What is Bilawal Bhutto doing in Lahore?

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Politics on Monday, January 11, 2016

LAHORE: In what appears to be his second trip in six months unaccompanied by his father Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is in the provincial metropolis on a four-day visit reportedly to oversee Punjab party affairs.

According to party officials, the chairperson will hold high-level meetings of the party’s central and south Punjab chapters to analyse PPP’s poor performance in the recently-held local government polls.

"As party chairman, Bilawal is free to travel anywhere," said a party spokesman, when asked what Bilawal's Lahore visit will entail.

The chief purpose of Bilawal's visit to Lahore, which began on Friday, is to meet party leaders from central and south Punjab chapters and address a gathering at the Lahore High Court (LHC) Bar. He is accompanied by sisters Bakhtawar and Aseefa.

'Onus lies on all of us'

Speaking at the LHC Bar on Monday afternoon, Bilawal said it was the duty of every individual and institution to play its part in strengthening democracy.

"Collectively, we are all responsible for our nation's failures," the PPP chairman said

"The politicians have made mistakes, the establishment has made mistakes ... the judiciary has also made huge mistakes," he said, lauding the role played by lawyers to restore democracy in the country.

The country has not had a woman Supreme Court judge in the 21st century, he deplored.

Bilawal is expected to meet party ticket-holders to discuss PPP's performance in LG polls on Monday evening.

The PPP suffered a humiliating defeat in NA-122 and PP-147 as its candidates could bag around 800 and 700 votes.

Mass wedding

Attending a mass wedding ceremony organised by the Ameer Begum Trust at the Bilawal House here on Sunday, Bilawal criticised the Rs165 billion Orange Metro Train Line project, saying it shows the Shahbaz Sharif government in Punjab has set its priorities wrong..

“The government has forgotten the real problems of the people and is spending huge funds on a colourful train project and roads. It is not concerned about the plight of the masses who are finding it hard to make both ends meet,” he said at the time.

Visit to the Taseers

On Saturday, Bilawal visited the residence of slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer to participate in the birthday ceremony of his son Shaheryar Taseer.

Accompanied by sisters Bakhtawar and Aseefa, Bilawal greeted Shaheryar on his birthday and discussed political matters. Only select friends and family members were gathered on the occasion, Dawn newspaper reported.

PPP Punjab leadership has earlier said that the chairman needs to focus attention on ignored and disgruntled workers in the country’s most important province, where several key disgruntled leaders of the party have shifted their allegiance to other parties.

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