ABBOTTABAD: The nation must replace the old system of politics with a new one, where young people would be given the chance to steer the country towards progress and modernity, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Thursday.
Addressing a workers’ convention in Abbottabad, he urged the nation to give someone new a chance in the coming general elections instead of choosing the same prime minister “for the second or fourth time”.
Stressing that 70 per cent of the country’s population comprised youngsters below the age of 30, he said: “We now need to think about whether we will vote for septuagenarians and leave our future in the hands of those who only think of themselves or if we should give a chance to the PPP, the party that thinks about the future.”
His remarks were apparently aimed at his main rivals, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif, both of whom have served as prime ministers and are now in their seventies.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari, who was the foreign minister in the previous coalition government led by the PML-N, said “new politics” would have to be pursued to transform Pakistan into a modern nation.
“We will have to make old politicians sit at home,” he said. “Now the time has come that you all rest now.”
Describing “old politics” and decisions taken in backdoor rooms as the country’s biggest enemy, the PPP chief said Pakistan could not succeed until the public’s vote was not respected.
He also emphasised that the political parties should focus on serving the public rather than seeking favour with influential quarters, insisting that it was better to become the ladla (blue-eyed) of the people.
Commenting on his tenure as the foreign minister, he said that he had proved that youngsters performed when given a chance to deliver. “If you give us a chance (again), I promise you that I will never disappoint you, and I will serve you day and night,” he told the participants.
He said that if the PPP won the elections, it would increase the amount allocated to the Benazir Income Support Programme and would also introduce new social welfare schemes.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said he only believed in his politics and manifesto, adding that “this is why I don’t look at anyone for support”. He said “old politics” destroyed the country in 2018 and vowed not to accept the same again.
Expressing his confidence in the PPP’s readiness for upcoming polls, he said: “We have not backed down from contesting the elections and have complete faith in the people. We request other political parties to do the same: trust the people and not play the game that has been played with the country and its democracy for seven decades.”
He reminded the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that it was his party’s government that spearheaded the efforts to give the province its identity, changing its name from the erstwhile NWFP, or the North-West Frontier Province.
“We gave the people of KP their rights through the NFC (National Finance Commission) Award. We began the revolutionary Benazir Income Support Programme to support the poor women of the country, empower them and help them combat poverty,” he added.