PESHAWAR: Reacting angrily to the ongoing talks between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday demanded that those who were involved in the killings of women and children in the name of ‘Qital’ should be given punishments as per the Islamic laws.

Addressing a public gathering in Peshawar held in connection with the party’s 54th Foundation Day, the PPP Chairman said it was unfortunate that the government was holding talks with the elements, who had the blood of innocent men, women and children on their hands, without taking the opposition parties into confidence. “We will not let the government give an ‘amnesty’ to these people,” he vowed.

Bilawal said he saluted the personnel of the Pakistan Army and Police who had laid down their lives fighting against the TTP terrorists. He said that the government was secretly holding talks with the terrorists involved in the APS tragedy. “We will not accept the negotiations with the proscribed organisation.”

Accusing the government of surrendering to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) terms and conditions, the PPP chairman said that the ‘deal’ struck between the government and the Fund would take its toll on the masses.

He vowed not to let the government make the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) subservient to the IMF. He alleged that ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan was trying to give a safe passage to Kulbhushan Jadhav. “PPP will not allow him to give amnesty to the Indian spy,” he expressed the resolve.

The PPP chairman also accused the government of befooling overseas Pakistanis in the name of electoral reforms. “We are of the view that there should be an ‘electoral college’ for the Pakistanis living abroad,” he said, and added, “We will continue to oppose the electronic voting machines (EVMs).”

He said the PTI government’s poor performance had laid bare the hollowness of its tall claims of bringing ‘change’ in the country. “Now it is in everybody’s knowledge which ‘change’ the PTI was talking about before coming to power. That ‘change’ is joblessness and inflation,” he taunted.

Bilawal alleged that ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan had given instructions to the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa not to allow the PPP to hold a gathering in the provincial capital. “Come and see ‘selected’ that the entire city of Peshawar has thronged the PPP’s Jalsa,” he said, and claimed that if came to power, PPP would make the country’s economy ‘poor friendly’.

Earlier, in his statement on the occasion of the 54th foundation day of the PPP, Bilawal said that after a long struggle and unprecedented sacrifices, only PPP can pave the way for democracy in Pakistan. Only PPP’s manifesto and strategy can make the homeland of 220 million Pakistanis a truly democratic and welfare state.

The PPP chief further said that the PPP is a revolutionary movement based on the ideology of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the philosophy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and the struggles and sacrifices of many generations.

Bilawal said that even in face of the most difficult circumstances, PPP had given the country and the nation rich strategic gifts, including the country’s first unified constitution, nuclear program guaranteeing invincible defence and missile technology, provincial sovereignty, and agrarian and economic reforms. Other hallmark achievements of PPP include making Pakistan the hub of the Islamic world politically by organizing Islamic Summit and Pak-China friendship, the CPEC project.

“Today, I salute all the Jiyalas who sacrificed their lives for the cause of democracy, endured the hardships of imprisonment, deportation, and undemocratic forces, and also faced sponsored media trials,” stated Chairman PPP.

Bilawal said that party officials and workers possess the unwavering courage and determination to carry out the unfinished mission of Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. They are the ones who are breathing a new life into their struggle.

“Today, we renew our commitment to continue fighting for the rights of the people, the emancipation of women, the inclusion of minorities in the national mainstream, the empowerment of democratic institutions, the rule of law, and the well-being of the people of this nation,” promised Chairman PPP.

Bilawal further said that the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party and the tireless struggle of the Jiyalas will soon bear fruit. He stated that the dream of eradicating all forms of discrimination from the country and establishing a society based on equality was about to become a reality.

He emphasized that the time has come for real democracy to be established in Pakistan and for the end of the reign of selected regimes.—NNI