As political parties gear up for upcoming general elections slated for February 8 next year, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari fired a broadside at Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif saying that the three-time former prime minister is seeking a fourth term via “selection”, Geo News reported.
Taking a jibe at the former premier, Bilawal said: “Mian sahib you have come [to the power] three times via ‘selection’. At least be ‘elected’ for [your] fourth tenure [as prime minister this time],”the PPP leader said while addressing a political gathering in Lower Dir.
PPP chairman's remarks come amid an increasing political temperature in the country as parties go into electioneering mode forging new alliances.
Ever since the announcement of the poll date by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the PPP and the PML-N — former allies — have witnessed an intensifying verbal showdown with the former accusing the latter of getting special treatment whereas the rest of the parties are being denied a level playing field ahead of elections.
Calling on Nawaz to indulge in politics that respects the sanctity of the vote and does not insult it, the former foreign minister underscored that he along with the people of Pakistan will accept the PML-N supremo as the country’s premier if he comes to power “via selection”.
“If [Nawaz] comes through selection then neither the public nor I will accept [that result],” he warned, adding that he will resist every “selected” ruler.
The PPP leader also censured Nawaz's bid to become the prime minister for the fourth time, saying that what difference would it make if a person who has failed three times comes to the power one more time.
Bilawal also said that the PML-N supremo had been involved in “revenge politics” when he was “selected” via the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) — Nawaz-led political alliance formed against the PPP’s Benazir Bhutto-led government in 1988.
“In his second term, Mian sahib wanted to become amir ul momineen,” Bilawal said.
Taking a dig at Nawaz’s ouster as the country’s premier on all three occasions, Bilawal said that even in his third term, the PML-N supremo locked horns with the “same people” who did him “favours”.
“Mian sahib, after his third ouster, started complaining ‘mujhay kyun nikala?’ [why was I ousted?] and eventually landed in Avenfield [apartments], seemingly to bring a revolution”.
“He was facilitated to hold a mass public gathering upon his return, but he did the same what he has been doing all these years,” Bilawal said.
“Now Mian sahib is asking to be made prime minister with a two-thirds majority,” he added.
Taking a jibe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) former chairman Imran Khan and Nawaz simultaneously, Bilawal underscored that the country can neither afford a “player” nor a fourth-timer amid prevailing economic turmoil.
Stressing the need for “new politics”, Bilawal warned that Nawaz would once again indulge in his old ways if he came to power the fourth time.
Continuing his tirade against Imran, the former foreign minister said that politics of revenge received significant emphasis during the Zaman Park prime minister’s tenure.
“[We] had only one [principle] difference with the PTI founder that he came [to the power] via selection. […] and relied on umpire’s finger for his politics.”