Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday invoked Narendra Modi to launch a scathing attack on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, accusing him of back-pedalling on the Kashmir issue because of his “friendship” with his Indian counterpart.
Bilawal made the remarks while addressing a rally at Kotli in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he kicked off the PPP’s campaign for upcoming elections to the local assembly. The PPP has been in power in PoK since 2011.
He repeatedly referred to Sharif, the head of the PML-N party that is in power in Islamabad, as “Modi ka yaar” (Modi’s friend) during the speech and said the PPP would always back the Kashmiri people.
“Whenever I talk about Kashmir, Modi Sarkar and the Indian media start propaganda against me, our pictures are burnt, our website is hacked. Why? Because they know the voice of a Bhutto is heard round the world,” Bilawal said.
“Let us all come together to defeat Modi’s friend Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif’s defeat will be Modi’s defeat and the victory of Kashmir,” he added.
The PPP lost power in the 2013 general election and the party currently rules only one of Pakistan’s four provinces, Sindh. Bilawal is the party’s nominal chief while the real power is wielded by his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari.
Bilawal accused Sharif of keeping silent on the Kashmir issue since the PML-N came to power three years ago. He said Sharif never spoke about alleged atrocities by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. “I will inform the world about the oppression of Modi Sarkar,” he said.
He further accused Sharif of letting his national security and foreign policies be influenced by his “business interests”.
Bilawal also demanded the resignation of Sharif over the revelations in the Panama Papers leaks. “You must step down until the investigation of the Panama Papers leaks is completed. If you are cleared, you can return to the office of Prime Minister,” he said.
The leaks of documents from a Panama-based law firm showed that 220 Pakistanis, including Sharif’s two sons and a daughter, own offshore assets. Sharif has said a judicial commission will probe these allegations.