The political rivalry between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has intensified, with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari taking a dig at PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for allegedly avoiding a debate challenge.
The verbal sparring between the two parties has escalated as they vie for political dominance in Punjab in the lead-up to the upcoming polls scheduled for February 8.
In a social media post, Bilawal expressed disappointment that Nawaz Sharif had not accepted the invitation for a live debate on prime ministerial candidates. He accused Nawaz Sharif of being too cowardly to face him in a debate and provide the people of Pakistan with an opportunity to make an informed choice on election day. Bilawal had earlier challenged Nawaz Sharif to engage in a debate akin to presidential and prime ministerial debates held in other countries.
Responding to Bilawal’s challenge, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif dismissed the proposal, suggesting that Nawaz Sharif should have been invited to inspect Sindh instead. In a swift response, Bilawal accepted Shehbaz’s challenge and invited him to visit various locations in Sindh, including Karachi, Gambat Tehsil of Khairpur District, and Tharparkar.
Bilawal proposed Gambat as the venue for the debate, emphasizing the quality of hospitals in the region and highlighting that treatment there is provided free of charge. He also mentioned the Thar coal project, emphasizing its positive impact on providing cheap electricity to Karachi and Faisalabad.
The PPP chairman suggested that the debate could take place outside the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) in Karachi, pointing out that the facility had treated over 84,000 patients from Punjab last year. Bilawal urged Shehbaz Sharif to confirm a date and location for the debate and not evade the challenge.
The exchange of challenges and counter-challenges reflects the heightened political competition between the PPP and PML-N, with both parties seeking to secure support in the crucial province of Punjab ahead of the upcoming elections.