MULTAN -  Former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani lashed out at the party turncoats on Saturday, saying those joining Imran Khan’s ranks are opportunists, who joined him for the sake of their personal gains.

“If they could not bring any revolution while they were with us, how would they bring change after joining Imran Khan?” he posed a question while addressing the newly-elected office-bearers of PPP South Punjab here at a local hotel. A former federal minister in previous PPP government Firdous Ashiq Awan has recently quit the party and joined PTI a few days back.

Gilani maintained that the people, who had no ideology, always looked for shortcuts. Citing his own example, he said that he joined PPP in 1987 and the party made him member of parliament, minister, speaker of the National Assembly, Prime Minister and Senior Vice Chairman of Mohtarma. “Do tell me who is loser. What losses I have faced while staying loyal to the party? These shortcut people are the losers and they’ll achieve nothing,” he declared. He said that many of these turncoats had joined Q-League.

He said that the ruling party failed to implement its manifesto. “They claimed to end loadshedding in three months but failed. They could not end shortage of gas, they could not settle law and order issue. They have failed to achieve every goal they set in their manifesto,” he maintained. He said that the incumbent government used to declare PPP’s policy towards Taliban faulty but today they toed the PPP’s policy and launched military operation. He said that the PPP would, however, support government’s initiative. He declared that the PPP would participate in 2018 elections and sweep the polls.

He said that it was just PPP which exhibited wisdom in current political situation in the country. He added that the PPP declined to become a respondent in Panama case because it had the same reservations.

“Rest of all are doing rounds of courts. They should have worked sensibly. But there should not be insulting statements against judiciary or any other institutions. All institutions should work within their limits,” he added. He said that it was the duty of concerned institutions to ensure transparent elections in the country.

“Do you think transparent elections can be held in this situation?” he raised a question. He said that question would continue to arise on the transparency of the elections until electoral reforms were introduced by the parliament. He said that he had asked all parties to bring electoral reforms.

He said that the PPP was strongly opposed to corruption. “We need to strengthen the parliament and carry out legislations against this menace. We need to introduce a built in system to uproot corruption like that of the one in developed countries,” he suggested.

He said that the system would automatically uproot corruption irrespective of the number of cases like Panama. He said that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would soon start a tour of the country and meet with party’s new office bearers as he was waiting for the completion of reorganization process.

He added that the new office bearers after the reorganization of the party were the choice of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. “It’s like we were nominated as office bearers by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in the past. Today you are the choice of Bilawal. The motive behind reorganization is to induct new blood in the party ranks,” he said. Gillani declared that the new office bearers were appointed for three years and after this period their performance would be assessed and new office bearers would be appointed on the basis of performance. He said that some people were not in the hall. “We have not neglected anyone. Those who are absent are also our brothers and sisters and the party will benefit from their capabilities,” he added. He said that the PPP was the name of an ideology, a philosophy and a manifesto which could not be eliminated. “They separated Bhutto from us and they martyred Mohtarma, but they failed to kill our philosophy.

Even those, who worked with them, today say that Bhutto is alive,” he added.

He reiterated that the PPP acted upon the charter of democracy and implemented 85 per cent of the charter. “If the current government support us, we’ll get implemented the remaining 15 per cent,” he declared. He said that the PPP acted upon its manifesto and gave a big boost to the agriculture sector. “When we came into power, the farmers were suppressed. We increased the support price of wheat, exported wheat, rice and cotton and took the agricultural exports to $20 million. We brought a revolution in agriculture sector,” he claimed. He said that although the oil price was very high during PPP regime, the electricity tariff was much lower than the current one.

Recalling his government’s achievements, he said that the PPP turned the parliament into a unanimous platform, created Gilgit/Baltistan province, carried out FCR reforms, brought NFC award, launched Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan Package and offered the KPK its identity. He added that the PPP also brought a resolution in parliament for creation of South Punjab province which was approved by the senate.

“Today some ministers talk about the deprivations of South Punjab. We’re happy that they admit that there are two Punjabs and one of them is South Punjab. It’s credit goes to Zardari,” he claimed.

To a query, he said that the PPP did the politics of principles but it did not mean it supported Nawaz Sharif. “At least 27 cases are in different courts against me even today. We are following party policy and we toe party line,” he asserted.

Former Governor Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood strongly criticized the Punjab Government and said that the current budget was the budget of Shehbaz Sharif. “South Punjab will get nothing out of this budget like the previous year,” he claimed