LAHORE - The mass mobilisation campaign of the PPP is in the doldrums following the current spate of terror which has shattered the sense of security of the citizens across Pakistan.

The security agencies on Thursday refused permission to a PPP rally scheduled to be held in Township, Lahore on Friday (today), forcing the party leadership to postpone the event. 

The fate of PPP’s Multan rally scheduled for next month is also unclear in the wake of suicide bombings at Lahore, Peshawar, Fata and Sindh. An application filed by party’s southern Punjab leaders with deputy commissioner Multan seeking permission to hold the rally has not been responded to as yet.

Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has plans to address the rally at Qasim Bagh Stadium on March 10 after Friday prayers. Though the leadership is anticipating a positive response from the administration but given the current security situation it is less likely to allow a mass gathering. The PPP also plans to hold more rallies in Punjab and KP to mobilise public opinion against the government.

“Security situation worsens whenever our leadership decides to have direct contact with the people through public rallies,” PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said yesterday. He moaned that PPP had never been given a level playing field to contest elections. “We hope our party gets conducive environment [for electioneering] in 2018 elections,” he said.

Talking to reporters in Lahore, Kaira formally announced to postpone Friday’s public gathering citing security reasons. “We have been denied permission by the local administration to hold the event,” he said, adding that though the jiayalas have never been afraid of security threats, but the leadership thought their lives were precious. 

The Nation talked to PPP’s central secretary information Ch Manzoor to know the fate of party’s Multan rally which is also likely to be postponed. “So far, it is intact,” he said. Manzoor was hopeful that party will get the security clearance for the gathering. ”The permission should be granted since it has been planned at a closed place (A cricket stadium) unlike the Lahore rally which was to be held in an open field,” he argued. 

Moreover, the PTI has also planned a series of protest rallies in Punjab in the days to come. It is yet to be seen whether or not it will alter its plan in the new situation.

PPP’s secretary information, however, believes that terrorists have never been a threat to the PTI leaders because of their affinity with the extremist ideology. “In 2008 elections, all right wing parties including the PTI, the PML-N and the JI ran their election campaigns without any fear of being attacked by the terrorists. The PPP, on the other hand, had to postpone its major rallies in Punjab due to security threats from the terrorists,” he observed.

Manzoor also supported a combing operation within the PML-N and the banned religious outfits allegedly enjoying covert support from the rulers, who, according to him, were not willing to stand against the terrorists. He was confident that there were people within the ranks and file of the PML-N who had links with the militant organisations.

 

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 17-Feb-2017 here.