah Mehr.
Besides, strict security arrangements have been made while walk-through gates have been installed at the entrances of the shrines.
Furthermore, over 7,000 police personnel have been deployed, including women commandos and traffic police personnel. Officials said CCTV cameras have also been installed to monitor the public gathering.