LAHORE-Music, traditional dances and muttering on the prayer beads – all go together when the young PPP chairman sits on the ground in a Balochi style attending workers’ conventions at the Bilawal House.
He also wears a traditional Balochi turban, the one his father once wore on his wedding day. A few would know that Asif Ali Zardari is a Baloch with Seraiki as his first language.
The evenings at the Bilawal House are even more colourful. Dholak, sarangi and other musical instruments enthral the jiyalas as they amuse them with Sindhi, Seraiki, Pushto and Punjabi songs. Bilawal also sits among them and there is no end to selfie euphoria. Leaders and jiyalas enjoying together the musical nights is a new phenomenon in PPP’s history.
He also does something which was peculiar to his slain mother Benazir Bhutto. She was the only woman politician who would hold prayer beads in her hand while chairing party meetings and on other formal occasions.
For the first time in his speeches, Bilawal shows his allegiance to his two maternal uncles, Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Mir Shahnawaz Bhutto. Before this, these two names would rarely find a mention in the speeches of PPP leaders. He calls them martyrs. This is to refresh the memories of the party jiyalas who have been emotionally attached with the Bhutto family since years. Then he also mentions his mother and maternal grandfather. “Martyrs never die. They are still with us”, he says.
“I am grandson of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, son of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and don’t forget that I am also nephew of Shaheed Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Shaheed Shahnawaz Bhutto.”
This is how he tries to revive the dying spirit of fighting for the party cause in the heart of the party activists who feel isolated after the assassination of their leader Benazir Bhutto. They showed their resentment against the new leadership by not coming to the polling stations in 2013 general elections, especially in the Punjab.
On Friday, Bilawal addressed the party leaders and activists from South Punjab. He lashed out at the Nawaz League for its inaction against terrorists.
“I am fed up with what’s happening. NAP has failed and Takht-e-Raiwind is not ready even to talk against terrorists, leave aside fighting against them,” he said, raising the slogan: “Go Nisar Go”. He warned that “Go Nisar Go” will change into “Go Nawaz Go” if all the four demands were not accepted before December 27, the martyrdom day of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
The PPP chairman said Shaheed Mohtarma laid down her life fighting the terrorists, but Takht-e-Raiwind and its cronies were afraid of even talking on this issue.
Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, former prime ministers, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah, MNA Faryal Talpur, Senator Sherry Rahman, PPP South Punjab President Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood, General Secretary Natasha Daultana, Information Secretary Shaukat Basra, PPP MNAs, MPAs and senators were also present on the occasion.
He also talked about unequal distribution of resources among the federating unites, alleging that Orange Line project was being funded from the funds meant for the smaller provinces. He said these funds should be spent on health, education and eliminating poverty and not on lavish facilities. Then he linked his argument with the old PPP slogan: “Maang raha hai har insaan, roati, kapra aur makaan.” He said this slogan was still relevant in the preset-day Pakistan.
The other day also, the PPP chairman said that key decisions were concealed from the Balochi people who were gradually losing faith in democracy. He pledged to restore their confidence in the democratic system after coming into power. Expressing his optimism about PPP’s victory in the next general elections from Balochistan, he said his party would nominate a Baloch as chief minister. The present PML-N government in Balochistan, he said, was more loyal to Takht-e-Raiwid than to the Balochis. He also alleged that some politicians from Balochistan were making secret deals with Nawaz Sharif for personal interests.