KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Thursday announced that it will kick-start the election campaign in Balochistan with a rally in connection with 56th foundation day of the party on Nov 30 in Quetta in the run-up to Feb 8 polls, eyeing an “aggressive campaign” in the largest province of the country.

The announcement came from the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who met office-bearers of the party’s Balochistan chapter at Bilawal House.

The hours-long meeting discussed prospects of the party in the upcoming elections in the province, potential candidates and areas of focus during the upcoming electioneering.

Calling it a “crucial meeting”, a statement issued by the Bilawal House said the PPP chairman also asked the Balochistan leaders of the party to mobilise workers, start preparations for polls and come up with a strong and complete strategy for the election campaign.

Party expects some leaders will join it before Quetta public meeting

The announcement of Nov 30 rally in Quetta is the first such move from the party after the announcement of Feb 8 as poll date.

The party sources said that the PPP was also expecting some key leaders from Balochistan to join the ranks before the Nov 30 rally and the event could also be used as a platform to announce their political decision before the elections.

“PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has issued directives for Balochistan workers and supporters to begin their preparations for the Feb 8 polls,” said the statement.

“The meeting of Balochistan chapter which was chaired by the PPP chairman also decided to stage a foundation day rally on Nov 30 in Quetta. The meeting reiterated that it would take part in polls in Balochistan with full force and preparation.”

Only on Oct 31, the former Balochistan chief minister and senior leader of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Jam Kamal met the PPP chairman at Bilawal House and supported the party’s demand for election schedule, which was finally made public on Nov 2.

Mr Kamal, considered a key political stakeholder of Balochistan, called his meeting with the PPP chairman to “address the uncertainty” and the challenges which are “beyond the capacity and mandate of the caretakers”.

The PPP Balochistan chapter meeting sounded confident that the party would win more seats than last polls in the upcoming elections citing the “history and services” of the party for the province.

“If any party has done anything practically to address problems of Balochistan, it is the PPP,” the statement quoted Mr Bhutto-Zardari as saying.

“Whether it is economic corridors under the CPEC or Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan (the beginning of the rights of Balochistan), it is always the PPP which has valued Balochistan and its geographical position in the region.”

Accompanied by his paternal aunt Faryal Talpur, who’s also the president of PPP’s women wing,

Mr Bhutto-Zardari was confident the coming polls would prove his assessment when the PPP would emerge as the majority party of the province.

He also sought suggestions from Balochistan office-bearers of the party for the election campaign in the province and directed them to finalise a strategy in this regard.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2023

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