LAHORE, Feb 13: Pakistan People’s Party workers wanted the party chairman Bilawal Bhutto’s longest stay in the Punjab capital to be more eventful, wishing a closer interaction with him and President Asif Zardari.
On Wednesday, President Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto left for Karachi after their six-day stay here.
Some PPP activists Dawn spoke to were of the view it would have been better had Bilawal addressed a public gathering in Lahore.
“We could not feel the presence of our chairman in the city because the Bilawal House at Bahria Town was not open to workers,” a diehard PPP activist from Lahore said, adding apart from some party office-bearers and legislators invited from some districts of Punjab to the Bilawal House for ‘mere introduction’, same old faces were seen there.
“So their (Zardari and Bilawal’s) presence in Lahore made no difference as far as party workers are concerned,” he said.
“Even if Bilawal had security concerns, he could have addressed the party workers through tele-conferencing from Lahore’s Bilawal House, giving them a feel that their chairman is in their city,” another senior party worker commented.
He suggested since Bilawal House was a spacious place, it was not a bad idea to hold a party convention or public meeting there. “Both President Zardari and Bilawal will have no security issue then,” he added.
The Sharif brothers, who during previous visits of President Zardari ‘absented themselves’ from the city, this time preferred to be there.
“As the general elections are approaching President Zardari or Bilawal should have challenged the PML-N leadership in their stronghold (Lahore) to kick-off the party’s election campaign during the visit,” a PPP MPA from Punjab said requesting anonymity.
He said at a time when Nawaz Sharif and leaders of other parties were holding public meetings in the country, the PPP leadership, especially the president and Bilawal were confined to ‘indoor’ meetings only. “Its time to come out in the public,” he suggested.
During the PPP leaders’ stay here, party office-bearers and legislators from Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sargodha division met with Bilawal Bhutto.
During these meetings, the PPP office-bearers and legislators were reportedly introduced to Bilawal. They sought ‘funds and jobs’ from President Zardari to show better performance in the coming elections. On Wednesday, former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani also visited the Bilawal House and called on the president and his son.