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Benazir devotees miss a monument

December 26, 2012

— File Photo

RAWALPINDI: Local PPP has bedecked Liaquat Bagh’s outer walls with party banners and posters to mark the fifth death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto but what die-hard PPP workers find missing is a monument to their slain leader.

Central leaders of the ruling party may face uneasy questions when they arrive to address a big rally planned on the occasion at the politically historic park on Thursday.

“Every anniversary we come a long way to Liaquat Bagh to pay tribute to our leader but where do we do that? There is no place to revere her,” observed Shakil Azmat, a PPP activist from Attock, surveying the poster-bedecked scene.

“All that, sorts of, marks the spot where she fell to assassins’ bullets is a dusty portrait of her put up by a worker,” he told Dawn.

Malik Mazhar, who used to energise party rallies with his slogan chanting, agreed with his angry party colleague from Attock. He said PPP’s failure to raise a monument to Benazir amounted “to washing away the memory of BB”.

“It hurts,” he added.

“How can we expect our leaders promoting her vision when in the five years that the party has been in power they could do nothing to keep her memory alive?”

On the occasion of the first death anniversary of Benazir in 2008, the PPP-led federal government had promised the Rawalpindi PPP “a mega development package” for the city but nothing came of it.

Perhaps the multi-billion flyovers and tunnels constructed by the Punjab government, run by the rival PML-N, close to the Liaquat Bagh make the PPP’s “failure” look larger to its workers.

Disheartened by his leaders “failure”, Mazhar has plans to collect donations from PPP workers to build the dream monument for their dear slain leader.

“You know PPP came to power at a time when the whole world was submerged in severe financial crisis. Our government faced the challenge but the package for Rawalpindi could not materialise in the situation,” explained Amir Fida Paracha, president of the city PPP.

But the explanation does not seem to have cut any ice with the party workers who feel “the central leadership of PPP is just not bothered”.

Rawalpindi PPP information secretary Shujaat Haider Naqvi however disagreed with them.

“There is no space for raising a monument of size at the place. It is too narrow,” he said about the spot on the busy road along the Liaquat Bagh where Benazir was assassinated on December 27, 2007, just weeks before schedule general elections in the country.