LAHORE – It has become a norm to decorate, rather, deface the important City roads, especially the Shara-e-Quaid-i-Azam, with plenty of banners, party flags and billboards on different occasions.

This is done to welcome leaders landing in the City most often from the federal capital by spending hundreds of thousands of rupees.

Gone are the days when such an arrangement was made to welcome the foreign dignitaries. Now, even a newly appointed party office bearer is accorded such a welcome in the City. 

In the case of the PPP, City roads become flooded with banners and billboards overnight whenever President Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur or the prime minister is on a visit to the provincial capital. One wonders where the money comes from for this publicity.

No single person can afford spending millions every month on such a bombastic arrangement to welcome the leaders.

The Lahorites witnessed plenty of banners, party flags and billboards on Shara-e-Quaid-i-Azam and around the Aiwan-e-Iqbal on the occasion of PPP’s Foundation Day on Friday. A similar scene was observed when Manzoor Wattoo came to Lahore a month back after assuming responsibilities as party’s central Punjab president. The entire route from Lahore Airport to Nasir Bagh was ‘decorated’ with banners spending millions of rupees. 

For ordinary persons, it is mandatory to seek PHA’s permission to display banners on City roads. But who would question the PPP activists for violation of rules who would term any punitive action by the authorities concerned a ‘political victimisation’. A fee is also charged from those who use the roads to display banners and erect hoardings for publicity.

PHA officials, when contacted, said that they do receive fee from ordinary people, but don’t charge any from the political parties. They had no answer when asked about the justification for this exemption.

When PPP’s Lahore general secretary Zekria Butt was approached for his version, he said many party workers spend the money out of their own pockets. They also write their names on the banners to get the credit for their effort, he said.                          –By MH