ISLAMABAD, April 9 (APP) Following is the text of the speech of Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari delivered on Monday on the occasion of Pak-LOT one-day Summit held at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
“Bismillah Ir Rehman Nirrahim
I am not here to compete to be the leader of the youth. I am the youth. We are the youth.
I am sorry if I am going to disappoint you but I don’t give free laptops or free concerts.
I as well as all of the youth in Pakistan want to see a peaceful prosperous and progressive Pakistan.
To achieve this we must demand more from our older generation. To do so we must demand peace. I can relate more than any other politician in Pakistan to the agony of all those families who have lost loved ones to the scourge of terrorism.
My mother Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by Islamic terrorists within our midst.
So I know the pain felt by innocent Men, women and children who have lost loved ones. I feel the pain of our brave soldiers fighting on the front lines risking their lives so our generation can live in peace.
I feel the pain of all the children who have lost parents at the hands of these blood thirsty killers who seek to terrorize us into submitting to their warped interpretation of our peaceful religion.
There are some politicians who bury their heads in the sand and pretend this is not our war. I refuse to engage in this ostrich politics because unlike them I know what it is like to be a victim of terror.
They try and portray this as somebody else’s war. Tell me how can this not be our war if it has cost us Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. It was our enemies from within who strapped a bomb to a baby in the terrorist attack on SMBB on October 18 2007. What has this got to do with drones.
Our enemies within have blown up girls schools and are threatening the future of our sisters. They blew up a school bus carrying innocent children whose only crime was to seek an education. Some so called leaders call these monsters ‘our taliban’. They can by yours but they are certainly not mine.
We are the youth and we demand the truth. The People Government’s strategy of dialogue, deterrence and development is working. We have regained Swat from terrorists.
We demand our country’s honor to be protected from enemies within and from outside. I am proud that our government shut NATO routes and Shamsi base in reaction to an attack on our sovereignty.
Our parliament will demand foreign policy based on equality. Unlike the dictator before us who took orders from a single phone call and signed secret deals that compromised our integrity.
But we are equally outraged when our own citizens bring shame and dishonor to our country.
We condemn equally the butchery of our shia brothers in Gilgit, the murder of our people of different ethnicities in Karachi, the killings of our fellow Pakistanis in Balochistan and the persecutions of Christians, Hindus and other Pakistani minorities.
We demand justice for all victims. We refuse to be drawn into ethnic or religious conflicts by divisive extremists.
We all stand united. We are the youth of Pakistan. No matter our color, caste, creed or religion. We are Jinnah’s Pakistan. We want a Pakistan of opportunity. We want a Pakistan of prosperity. I just returned from India. Every small step taken on this long arduous road to peace gives us hope.
My generation is not burdened by my forefathers animosity. Our wounds are not as raw.
It gives me great pride that my grandfather gave Pakistan the world’s first Islamic bomb and my mother gave us our missile program. We are now equipped to defend ourselves.
But my generation wants peace not war. Must we invest in enough nuclear weapons to destroy each other a hundred times over. Isn’t once enough?
We would rather have the best schools not just the best tanks. We would rather have the best doctors and best nurses not just the best jets. We would rather our people were fed, clothed and sheltered not armed to the teeth guns locked and loaded ready to kill. We have grown up in a security state our generation will bring about a welfare state.
Our brave soldiers are still defending our borders. I pray for the victims of the Siachin tragedy who stood guard on the highest and most treacherous battlefield in the world. I look forward to the day where they can finally come home.
We are the youth of Pakistan. We are tired of being patronized. We do not want our futures mortgaged and to be burdened by your debt. We do not want to live in a divided Pakistan. We want to live in the Pakistan promised by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
We do not want to live in the ruins of Zia’s and Musharraf’s Pakistan. We must demand from our fathers now if we want the Pakistan we were promised.
So if all u want are free laptops and free concerts am afraid I can’t help you. If you are ready to stand up and demand the future we deserve then stand up and have your voices heard. Youth is no obstacle. Our future is at stake.