- PPP says six of its workers injured as a result of violence; holds caretaker govt responsible for incident
KARACHI: The second visit of Pakistan Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to Layari–a PPP bastion–was marred with protests as a sizeable group of protesters resorted to stone-pelting and sloganeering against the former ruling party.
The convoy was going from Baghdadi area to Juna Masjid when the stone pelting and protests started. The protesters also managed to smash the windshield of a vehicle. As a result of the violence, at least six PPP workers were injured. However, the PPP supporters also resorted to stone-pelting.
As the violence ensued, Bilawal escaped the scene by instructing his driver to reverse the car. The rally, however, had not been abandoned after the incident, and that it proceeded through an alternative route.
Nabeel Gabol termed the protesters as extremists. “20 to 25 “extremists” had attacked the rally with stones and suggested that the protesters had been sent by PPP’s political opponents,” he said, alleging that the administration didn’t try to curb the protests either.
Another PPP leader, Yousaf Baloch, told media persons that “those protesting belonged to the rival parties.
Bilawal was accompanied by former chief minister Murad Ali Shah, Sherry Rehman, Nabeel Gabol, Saeed Ghani, Waqar Mehdi, Khalil Hoath and other leaders of the party.
KICKSTARTING A POLITICAL CAREER
The PPP leader will be contesting the elections for the first time: kick-starting his political career from the National Assembly constituency in Lyari — NA-246 where his party has a stronghold.
After reaching Layari, the PPP leader addressed the gathering of his supporters. “I will fulfil all promises made in our manifesto,” said Bilawal.
“I will implement a programme through which people receive basic facilities on subsidised rates,” he added.
While addressing party workers at Lyari, Bilawal remarked that he is willing to turn seawater into drinkable water to ensure the provision of water for the people of Lyari.
“We will ensure water provision for all,” he said, adding that the party will also give interest-free loans to women from underprivileged backgrounds.
Later on, while speaking to workers at Ghaas Mandi, he remarked that his political struggle is starting from Lyari, adding that this is his first election but it will be the last for many politicians.
“We have to save Pakistan. We will work together to save Pakistan,” he remarked. “The people of Lyari have given many sacrifices for democracy. People of Lyari will support me in my mission.”
On Saturday, the former president’s son while inaugurating his election office in the area told people that their son would pull them out of difficult times. “I want to inform you that your son [Bilawal] is contesting the election from this area.”
“I will be working with you directly to redress your issues as my mother struggled for the rights of the people of this country and I will continue her mission,” he promised.
According to local media, Bilawal will use the latest hologram technology to address the public in Dadu.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for Bilawal Bhutto, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, remarked that the PPP’s rally was quite peaceful.
“Parties who engage in politics of violence won’t be able to stop our way,” he said. “We have always responded to violence by political action.”
Khokhar added that district administration, police, and rangers should play their part.
“ECP should take notice of this incident and issue directions to finish hurdles in way of politician’s election campaign,” he remarked.
The PPP held the caretaker government responsible for the disruption of Bilawal’s caravan in Lyari as Maula Bux Chandio, who has served as information adviser to chief minister Sindh, questioned why the caretaker government failed to ensure proper arrangements for Bilawal’s visit to Lyari.
Moreover, party leader Saeed Ghani remarked that the PPP workers wanted to move forward but weren’t allowed to do so by the protesters. “Some people even pelted stones at the PPP rally.”
He further said: “we won’t be played by such miscreants”.
Meanwhile, PPP leader Sherry Rehman took to Twitter and expressed her party will carry on with the election campaign despite the Lyari incident. She wrote, “Attempts to stop and threaten #PPP will fail. We will not let non-progressive forces hold Lyari, #Karachi and #Pakistan hostage. #PPP will continue #SMBB‘s mission under the leadership of Chairman @BBhuttoZardari. Lyari belongs to Bhuttos, says @VicePresPPPP @sherryrehman.”
Attempts to stop and threaten #PPP will fail. We will not let non-progressive forces hold Lyari, #Karachi and #Pakistan hostage. #PPP will continue #SMBB‘s mission under the leadership of Chairman @BBhuttoZardari. Lyari belongs to Bhuttos, says @VicePresPPPP @sherryrehman pic.twitter.com/QwYS0WRWYf
— SherryRehman’sOffice (@SRehmanOffice) July 1, 2018
On the other hand, former Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah said that “we know who is behind the incident.”