Bilawal slams govt’s ‘failed’ foreign policy

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MUZAFFARABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday criticised what he called the failed foreign policy of the Nawaz Sharif administration.

It has been over three years since the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been voted to power, but it could not bring in a full-fledged foreign minister. Sartaj Aziz and Tariq Fatemi advise and assist the prime minister on matters of foreign policy.

“The PML-N has failed to deal with India while Iran and Afghanistan are also annoyed with Pakistan. The United States is now carrying out drone strikes in Balochistan while the government has also failed to address controversies about the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” Bilawal said while addressing a public gathering in Mirpur, some 190 kilometres away from the AJK capital of Muzaffarabad.

The scion of the Bhutto dynasty went on to add the PML-N government had also failed to get F-16 fighter jets from the United States while its stance on the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state was also weak. “Keeping in view the poor performance of the PML-N government, I call upon the prime minister and his foreign minister to step down,” he added.

The young PPP chairman said a stable Pakistan was vital to promote the Kashmir cause proactively. “The government’s criminal silence on the Kashmir dispute is unfortunate, which shows its lack of interest in the Kashmir cause – the Sharif family is more interested in promoting steel business with India,” he claimed.

“The PPP will continue to support the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. We want a peaceful settlement of this festering dispute through a plebiscite according to the wishes of Kashmiris,” he added.

Bilawal said his party had always been victimised in the name of accountability as his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, was put behind bars on concocted and flimsy charges of corruption.

“When there are calls for accountability in Punjab, then PML-N ministers start issuing threatening statements,” he said. “The PPP believes in transparency and across-the-board accountability without fear or favour,” he added. “Accountability is not a threat to democracy, but it certainly threatens ‘Takht-e-Raiwand.”

The PPP chairman also scoffed at the government’s claim to end the chronic electricity crisis in the country within the next two years. “The PML-N has failed to generate even a single megawatt of electricity in the three years of its rule as people are still subjected to 12 to 18 hours of load-shedding daily.”

The whole world is monitoring the AJK elections, he said and called upon the Kashmiri voters to vote for PPP candidates because a PML-N electoral victory would mean a ‘victory of friends of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2016.

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