ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party, which has been under severe threat of terrorist attacks, ended its poll campaign with a public meeting in Barakahu on Thursday evening.
Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who was to address the gathering, did not turn up because of security threats and went to his home constituency in Gujar Khan.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the meeting via video link.
Some 6,000 to 7,000 people attended the meeting which was also addressed by PPP candidate for NA-49 Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and other local leaders.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in his video address that the campaign of his party being obstructed by remnants of former military dictator Ziaul Haq, either by terrorism or conspiracies of institutions.
The address made no reference to the kidnapping of a son of former prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Multan earlier in the day because his speech had been recorded a few days ago.
“Followers of Zia are working against us to such an extent that they are shaking hands with terrorists,” Mr Bilawal said.
He criticised the PML-N and said running a bus service in Lahore was not a service to the people of the whole of Punjab.
He said people realised that a conspiracy had been hatched to make them slaves of a particular mindset. “We will foil the conspiracy with the vote of people on May 11. “Let us become a movement to defeat Zia’s followers in the polls. We will eradicate terrorism, unemployment and poverty by stamping the arrow (PPP’s election symbol),” he said.
Mr Bilawal said he believed that the people of Rawalpindi and Islamabad would support the PPP because of achievements of his party. “PPP united the nation 40 years ago. My father faced imprisonment and raised the slogan of Pakistan Khappay. (Zulfikar) Bhutto and BB (Benazir Bhutto) sacrificed their lives. We have to change the nation’s destiny and root out terrorism and intolerance from society,” he added.
A source in the PPP told Dawn that Raja Pervez Ashraf wanted to attend the Barakahu gathering, but some security officials had advised him not to go to Barakahu because of severe security threats.
A PPP leader said Faisal Sakhi Butt, a local PPP leader and candidate for NA-48, led a procession which after passing through different areas was to turn into a public meeting in Blue Area. But the plan for the meeting was put off also because of security threats.
“Faisal Butt was told on telephone that the rally could be attacked,” said a source close to the PPP candidate.