LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday breathed fire at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for ‘favouring its friends’. “The PML-N rulers are looting the hard earned money of the poor,” he said in his address at Kissan Convention at Bilawal House. Accusing the government of robbing farmers, he said, “Farmers are committing suicides and setting their crops on fire because the government is not paying due return of their hard work.”

However, he did not mention any report of either burning or suicide. Bilawal, who was on a weeklong visit to the PML-N stronghold, highly praised the servicemen for their sacrifices in the war on terrorism but claimed that the ruling party handed over Lahore to terrorists.

“The rulers are ruining national economy at a time when our brave army is fighting the enemy. The people of Punjab are being punished as their province was being run by extremists, their sympathisers and friends of dictators. Such rulers are not less than a curse. Their policies are suppressing people,” Bilawal held.

Bilawal also rejected his father Asif Ali Zardari’s policy of reconciliation the former president claimed to have brought in during the PPP rule after 2008 general elections. “Reconciliation with the rulers, who are enemy of the masses and whose policies have harmed the national economy, is impossible,” he said.

In his speech, Bilawal mentioned his father once and took a 180-degree shift from his (Zardari’s) swipe at the military he took in last month address. The PPP chairman alleged that the PML-N’s favouritism in the name of power projects cost national economy.

But, he added that their (PML-N’s) mainstay, traders and businessmen, too have got annoyed by the imposition of withholding tax on bank transactions.

Slamming Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, Bilawal said he (Shahbaz) claimed himself to be Khadme Aala (the supreme servant) but he is neither khadim nor aala. “They pledged to get over power crisis before elections but minted money in the name of projects after coming into power,” he said talking about Shahbaz’ electioneering slogan on solution to power problem within six months.

He mentioned the Nandipur power project and questioned about the delay in making it operational and its cost surge from Rs 21 billion to Rs 81 billion. “Why was the FIA not probing this scam and where is NAB?” He also rapped PM Nawaz Sharif for backing his friends and family.

He went on: “Today the gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Petrol price in the international market came down but no equal relief was provided to the people. The government was pocketing Rs23 tax on petrol and Rs30 on diesel per litre.” He said the rulers must understand the time has changed. “And if the rulers cannot protect rights of the poor, they have no right to rule. The system of capitalists and feudalism will not work. It is fight for the rights of the poor which the PPP will win,” Bilawal added.