Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is the flag bearer of Kashmiris struggle for independence and self-determination and has always expressed solidarity with suppressed Kashmiris beside highlighting Indian atrocities at the international level. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was always in close contact with the leaders of Huriyat Conference and during her meetings with them in her exile days, extended full support to the Kashmir Cause. Shaheed BB not only raised voice for Kashmiris but also kept alive the independent movement of Kashmiri.

The historical speech of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in United Nations is a hallmark of Kashmiris struggle for self-determination. He gave a strike call on February 5 against Indian Occupation in Kashmir and this was observed all over the world.

Since then, February 5th is being observed as a national holiday in Pakistan. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, in an OIC meeting held in 1994, made All Parties Huriyat Conference a member of OIC as sole representative of occupied Kashmiries.

APHC wants self-determination according to UN resolutions.

Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto during a press conference in New Delhi in 2001 announced that PPP policy is that is sole representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian Deputy Prime Minister of the time, L.K Advani did not agree with SMBB in this regard. SMBB during her visit to Delhi in 2003, demanded Kashmir Issue be resolved according to the UN resolution.

PPP has ruled Azad Kashmir more than one once. General elections are being held in AJK after 5 years on July 21. In the past, the real contestants were PPP and Muslim Conference but this time, PPP is facing competition from the ruling party, PML-N and PTI. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took part in the election campaign for the first time. His rousing speeches increased enthusiasm and fervour among the PPP workers and voters. The passion of party workers and leaders has increased prospects of PPP in the AJK elections. Bilawal Bhutto criticised the Nawaz Sharif Government in his public addresses boldly, that created a hustle-bustle in the power corridors of Islamabad. Bilawal Bhutto adopted the strategy to criticise Nawaz-Modi ties and made it the real issue of the election campaign. He raised important points in his speeches regarding the “close friendship of Nawaz Sharif with Indian PM Narindra Modi”:

He raised the following points to Nawaz Sharif; how many times has Nawaz Sharif highlighted the Kashmir issue during his 3-year tenure in government? In fact, the Federal Government kept mum over Indian atrocities. The Nawaz government overlooked recent violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir and even closed its eyes to the molesting of women and killing of Kashmiri youth. There is no place for the Kashmir cause in Nawaz Sharif’s foreign policy; Nawaz Sharif is only focusing friendship with Modi and not India. He is a businessman, not a national leader. In fact, the state terrorism policy of Indian PM Narindra Modi in Occupied Kashmir has silent support of Nawaz Sharif.

Bilawal has warned that the victory of PML-N in Azad Kashmir general elections would mean that people of AJK are supporters of Modi. Bilawal termed PML-N Government 3-year performance as “Naqam League (Failed League)”. He repeated the word ‘failure’ thrice during his Muzafarabad public meeting. These three words were in fact a comprehensive comment of PML-N government’s 3 years in power.

Targeting the federal government’s lassitude towards the Kashmir cause and poor performance, he said that Nawaz Sharif’s days are numbered. The chief point of Bilawal Bhutto’s speeches in election gatherings was his declaration that he will follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and mother, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and raise his voice at all forums for the freedom struggle of Kashmiris.

Chairman PPP pleaded to Kashmiris to vote for People’s Party and stamp symbol of Arrow just for the sake of their rights and a better future. He also cautioned that if they act in contrast to this, then it would reflect that they favour the Modi anti-Kashmir policy. People of AJK attended the PPP public meeting in large numbers and Bilawal Bhutto’s addresses were shown live on television channels, and newspapers gave special coverage to all these public meetings. Bilawal’s speeches were widely hailed and his message was spread in each nook and corner of Azad Kashmir. This also reflects that the role and stature of Bilawal in national politics has been recognised publically. The statement of Chief Minister (Punjab) during a function shows unrest among PML-N circles.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is clean, and not involved in any wrongdoing or scandals; he has demanded transparent accountability against corruption. He urged for the accountability of people involved in corruption. PML-N rulers are accused in Panama leaks, and because of this, Nawaz Sharif is not replying to Panama leaks allegations. Kashmiris have found an energetic and enthusiastic voice like Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto that can play important role in their struggle for democratic rights and self-determination.

It is expected that on July 21, the people of Azad Kashmir will vote in favour of PPP. Whatever the result today, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will play an important role in the general elections of 2018.

Here, credit must be given to the head of PPP women’s wing Faryal Talpur, who really worked hard to organise AJK election campaign on the grassroots level.