LAHORE: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday chalked out a strategy for Feb 27 long march against the Imran Khan government, directing two former prime ministers in his party —Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf — to mobilise the maximum number of workers from Punjab to make its ‘Islamabad-show’ successful.
In the meeting with the two senior party leaders at the Bilawal House here, Mr Bhutto-Zardari decided to hold a ‘workers convention’ in south Punjab ahead of the long march to mobilise the party workers.
“Propaganda against the PPP has started from various quarters before the long march. The selected government is targeting the PPP, but let me make it clear the long march will be held at any cost,” he said in the meeting.
Gilani, Pervaiz to ensure maximum participation from Punjab
“The government’s tactics in this regard are bound to fail. I can see the difficulties the PTI government is facing since we announced the long march on the capital,” the PPP chairman said.
He was briefed by Mr Gilani and Mr Ashraf, both members of the long march organising committee, on the preparations for the mega party event.
Talking to Dawn after the meeting, Mr Gilani said the long march would enter Punjab from Rahim Yar Khan.
“In Punjab it will move to Islamabad, with main stopovers in Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi. We are not sure how much time the caravan will take to get to the capital,” Mr Gilani said and added that one thing was sure the PTI government had been unnerved even before the march started.
The party was going to hold a convention of south Punjab workers at Multan in early February to mobilise the workers for the march, to be addressed by Chairman Bilawal and Asif Ali Zardari, he added.
About the possibility of any other mainstream opposition party joining the long march on the PPP’s invitation, Mr Gilani said: “The PML-N has already announced its anti-inflation march (on March 23) on the capital for the PDM platform. But since the PPP long march is starting a month earlier, it is leading the opposition on this front,” he said and added the PPP and PDM had the same stance against the PTI government.
Mr Gilani said the PDM had realised the PPP’s stance against resignations from assemblies was right, as it would not have been good for the parliamentary democracy.
About his absence from the Senate session that passed the crucial State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, Mr Gilani said the government announced summoning of the session late in the night, probably knowing well that he had to attend the Qul of late Noor Rabbani Khar scheduled for that day. He wondered how some ministers gave a spin only to his absence.
The PPP chairman on Saturday telephoned PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and inquired after him. The opposition leader recently tested positive for coronavirus.
The two leaders also discussed current political issues.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2022