ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will embark on his container at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam in Karachi on Feb 27 to begin an anti-government long march which will reach Islamabad in 10 days after travelling through 34 cities and towns of the country.
The PPP chairman on Tuesday gave approval of the route plan for the long march which will reach the capital city on or after March 8, according to an official announcement by the party’s Central Media Office.
The PPP, however, has not disclosed the final venue where the participants will stay after reaching the capital from all over the country. Sources in the party told Dawn that presently three places — D-Chowk, Aabpara Chowk and Faziabad Intersection — were under consideration of the party leadership for holding the final public meeting.
Bilawal to lead rally from Karachi on 27th; participants to pass through 34 cities, towns
Similarly, the sources said that though the party leadership had not yet decided the duration of the stay at the culmination point, a majority in the party was not in favour of turning the protest into indefinite sit-in.
A senior PPP office-bearer, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn that the leadership would decide the duration of the stay in Islamabad after seeing the response of the masses and assessing the situation. However, he said, many party leaders believed that the past history showed that indefinite sit-ins staged by political parties had never remained successful.
He cited the examples of two such sit-ins by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf against the last PML-N government and the last one by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl in October 2019 against the present PTI government.
The PPP leader said that traveling in container would not be a new experience for the young party chairman who had already used this well-furnished container during the election campaign in 2018 and during the recent public meeting in Malakand.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari had announced the PPP’s plan to hold long march on Feb 27 during a news conference in Lahore after presiding over a meeting of the party’s core committee on January 6, exactly a month after the announcement by the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) that it would hold a long march to Islamabad against price hike on the Pakistan Day on March 23. “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,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari had stated at the presser.
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 for the ouster of the Imran Khan government that had brought the country to the brink of an economic disaster and made the people poorer. According to the long march plan released by the party, the PPP chairman would have overnight stays in Badin, Moro, Sukkur in Sindh and then Rahimyar Khan, Multan, Sahiwal, Lahore and Wazirabad in Punjab before entering Rawalpindi on March 7.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2022