Govt days numbered, claim PDM leaders

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Former President Asif Zardari also addresses the gathering; Bilawal and Maryam Nawaz say Imran Khan has to go in the larger good of the country

Naziry Siyal/DNA

LARKANA: Various political leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement addressed crowds gathered at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Larkana to commemorate the 13th death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The 11-party Opposition alliance has once more asked Prime Minister Imran Khan “to step down” or face the movement’s long march to Islamabad with the aim to “dethrone him”.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that if by December 31, the premier does not resign, the jiyalas (party loyalists) will march down to the capital and “shove him off off his seat”.

‘You are mistaken if you think we will back off’ — Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the government and any naysayers who think the Opposition will back off, need only look to the Bhutto mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.

He recounted the struggles of his grandfather and his uncles, all who “sacrificed their lives” but “did not sway from their democratic beliefs”. “Look at Benazir Bhutto’s life, spent in the service of the people,” he said.

“Benazir is alive today in the hearts of everyone, and those who clashed with her, their names are forgotten. “Ziaul Haq’s grave lies unattended, and Gen Pervez Musharraf is living a life of disgrace abroad,” Bilawal said.

‘Running country not like managing cricket team’ — Asif Ali Zardari

PPP President Asif Ali Zardari in his address said running a country is “not the same as managing a cricket team”.

“This government will collapse on its own,” said Zardari. He challenged the government to hold elections and see who the people stand behind. Zardari said that the National Accountability Bureau has started to “blackmail” people.

“I said in the assembly on the first day — run the country or run NAB,” he said.

“There was not a single political prisoner in the PPP government,” the party president said. He said in the PPP tenure, prices of commodities were low. “We ran the country carefully, like raising a child,” he added.

Zardari said that when the rule ended and the PML-N came into power “they were welcomed”.  He promised to “meet everyone soon” when he feels better. “This government will not last any longer. A government of your choosing will come,” he said. The former president said that he had “removed Musharraf from parliament”. “What is Imran Khan, in comparison?”

“We can remove Imran Khan Niazi. We just need to change our approach,” he told the crowds. “We must fill up the jails and we are ready to do that,” Zardari said.

Maryam says PDM united, ‘only one man alone’

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz began her address in Sindhi much to the audience’s surprise. She thanked her hosts for their warmth and hospitality since her arrival in the city.

Maryam said it saddens her that Benazir Bhutto, the first female prime minister of the Muslim world, “had to lay down her life” during her struggle and for her beliefs. She said it is a pain that she too carries.

Maryam recalled how, on that dark day, Nawaz Sharif was among the first to be notified and how he had embraced PPP leaders and shared their grief that day.

She said she knows what it is to lose a mother. “The grief is still fresh from two and a half years ago”. “I still got to spend time with my mother but Bilawal lost his mother when he was still so young.”