Gilani urges supporters not to boycott elections

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Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday vowed to continue his political struggle, saying the abduction of his son was a conspiracy to derail polling process and urged his supporters not to boycott polls.

Talking to reporters after meeting PTI senior leader Javed Hashmi, Gilani said his family would continue their protest over kidnapping of Ali Haider, who was also contesting election for provincial seat from PP-200 constituency.

However, he said, they would not abandon their political struggle and their political campaign would continue for May 11 polls.

Gilani appeared shaken but composed. He said two of his son’s guards were killed in the attack, but he did not know whether his son was wounded.

“His two guards were shielding him, and they died,” said the former premier told media. “I urge all of my party supporters to remain peaceful and participate in the vote,” he said.

“The election is a national obligation and we will not boycott it,” he said.

The former PM said he was in constant contact with top officials of law enforcement agencies for recovery of his son, while he also talked to the president, army chief and ISI DG in this regard.

Gilani said he did not know who abducted his son, adding that no group or individual had claimed responsibility for the abduction so far.

The ex-PM said he could not rule out Taliban’s involvement, as there were threats to all PPP leaders.

Gilani complained that all former PMs enjoyed full security, while his bullet-proof vehicle had been withdrawn.

He said the democratic process must not be interrupted in any case.

Gilani said power must be transferred to the party which gained majority in May 11 elections and the transfer must be fair and smooth.

He also stated that they were not being provided level playing field, but such dastardly acts could not discourage them.

The PPP senior vice chairman demanded action against those responsible for security lapse.

On the other hand, PTI’s Javed Hashmi said such acts would not deter them from ensuring success of the going democratic transition.

He expressed his grave concern and extended sympathies to Gilani over the abduction of his son, saying it was a serious concern for all political parties.

Hashmi also conveyed sympathies from PTI Chairman Imran Khan, saying that PTI condemned the kidnapping of Ali Haider Gilani.