Bilawal: PPP to give stance on Operation Azm-e-Istehkam in APC

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses the press conference in Peshawar on July 8, 2024. — Screenshot via Geo News
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses the press conference in Peshawar on July 8, 2024. — Screenshot via Geo News

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday said his party will attend the government-sponsored All Parties Conference (APC) where all political parties will give their views on the newly launched Operation Azm-e-Istehkam.

He blamed the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government for committing grave mistakes in the past, which led to the resurgence of terrorism in the country.

“Terrorism is on the rise in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces once again,” Bilawal said at a news conference in Peshawar on Monday.

He added that the armed forces had successfully defeated the terrorists and dismantled their networks across the country until the PTI government made some “serious mistakes”.

Bilawal, the former external affairs minister, criticised the governments led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Centre and the JP, without naming him, for committing grave blunders that gave new life to terrorist organisations after security forces dismantled militancy networks.

Pointing out the lapses during the PTI rule, the PPP stalwart said the KP government became a facilitator of terrorists instead of eliminating them during the last 15 years.

“If your ministers, officials, former prime minister and former speaker of the House of Representatives admit that they paid terrorist groups, if KP resources are used to finance them, then how can we imagine fighting them?” he added.

He urged the KP government to play its role in tackling the problem of terrorism.

Bilawal expressed his thoughts saying, “Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took a good decision by organising an APC to give everyone an opportunity, including the PPP and other political parties, to give their stand.”

It is worth mentioning that the federal government decided to organise an APC “to gain the confidence of political parties in the newly launched Operation Azm-e-Istehkam” (a revitalised and reinvigorated nationwide anti-terror campaign) aimed at eradicating the terror menace from the country. However, the government is yet to announce a date for the upcoming event.

“When it comes to national security,” Bilawal said, “partisan politics should not be played.”

He clarified that the PPP will firmly support the country’s armed forces. “Whenever there is a need to engage in politics, we will do so, but we are in agreement on issues related to security.”

The PPP leader added that his party will attend the next APC and hopes that discussions will be conducted on “realities” rather than “rumours”.

Bilawal said that the mistakes of the past should not be repeated at any cost while taking decisions to address challenges related to economy, foreign affairs and security.

The PPP chief also urged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to take decisions on national issues by taking all allies and stakeholders into confidence.

He said his party has always asked the PML-N government to consider policies after holding consultations.

Bilawal expressed regret over the PML-N government’s failure to seek PPP recommendations for the federal budget despite both ruling parties promising to consult each other on an agreement to form a coalition government.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz assured them that they would consult with the allies before taking any decisions in the future.

He added that they want to get the country out of the crisis, but criticized the federal government for preparing a tax-laden budget that will increase the burden on the poor segment of society.

Bilawal said no government would be able to create fiscal space for a welfare state until financial relief is provided to the masses in the budget.