Lahore: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the main opposition party in Pakistan, has officially announced that its chairman and former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will be its candidate for the post of Prime Minister in the upcoming general elections, scheduled for February 8, 2024. This was revealed by the party’s media sources and confirmed by Bilawal himself on his social media page.
The announcement came after a meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) at Bilawal’s residence on Wednesday night, where the party’s election manifesto and campaign strategy were discussed. The manifesto, which was later released to the public, outlined a 10-point plan to address the issues of youth, women empowerment, employment, health, and education, and to bring social, economic, and political justice to the people of Pakistan.
The CEC meeting was attended by party president Asif Ali Zardari, also the former president of Pakistan and the husband of late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal’s mother. Zardari proposed Bilawal’s name as the prime ministerial candidate on behalf of the PPP, and the CEC unanimously endorsed it. The party also expressed its confidence in Zardari’s and Bilawal’s leadership and vowed to work together to defeat the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Bilawal, who is 35 years old, accepted the nomination with gratitude and humility and posted a message on his social media page, which he called ‘X’. He said, “With immense gratitude and great humility, I accept my party’s nomination for the Prime Minister of Pakistan post. On February 8, we will have to end the old politics of hatred and division. Unite the country around the new politics of service.”
He further said, “Our 10-point plan will serve the interests of many people and not just a few. Together we will defeat poverty, unemployment, and inflation. Together we will build a peaceful, prosperous, and progressive Pakistan.” He also appealed to the people to vote for the PPP and its allies in the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, a coalition of opposition parties aiming to challenge the PTI’s policies.
Bilawal, who has a degree in history and politics from Oxford University, is contesting the elections from the Lahore (NA-127) constituency, where he is facing tough competition from Shaista Pervez Malik of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the former ruling party, and the PTI’s candidate. Bilawal has been campaigning across the country, highlighting the failures of the PTI government and the achievements of the PPP government in Sindh province, where it is in power.
Bilawal also spoke to the media after the CEC meeting and expressed his concern over the law and order situation in the country, which he said had worsened since 2018 when the PTI came to power. He condemned the recent terrorist attacks in the country and said that the PTI government had failed to protect the lives and property of the people. He said that the PPP would take tough decisions to restore peace and stability in the country.
Bilawal also accused the PTI of being a puppet of the military establishment, which he said had tried to undermine the PPP’s popularity in the past by supporting the PML-N and the PTI. He said that the PPP was a people’s party and represented the common man, while the PML-N and the PTI represented the elite class. He said that the PPP’s manifesto promised to double the income of the people within five years, provide 300 units of free electricity to the poor, set up green energy parks in every district, provide free and quality education to every child, build 30 lakh houses and eradicate hunger at the level of union councils to ensure food security. He said that these promises were based on the PPP’s vision of a welfare state, inspired by the ideals of its founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and its leader Benazir Bhutto.