Ex-president Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday called Balochistan the “heart of Pakistan”, lamenting that the view was not shared by Islamabad or the other provinces.

He made the remarks while addressing a rally in Quetta to mark the party’s 56th foundation day, campaigning to improve its prospects in the province in the run up to the general elections.

“Pakistan has everything. And Balochistan is the heart of Pakistan. Unfortunately, Islamabad does not see that Balochistan is the heart. The other provinces do not see it [either],” he lamented.

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“But we see that Balochistan is the heart of Pakistan. And it is very important to win over this heart. Without winning over the heart of Balochistan, we cannot fix Pakistan.”

“There is much grief […] in Balochistan and we need to address that. We tried to do it in our time but it was not enough,” he said, adding that PPP wanted the people of Balochistan to take ownership of their land and resources.

He said that he would ensure water was made accessible for the people of the province. “Pakistan becomes an export country when Balochistan has [access to] water,” he said.

“We have formulas available on how to develop Pakistan, how to strengthen Balochistan, and how we have to serve you,” he added.

Commenting on his son PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the ex-president — in an apparent slip of the tongue — said, “My son, by becoming the youngest prime minister of Pakistan, raised Pakistan’s honour and flag.”

During the previous tenure of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, Bilawal served as the foreign minister, the youngest to do so.

“Everyone knows him now. Some knew him because of his mother, some people knew him because of his father and some knew him because of his grandfather but today they know him because of his own identity,” he said.

“In all seasons and at all times, we have to support him […] we have to transfer what we know […] we want to make Bilawal the leader of the youth,” he said.

“We will redefine Pakistan, we are not weak, you are not weak,” he said as he wrapped up his speech.

Following reports of differences between the top two leaders, party chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari has called for “burying” politics of hatred and division in line with the vision of his father Asif Ali Zardari’s reconciliatory politics.

“We have to do politics wherein we should think about unity and not of division. The PPP wants to start a new kind of politics in the country,” Bilawal said while addressing the public rally.

“PPP is fighting against inflation and poverty due to which people are suffering. The old style of politics is based on hatred, division, and revenge. The country’s youth needs to bury such politics,” the PPP chief added.

In the same gathering, Bilawal also fired a broadside at his political rivals saying that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is now known as the “mehangai [inflation] league” in the country.

“People know that they are showbaz [big mouth] of politics,” the PPP chief added.

Bilawal said Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the PML-N wanted to roll back the provincial autonomy granted under the 18th Amendment.

“They want to occupy the resources of the provinces.PPP will not let this conspiracy succeed.”

Bilawal also announced giving a surprise in the February 8, 2024 general elections saying a jiyala [PPP worker] will become the country’s new prime minister.