Amidst calls by the Taliban for implementing Sharia in Pakistan, PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday said efforts are being made to drag the country back to the “stone age” in the name of Islam.
Addressing a gathering during the closing ceremony of the two-week Sindh Festival, Bilawal also raised questions about the PML-N government’s peace talks with the banned Taliban.
“The Taliban want to impose the law of terror in the country but I want to tell them, if you have to live in Pakistan you will have to follow its Constitution,” he said.
“We don’t accept the law of terrorists,” said the 25-year-old scion of the Bhutto family. “Some people are trying to bring back the stone age era in the country in the name of Islam.
“The terrorists should think of the time when the whole nation will stand against them,” he said in Makli, around 100 km north of Karachi.
“We are Muslims and the terrorist groups should not try to teach us Islam,” said Bilawal, whose mother Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007 was blamed on the Taliban.
Bilawal recalled the operation against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in Swat Valley in 2009 while criticising the current peace process. He said the nation was fully aware of what the Taliban had done in Swat.
“Our country, our culture is in danger, our rulers didn’t tell us the truth, they tried to suppress us, they wanted to break us but we didn’t,” he said.
“You say, ‘let’s talk’, please do, but ask me what will happen after talks because I know the consequences,” he said.
The Pakistan government and the Taliban are engaged in preliminary talks to end militancy but many doubt the process will produce a lasting solution.
Bilawal, whose Pakistan People’s Party was routed in last year’s general elections but remains in power in southern Sindh province, has lashed against the Taliban and the peace talks in recent weeks.
He has spoken in support of military action against the Taliban across Pakistan though the PPP joined an All Parties Conference last year that endorsed the PML-N’s plans to hold dialogue with the Taliban.