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LAHORE: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) pins high hopes on the party chairman’s first visit to the provincial metropolis after the formal launch of the party’s election campaigns for the July 25 vote.

As per the schedule, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will enter Lahore at Thokar Niaz Beg on Thursday (today) evening. Taking the Canal Bank Road, his cavalcade will turn to Maulana Shaukat Ali Road from the Jinnah Hospital intersection and travel up to Kot Lakhpat through Peco Road and from there it will reach Kasur via Ferozepur Road.

At least 20 reception camps are being set up by various PPP ticket-holders and leaders along the 30km-long route of the party chairman’s cavalcade in the city. Animals will be sacrificed as sadqah at some of these camps.

Acting secretary general Osman Malik says Lahori culture will be on display during the all important tour of the chairman amid bhangra performances by jiyalas (diehard workers) to the drumbeats played by drummers who have especially been arranged for the purpose.

“The tour will be a harbinger of the party’s victory as Bilawal Bhutto is stepping in (Lahore) with the promise of accomplishing BB Shaheed’s mission and an election manifesto that pledges due rights to every segment of society,” Malik says.

“The educated class is impressed by the future plan the party chairman is unfolding to the nation and that’s why he’s being accorded a warm welcome wherever he is going during the election campaign,” he adds,

Responding to a query, the PPP leader says security of the chairman is a big concern for them as the law-enforcing agencies have advised that Bilawal Bhutto should avoid exposure to the crowd through the window or sunroof panel of his vehicle as the PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif did during the party’s July 13 rally.

However, Malik says, the chairman will address the workers at the camps wherever it will be considered safe.

During the joint meetings of Punjab and Lahore leadership of the party, he says, the office-bearers and ticket-holders have been given certain targets for mobilising the workers to accord a warm welcome to the chairman because “the tour will definitely impact the politics all over central Punjab”.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2018