PESHAWAR: The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is set to stage a power show in Peshawar on its foundation day today (Tuesday) despite the deputy commissioner’s refusal to allow it to hold a public meeting.

Accompanied by Sindh information minister Saeed Ghani during a news conference here on Monday, PPP secretary general Nayyar Hussain Bukhari blasted the DC for not giving permission to the party to mark its 54th foundation day.

Party chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and senior leaders will attend the event.

“This is our fundamental right to mark the party’s foundation day,” Mr Bukhari said, adding that the DC had permitted the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to hold a public meeting in the same area a few days ago.

DC cites LG polls, security situation as reasons for decision

“If the PTI can hold the public meeting, then what is wrong with the PPP?”

The PPP leader said the Peshawar DC was the state’s servant and not a particular party’s.

He said the local party leadership had sought permission for the foundation day public meeting but the DC denied it.

“The party regularly organises the foundation day function in every unit of the federation,” he said.

The DC, according to the official letter, declined to entertain the request of the PPP to hold the public meeting for two reasons.

“In light of the ongoing local government elections 2021 and as per the code of conduct issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan for political parties, contesting candidates, election agents through a letter, your (PPP provincial information secretary) application cannot be entertained. Secondly, keeping in view the security situation, your application is regretted,” he said. Despite the permission denial, the party kept setting up the public meeting stage at Patang Chowk on the Ring Road. Also, its leadership cut the cake there in the evening.

On the occasion, Mr Ghani lashed out at the federal government for its ‘antagonistic attitude’ towards the Sindh government.

He termed Prime Minister Imran Khan “the most ill-informed” head of the government and said the federal government should not blame the Sindh government for the shortage of wheat, sugar, gas, and other essential commodities.

The Sindh minister said the shortage of fertiliser on the market was brewing and the farmers had to pay more, but the federal government would again blame the Sindh government for crises.

He claimed that the PPP was gaining popularity in Karachi and its vote bank was increasing.

Regarding unauthorised construction in Karachi, Mr Ghani said a commission had been constituted to regularise 6,000 illegal housing societies in Punjab and the same decision should be applied to Sindh.

He said the issue of unauthorised construction existed across the country, including Islamabad.

“The Supreme Court had imposed Rs1.8 million fine for unauthorised construction of a huge building on the Constitution Avenue in Islamabad but regularised the structure. The same criteria should be applied to Sindh as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said after a long struggle and unprecedented sacrifices, only his party could ‘pave the way’ for democracy in Pakistan.

In a statement issued by the party’s Media Cell here ahead of the foundation day, the PPP chairman said only his party’s manifesto and strategy could make the court a truly democratic and welfare state.

“The PPP is a revolutionary movement based on the ideology of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the philosophy of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and the struggles and sacrifices of many generations. Even in face of the most difficult circumstances, the PPP gave the country and the nation a rich strategic gift, including the country’s first unified Constitution, nuclear programme guaranteeing invincible defence and missile technology, provincial sovereignty, and agrarian and economic reforms,” he said.

Mr Bilawal said the PPP had also made Pakistan the hub of Islamic world and strengthened the Pakistan-China friendship.

“Today, I salute all jiyalas [workers], who sacrificed their lives for the cause of democracy, endured the hardships of imprisonment, deportation, and undemocratic forces, and also faced sponsored media trials,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2021

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