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India also needs to address Pakistan reservations: Bilawal Zardari

Bilawal

News Analysis |

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stressed the need for a genuine and progressive voice in Pakistani politics in an interview with ‘India Today’ on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Saturday. This was Bilawal’s first interview with any Indian news media.

The interview was centred on Pakistan’s security challenges. Bilawal also expressed his political ideologies and his vision for a peaceful Pakistan. The interview started with the question about India and Pakistan’s relationship to which Bilawal responded by saying that the relation between the two countries isn’t the best at the moment, but despite the hostilities, the youth of the two countries understands that the only solution is peace.

Some political critics claim that the interview exposed the hypocrisy of the PPP who during their tenure banned YouTube and didn’t take any solid steps to ensure freedom of speech and press.

Bilawal stated that the betterment of relations between India and Pakistan depends on both sides. He advised the countries to take a median approach while addressing their issues. The PPP chairman asserted that Pakistan cannot be dictated to act and India should also address our reservations during dialogues. Bilawal alleged that India is not taking any concrete actions towards peace.

He took a strong stance against Kashmir and Modi, and stated that in the age of social media, you cannot hide anything, the people of Pakistan know what’s happening in Kashmir and they know about the Gujrat incident.

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“I feel like Pakistan needs a genuine, progressive voice. A progressive alternative to the populist, hate-driven politics of the two other mainstream political parties in the country,” Bilawal stated when asked about his political vision. He claimed that the PPP has always been the progressive force in Pakistan and believed it to be the only way forward.

Extrajudicial killings by the police, poor law and order situation in Sindh and the high poverty rate in Sindh is proof of the ineptitude of the PPP leadership according to critics.

Bilawal defended Pakistan against Donald Trump’s tweet by saying that Coalition Support Fund (CSF) is not aid; it is the reimbursements of the costs incurred by Pakistan in the fight against terror. He invited the US to start a meaningful conversation with Pakistan on countering violent extremism. Bilawal also justified that extremism is not Islam-specific, countries like Myanmar, India and America also have extremism. He stressed on eliminating extremism along with defeating terrorism.

The PPP chairman responded to a question about his inexperience in politics compared to his rivals, stating that when rivals can’t fault you on politics, they resort of schoolyard insults. He welcomed the opposition to his party PPP but wished that the opposition was on grounds of policies and not personal animosity. Answering a question about his personal life, he declared that he was eating, living and breathing politics.

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Bilawal lamented that he didn’t choose politics, politics chose him. He stated that he was carrying on the mission of his mother and that gives him solace. Bilawal ended the interview by stating, “We also have to look at our curriculum. We have to look at what we are teaching our children. Nobody should tolerate hate speech in society. We cannot tolerate prejudice, misogyny and hate. If we do not tolerate all this, there will not be any space left for extremists.”

He took a strong stance against Kashmir and Modi, and stated that in the age of social media, you cannot hide anything, the people of Pakistan know what’s happening in Kashmir and they know about the Gujrat incident.

Bilawal was praised by media and political experts for his interview which they believe to be mature and prudent. The experts believe that his interview showed the qualities of a good leader who is well versed with the on-going developments and doesn’t resort to any immature or childish statements.

Some political critics claim that the interview exposed the hypocrisy of the PPP who during their tenure banned YouTube and didn’t take any solid steps to ensure freedom of speech and press. Pakistan was declared as the second worst country for journalists during the PPP government of 2008 to 2013. They believe that Bilawal’s claims that PPP is a progressive party lack weight since their actions don’t back them up. Extrajudicial killings by the police, poor law and order situation in Sindh and the high poverty rate in Sindh is proof of the ineptitude of the PPP leadership according to critics.


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