LAHORE, Oct 17: The Pakistan People’s Party has decided to launch ‘Go Nawaz, go to Jeddah’ campaign to counter Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s ‘Go Zardari go’ campaign in Punjab.

In a tit for tat response to PML-N’s plan, the PPP has selected Oct 19 for its anti-Sharifs rally in Sargodha to match its rival’s anti-Zardari rally in Dera Ghazi Khan.

A PPP leader told Dawn on Monday that his party high command had asked the Punjab leadership to brace itself for a befitting response to PML-N’s protest plan against President Asif Ali Zardari. He said the PPP leadership had been told by party office-bearers, especially from Punjab, not to take PML-N’s protest plan lightly and allow workers to counter it on roads.

“President Zardari gave a go-ahead to party’s Punjab chapter on Saturday and told it to make the campaign successful,” the PPP leader said, adding the PPP Punjab was mobilising its workers for the Sargodha show on Wednesday. “There has been a standing instruction for PPP provincial office-bearers to ensure that party’s gathering is big in size in Sargodha as compared to that of PML-N’s in Dera Ghazi Khan,” he said.

The PPP leader said the Punjab government might create hurdles in PPP’s protest plan. “The Shahbaz government may not entertain PPP’s request for the desired venue for the demonstration,” he said and added that his party would protest if its demonstration plan was disrupted.

PPP Punjab secretary general Samiullah Khan told Dawn that primarily rallies would have the slogan “Qadam barhao Asif Zardari qaum tumharey sath hai” (step forward Asif Zardari the nation is with you). He said the frustrated PML-N was targeting PPP leaders instead of public issues. “The Sharifs have been suffering from ‘Zardari phobia’ for the last three years. They should now come out of it and do constructive politics,” says Samiullah.

The Sharifs must be living in fool’s paradise if they think the anti-Zardari campaign will help them thwart the Senate election, he said. The PML-N should not forget that the PPP is capable of showing street power and the former has no match with the latter, he added.

According to PML-N deputy secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, party chief Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will lead demonstrations. Besides, DG Khan, the PML-N will hold rallies in Lahore and Faisalabad on Oct 26 and Nov 4, respectively.

The PPP will also hold rallies on Oct 26 and Nov 4 in cities yet to be finalised.


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