LAHORE-Addressing party’s foundation day function at Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Friday, PPP’s central Punjab President Mian Manzoor Wattoo pledged to award party tickets purely on merit giving priority to diehard party jialas.

“Now, the jialas will not be asked to run the election campaign of big landlords; they would be the party candidates for the coming elections”, he pledged, adding that he would not accept any influence or do undue favour to any body in the matter of ticket distribution.

For the mediamen, covering the event, Wattoo’s assertion came as a big joke seen in the context of the political task he has been assigned by the party leadership. He has been asked to hunt on electables, majority of whom belongs to the feudal class, industrialists and business tycoons. It would be interesting to watch how many poor jialas get party tickets this time around.

In his eloquent speech, Wattoo made every effort to please the jialas through different means. “The PPP workers are matchless. There is no dearth of bold and dynamic activists in the party. I would move forward by taking along all party cadres”, he said.  

Manzoor Wattoo, also the federal minister for Kashmir Affairs, asked party workers to hoist party flags on rooftops of their houses from today in a warm up exercise ahead of the electioneering. 

 The PPP leader also offered his services to contest the election even from the most difficult constituencies. “Please pinpoint a constituency which is difficult to win; I would contest myself against the opponents”, he remarked in an attempt to impress the party workers by his leadership qualities.

“We would not allow any one to steal PPP’s mandate in the coming polls through proxy vote”, he averred, adding that the stage for elections has been set and PPP was destine to gain victory. 

He told party activists attending the function that he had worked out the election strategy and would be giving big surprises to them in election results from Punjab and Lahore. 

“Now as the PPP is celebrating its 46th foundation day, it has become the most popular and resilient party over the years. The dictators tried their best to suppress its cadres, but they perished in the process”, he observed.  Speaking on the occasion, Samina Khalid Ghurki said PPP would be celebrating its next foundation day after gaining victory in the coming elections. “We endorse party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s decision of entrusting a big responsibility to Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo in Punjab”, she said.

Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, Azizur Rehman Chan, Altaf Qureshi and Ch Ghulam Abbas also addressed the party workers on the occasion. In their speeches, these leaders highlighted the sacrifices rendered by the party founder, Z.A Bhutto and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for what they called the cause of democracy and rights of the downtrodden. They also lauded the reconciliation policy of their leader Asif Ali Zardari to keep the democracy on track. There was, however, no mention of providing roti, kapra aur makan to the poor in their speeches despite it being a very popular slogan of the party since its foundation.

A good number of party activists and district and zonal presidents thronged the venue as they kept chanting party slogans throughout the proceedings.