LAHORE - PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that dictator General Ziaul Haq promoted the culture of intolerance in society which keeps haunting the country even today.

“I want to see a Pakistan which has a culture of tolerance and love for humanity,” he said while addressing the participants of three-day Benazir Literary Festival at Alhamra Hall.

The festival kicked off with the screening of a documentary movie "Awaz-e-Jamhur". It was also attended by Benazir’s closest friend, Victoria Schofield. Senator Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Shehla Raza, Wosattullah Khan and Hassan Jafar Zaidi were among the other prominent personalities at the inaugural ceremony.

He lamented that the current atmosphere in the country was that of hatred and intolerance and it was because the former dictator killed the culture of tolerance and the right to raise questions.

“Such festivals spread a message of love and tolerance in society,” he observed.  He said a great leader was like a great artist who touched the hearts and souls of the people. A leader binds people together, he added. Bilawal said his mother also did the same by uniting the country. He believed that the artists and the politicians had the same function of reforming the society in a big way.

He said her mother Benazir Bhutto opted to land in Lahore after ending her exile to lead a democratic struggle against the Marshal law. “My mother was accorded a splendid welcome on her arrival here,“ he said, adding that Lahore was the most favorite city of his mother.

He said Lahore was city of artists which had been the abode of great poets like Iqbal, Jalib and Intizar Hussain. Art, culture and history run into the veins of Lahore culture,” he said.

Participants also observed one minutes silence for the Wali Khan University student Mishal Khan who was allegedly lynched to death on charges of blasphemy last week.