ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari spent a busy day at Zardari House on Sunday, meeting party activists and office-bearers and receiving briefings about preparations for the anti-government long march scheduled for Feb 27.
Talking to the delegations, the PPP chairman said after an increase of Rs4 in power tariff, prices of petroleum products had now been raised by more than Rs3 per litre.
This was “economic murder” of the people committed by the present coalition government of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Mr Bhutto-Zardari said, adding that the PPP’s long march was aimed at saving people from inflation and economic crisis.
“Inflation and unemployment must end; it had become all the more necessary to get rid of the present government,” he said, adding that people would leave for Islamabad on Feb 27 from every corner of the country to hold Imran Khan accountable for the unprecedented inflation.
The PPP chairman said increase in prices of petroleum products after those of gas and electricity was tantamount to robbing people. The government, he alleged, had mortgaged citizens to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Pakistan’s decisions were now being made abroad.
He said Imran Khan would have to face the wrath of the people from Feb 27 for increasing electricity and petrol prices.
Those who called on the PPP chairman included Anwar Saifullah Khan, a member of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), deputy information secretary Asma Arbab Alamgir, senior leaders Syed Zahir Shah and Haji Dilbar Khan from PPP’s Diamer chapter, Engineer Naveed Iqbal, Nizam Din, Syed Imam Malik Shah and Sherullah.
After presiding over a meeting of the party’s core committee in Lahore earlier this month, Mr Bhutto-Zardari had announced that the PPP would start its long march against the PTI government on Feb 27.
“The deteriorating economic conditions have worried people, who are fed up with the incompetent and inept rulers and want to get rid of them at the earliest. Therefore, we have decided to launch a long march against the government from Feb 27. It will start from Mazar-i-Quaid (mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi),” Mr Bhutto-Zardari had told a press conference.
He said the PPP was entering the second phase of its protest immediately by holding rallies at the divisional level to show solidarity with farmers, who were running from pillar to post to get fertiliser for the most important wheat crop.
Replying to a question about the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) long march on March 23, the PPP chairman had said the alliance, of which his party had been a part, did not consult him about their protest plan so both the PPP and PDM were free to follow their respective strategies.
He said he was under pressure from his party to launch an anti-government drive at the earliest as the people could no longer wait and wanted the ouster of Imran Khan government that had brought the country to the brink of economic disaster and made people poorer.
He, however, said the more forces take to the streets against the government the better.
Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2022