Indo-Pak Peace Should Not Be Held Hostage by Kashmir: Bilawal

Indo-Pak Peace Should Not Be Held Hostage by Kashmir: Bilawal

Pakistan's 'Gen Next' politician Bilawal Bhutto Zardari today said the peace process between India and Pakistan should not be held hostage by the Kashmir issue.

Referring to his recent statements on Kashmir, Bilawal, 26, said that people in India should not misunderstand him over his remarks on Kashmir.

"Please don't misunderstand our (PPP) stance. When I talk about Kashmir it does not mean we want the peace process between the two countries to be held hostage by the Kashmir issue," Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairperson said at his first public rally, billed as his formal political debut.

"But definitely in Bhuttoism the Kashmir issue will only be resolved according to the wishes of the Kashmiri people," Bilawal, who is being portrayed as the future Prime Minister of Pakistan, said.

Bilawal's comments came days after he vowed that Pakistan will take back entire Kashmir.

He said his recent remarks on Kashmir had stirred a sharp reaction in India.

"Why because when a dictator like Musharraf speaks about Kashmir India says ISI is involved when a Mullah speaks they say terrorists are involved. But when a Bhutto speaks they know it is the voice of the people," he said.

"When I spoke about Kashmir, India spoke about Baluchistan. The Indian media launched a propaganda against me."

Bilawal also hit out at the foreign policy of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) government, saying "We have a prime minister who is eager to go and attend the oath taking ceremony of (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi this is our foreign policy".

"We have a prime minister who went for the UN session and came back like a cat after meeting only with Joe Biden while Narendra Modi met Obama," he said.

Bilawal, who has announced plans to contest next general elections in 2018, heads PPP which officially wants good ties with India.

His mother, former slain premier Benazir Bhutto, was twice elected as prime minister while his maternal grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who founded the PPP in 1967, also served as prime minister in 1970s.


In a hard-hitting speech, Bilawal alleged that former military dictator Pervez Musharraf and a hidden agenda of those who do not want democracy in Pakistan were behind the assassination of his mother Benazir Bhutto.

He said that "these hidden hands also want to turn Pakistan into Iraq and Syria" and warned that "the day is not far when the Tehreek-e-Taliban will be allowed to open its office in Peshawar in the name of religion."

"For years a number of events have taken place according to a script prepared by these hidden hands who don't want true democracy in Pakistan," he said.

"Pakistan's future only lies in the ideology of Bhuttoism and the youth," he said.

Former Prime Minister Benazir was assassinated on December 27 in 2007 shortly after she addressed a political rally at the Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi.

He also lashed out at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, saying his ongoing protest rallies "are also part of this hidden agenda".

"These are people who are controlled by the umpire's finger," Bilawal said.

The Sindh government declared a public holiday today and half of the city remained shut down for the rally as law enforcement personnel were deployed throughout the city for snap checking.

On October 18 in 2007, Benazir had returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile and was attacked in twin blasts at Shahrah-i-Faisal.

Political analysts say that Bilawal made a calculated decision to hold the rally on October 18 to launch his political career in a big way and present himself as the true successor to the Bhutto's political dynasty.

Militant groups had attacked Benazir's rally, killing about 140 people and injuring over 400 others.

Around 40,000 persons were deployed to provide security cover for the rally at the Bagh-e-Jinnah adjacent to the Quaid-e-Azam Mausoleum in Karachi keeping in view the security threats to Bilawal and other central leaders of the party.

The Sindh government declared a public holiday today and half of the city remained shut down for the rally as law enforcement personnel were deployed throughout the city for snap checking.

His father, former President Asif Zardari also addressed the rally and attacked Khan, saying, "Soldiers are being killed as they are fighting militants and you (PTI) are playing a game in Islamabad."

"We have to save Pakistan today for a bright future tomorrow," Zardari said.

Besides Zardari, former Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervaz Ashraf also addressed the rally.

The PPP, which is the ruling party in the southern Sindh province, claimed that nearly one million people showed up for the rally the figures given by the security agencies and Sindh police differed drastically.

The Sindh police put the attendance at 120,000 while the security agencies and home department put the figure at 100,000.

The rally is also seen as significant as for years now the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which represents the Urdu speaking population has held massive rallies that other parties have not been able to match in numbers.

Last month, Imran Khan also held a rally at the same venue, Bagh-e-Jinnah, that attracted a very big crowd.

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