KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday announced the launch of its more than month-long Awami Rabita Muhim, or mass contact drive, as part of the party’s anti-government movement to begin from Karachi on Oct 18. The drive will conclude on Nov 30 in Azad Kashmir which would also be the 52nd anniversary of the opposition party.

Speaking at a press conference at Bilawal House after concluding session of the party’s core committee, senior PPP leaders said that there was a consensus among the workers and the party that they would not become part of any sit-in protest in Islamabad called by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), but offer every possible support to the protest and would carry on their own campaign against the government.

“The core committee after much deliberation has chalked out a detailed plan for activities across the country that would be led by chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and would continue for over a month,” said Nayyar Hussain Bukhari flanked by other senior leaders — Qamar-uz-Zaman Kaira, Nafisa Shah and Maula Bux Chandio. “The PPP respects and gives due regard to maulana’s [JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman] plan. We have also assured our support in all terms to his protest. Our Awami Rabita Muhim was planned months ago and we have only finalised it today with a schedule of activities in different cities of the country.”

‘PPP respects and gives due regard to maulana’s plan’

He said the PPP would launch its drive from Karachi on Oct 18 to mark the anniversary of the Karsaz carnage, the second such rally would be held in Tharparkar on Oct 23 before carrying the campaign to Punjab on Oct 26 when it would organise a rally on the Punjab-Sindh border in Kashmore.

“The PPP chairman would make detailed visits of southern Punjab during the campaign and would address rallies in different districts. After completing his tour of Punjab, he would travel to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the same message. The final session of the drive would be held in Azad Kashmir when the PPP would organise a rally in Muzaffarabad on Nov 30 to mark the 52nd anniversary of the party,” he added.

He said the PPP believed in power of the people and principally it did not support the idea that any elected government or the prime minister be thrown out only on the basis of protests held in the capital because it would set a negative trend. But unfortunately, he said, this “puppet” government had eliminated all such options one after another, leaving street protests and sit-ins as the only options for the political parties.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2019