LAHORE: The PML-N has begun a fundraising campaign to finance the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s long march likely to be held by the end of the current month (March).
The leadership estimates that the protest plan would cost around Rs350m; however, it has set a Rs500m target for the fund collection, sources, privy to the development, say.
The PML-N parliamentarians, ticket-holders and office-bearers will be asked to donate as much as they can for the cause, the sources say.
Likewise, overseas chapters of the party will also be mobilised for the fundraiser while another source will be the fee imposed on the general council members for attending its meeting. The Central General Council of the party, comprising around 1,500 members, is scheduled to meet on March 4 in Islamabad.
Replying to a question about how much an MP usually donates on the direction of the party leadership, the sources recall that as per their knowledge, a maximum of Rs0.5m had been donated by any MP in the past.
The business community, which the PML-N claims to be its constituency, has been another and larger source for the party funds, they say when asked how the Rs500m target would be achieved.
A business tycoon had donated Rs200m for the last general election, the sources say, adding that some leaders, particularly those belonging to the federal capital and Rawalpindi division, might be asked to provide meals to the participants in the sit-in to be staged in Islamabad at the culmination of the long march.
A senior party leader, meanwhile, hints at some major changes to the central party leadership in the March 4 general council meeting. He claims that Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the central vice president of the party, may be given a more important assignment and the general council has been convened to endorse the decision.
In another development, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari phoned Hamza Shehbaz Sharif who was released on Sunday from the Kot Lakhpat Jail after spending 20 months in prison, said PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar.
Both the leaders discussed the current political situation and agreed on working together for the cause of democracy, Mr Tarar said.
The PPP chairman invited the PML-N leader to attend the next meeting of the PDM as well as March 2 dinner being hosted as part of electioneering for the alliance’s joint candidate for the Senate, Yusuf Raza Gilani, in Islamabad, he added.
Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2021