Pakistan’s democracy affected by ‘politics of hatred, division’: Bilawal

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ISLAMABAD (ANN): Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday reiterated his rallying cry of “burying the old politics” and ushering in a new era, saying that Pakistan’s democracy and government system has been affected by ‘politics of hatred, division’.

The former foreign minister made these remarks while interacting with students of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) Islamabad campus regarding PPP’s manifesto “Chuno Nai Soch Ko (Choose new thinking).

“Politics of hatred and division is at its peak,” Bilawal regretted, adding that if all political parties keep branding each other ‘traitor’ and ‘infidel’, then how can Pakistan be managed. He noted that traditional politics have divided society and affected the country’s democracy and government system.

He warned that if these parties were to come into power, they would likely victimise their political opponents. “I am contesting to bury the politics of hate and division,” he asserted.

Bilawal Bhutto pointed out that inflation, poverty, unemployment and climate change were key issues being faced by the country which needed to be addressed on a priority basis. He said that he and economic experts prepared the PPP’s manifesto, promising a pro-public economic plan to cope with all crises.

The PPP chairman also reiterated that 17 federal ministries had become redundant after the 18th Amendment, and would be abolished if his party came to power. “Rs300 billion saved in this way would be utilised for the people’s welfare,” he added.

Moreover, he said, elites, powerhouses and fertiliser industry get annual subsidies worth Rs1,500 billion in our country. “We will end all subsidies to the elites and spend the funds to provide relief to the underprivileged segments,” he added.

Bilawal Bhutto also blamed ‘powerful lobbies and bureaucracy’ for the country’s long-standing issues. “Powerful lobbies create problems and a powerful reaction will come from the powerful sector when ministries would be abolished,” he added.

“I had spent 18 months in the federal government and knew about the mentality of Islamabad’s bureaucracy,” he said, adding: “They don’t want to work nor do they want anyone else to do something.”

Responding to questions, Chairman Bilawal said that in his travels across Pakistan, he was most touched in Gilgit Baltistan. He said that he was questioned about Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s book, as well as climate change.

Chairman Bilawal said that the issue of climate change is most significant for the people of Gilgit Baltistan but actually, this threat is rampant all over the country. In the recent catastrophic floods, one-thirds of the country was submerged in water including regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and South Punjab. One cannot breathe in Lahore.

Prior to the floods, Pakistan was facing one of its longest droughts along with forest fires in KP and Balochistan. The PPP proposes to put an end to the traditional manner of development planning. The people of Pakistan do not trust the current system of the distribution of electricity, hence the PPP aims to construct green energy parks in every district all over the country in partnership with the private sector. Chairman Bilawal said that the PPP’s 300 units policy is being criticised, but it aims to not give the same amount of subsidy to big industries, but the people directly.

Responding to another question, Chairman Bilawal said that the 10-point economic agenda presented by the PPP is a testament of the Party’s basic philosophy still being ‘Roti, Kapra Aur Makaan’. However, implementation on a manifesto cannot take place without a fresh view and perspective. Chairman PPP said that the politics of hate and division is at its peak in Pakistan and has divided the entire society. Hyper-partisanship and hyper-polarisation have crippled the economic and democratic fabric, contributing to the societal ‘fever’ we are currently witnessing.

Chairman Bilawal said that as the Foreign Minister, he made efforts to encourage the monetisation of digital platforms in Pakistan including META. The PPP wishes to invest in communication infrastructure. The era of investing in motorways is over, and the people need to be provided with high-speed internet all over the country. Resultantly, the youth will itself help the country emerge from the economic quagmire.

He concluded by saying that PPP could create green jobs for the nation and successfully address the longstanding national issues by providing relief to weak segments and flood affectees on top if elected to power.

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