LAHORE: Fearing arrest of its co-chairman and country’s former president Asif Ali Zardari after his appearance in a court here on Monday, the Pakistan People’s party (PPP) has chalked out a plan to stage forceful protest in such a scenario.

At a meeting of the local chapter of the party held here on Sunday with Azizur Rehman Chan in the chair, it was decided to immediately mobilise the party cadres for the proposed protest and a four-member committee was formed for the purpose.

The party planned blockade of all major roads of the Punjab capital by arranging workers’ protests there in case of arrest of the party’s co-chairman.

Declining to make public details of their protest strategy, Mr Chan, however, said the protest would be “vigorous” as committees had been formed and duties assigned for each protest point. He warned the government that it would have to “pay a heavy price” for arresting Mr Zardari.

Faisal Mir, another PPP leader, said if Prime Minister Imran Khan managed to get Mr Zardari arrested through the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he (PM) would be laying foundation for the removal of his government.

He said the party’s protest demonstrations would become a launching pad for the opposition’s movement against the government to rid the masses of unprecedented price-hike and unemployment.

PPP central deputy information secretary Munawar Anjum said in a statement that Mr Zardari was like a thorn in the eyes of anti-democracy forces.

He warned Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information Firdaus Ashiq Awan to be careful while criticising the former president. He asked her to restrict herself to “browbeating” her cabinet colleagues instead of talking against the opposition leaders.

Meanwhile, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, spokesperson to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has said the Economic Survey has made it clear that the PTI government miserably failed in effectively running the national affairs.

He said since the PTI came into power, the country had been facing economic crises because of “disappointing” performance of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Senator Khokhar feared that the current financial turmoil could linger on for years if not taken care of by a “skilled team”. He said the coming budget would be a tsunami as the poor had already been deprived of one meal a day and now the middle class would suffer too.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2019