Why silent on Kashmir? Bilawal to Sharif

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of remaining silent on Kashmir issue for over last three years.
Why silent on Kashmir? Bilawal to Sharif
File Photo

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of remaining silent on Kashmir issue for over last three years.

"Over the last three years, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has not once potently spoken on Kashmir, let alone condemn the atrocities in Kashmir," he said addressing a rally in this southern city of Pakistan administered Kashmir, which was organized to kickstart his party's election campaign ahead of general elections to the AJK Legislative Assembly.

"I Bilawal Bhutto Zardari assure the people of Kashmir and Azad Kashmir that PPP will never remain silent over the rights of Kashmiris. We are beside you and we will remain beside you in your each struggle," he said.

He said he did not have any fear to speak for the Kashmiris.

"Whenever we speak on Kashmir, Mr Modi and Indian media launch propaganda against us. They burn our pictures, hack our party's website because they know that Bhutto's voice is heard across the globe," he said.

"When puppets speak, they says it's the ISI speaking and when Mullahs (a reference to clergy) speak, they says it's the terrorists speaking, but when a Bhutto speaks, they don't have any answer."

"Listen, even if Mian sahib does not speak, PML-N government keeps mum over the atrocities on the unarmed Kashmiris, don't worry I will become your voice and apprise the world of the atrocities of Modi government," he added.

He said Kashmiris had a long history of struggle and he was proud to be the chairman of a party that had always stood for them.

He said he viewed Kashmir as Germany, where a nation had been divided by erecting a fence.

"If my voice is being heard across the divide, my slogan is grander than the rest, i.e., plebiscite, plebiscite (in Kashmir)… We will take the whole of Kashmir."

Earlier, Bhutto-Zardari highlighted the importance of the settlement of Kashmir and Palestine conflicts for global peace, which he said would never come as long as the Indians and the Israelis shed the blood of the Kashmiris and the Palestinians, respectively.

"Peace in South Asia will bring peace in the Middle East and peace in both regions will turn the whole world into a peaceful place. I ask the governments in South Asia as well as world powers that while you talk about peace and pinpoint the problem, why don't you take steps to address the problem."

"You pass resolutions at the United Nations, but fail to implement them. You talk about human rights, but you turn deaf ears and blind eyes towards the repression in Kashmir," he said to the world community.

He alleged that the PML-N government was meting out similar treatment to Kashmir issue.

On AJK elections, he alleged that the federal government was distributing AJK Council funds among PML-N candidates, fake CNICs were being prepared through Nadra, non-Kashmiri votes were being enrolled in Punjab and Balochistan "to replay 2013 like rigging in the upcoming AJK polls."

"I know they are experts of rigging and stealing the mandate of others through bullying and artifice. But I have full faith that my Kashmiri brethren will fail their designs…Defeat of Nawaz Sharif will be the defeat of Modi and victory of Kashmir," he said.

Listing some projects in AJK, he admitted that mistakes might also have been committed, but he would now take care of everything himself.

"Whoever will make a mistake will have to account for it. I will not tolerate corruption at any cost, because I believe in transparency, service to people and their development."

The PPP chairman also asked the federal government to give special package to AJK and make maximum investments in different sectors.

"I want to see a bright Pakistan from a prosperous Azad Kashmir where people have employment and free health and education facilities," he said.

"If we are brought into power we will translate this dream into reality," he said, while asking people to give him a pledge that they will vote for the PPP.

Reminding Sharif of his demand to the then premier, Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani, for resignation, the PPP chairman said he was making a similar call to him, today.

"As long as Panama Leaks investigations are in progress you should resign. You can resume as the prime minister when you are absolved of the charges," he said to Sharif.

"But your days are already numbered. Today you are reduced to a condition that one day you rush to Russia as a patient and the other day to London for checkup. You send one representative to Germany and the other to the US, and when all this does not work, you rush to Panama to bootlick their finance minister," he added.

Throughout his speech, the PPP chairman repeatedly tried to establish a "nexus" between Prime Minister Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. It appeared to be an attempt to exploit local sentiment against Sharif "for pretending obliviousness" to the human rights violations in Kashmir on the one hand and please the establishment on the other. 

Mian sahib, your each act of fraud and deceit stands fully exposed. This wall of fraud is about to collapses," he said, and then resorted to chanting rhythmic slogans like "knock down the crumbling wall, knock down the Modi's friend" etc.

"Alas you (Sharif) became the prime minister thrice, but you did not become a leader. Your policies on foreign and domestic affairs, PIA and Steel Mills are driven by your personal business interests. We know you want to sell them at throwaway price," he said.

He said the loans obtained by PML-N government over the last three years were bigger than the collective figure of all previous governments.

"The nation will hold you accountable for it. But you also know very well that your government will not complete its constitutional term, which is why you have announced rallies across the country in anticipation of snap polls," he said.

Earlier, former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gillani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, AJK PM Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, senior minister Chaudhry Mohammad Yasin and others also spoke.

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