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Sit-ins if Nasser Bagh inaccessible to PPP workers, warns Kaira

Sit-ins if Nasser Bagh inaccessible to PPP workers, warns Kaira

LAHORE: The Pakistan Peoples Party has warned of sit-ins when and where its workers are barred from attending the protest camp at Nasser Bagh, Lower Mall.

The camp is being set up on Thursday against prolonged power loadshedding and the rising graph of joblessness and crime.

“Our processions will come from all sides of Punjab and all parts of the provincial metropolis. If the participants are hindered from reaching Nasser Bagh they will stage a sit-in there and then,” warned central Punjab PPP president Qamar Zaman Kaira, at the venue selected for the camp here on Wednesday.

The party has been mobilising its cadres for the show by holding at least two corner meetings in each National Assembly constituency of Lahore for the last one week.

Flanked by central and Punjab information secretaries Chaudhry Manzoor and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, respectively, Kaira told the media that party workers were already angry at change of venue.

The decision to change the venue from Minar-i-Pakistan lawns to Nasser Bagh had been taken on the suggestion of the police and “we agreed with the spirit to cooperate with the administration and not the government,” he clarified, urging the administration to also act like public servants and not as of a family or party.

The PPP says it had agreed to the change [of venue] on the conditions that even The Mall would not be closed to the rallies.

Referring to denial of permission for the protest at Minar-i-Pakistan, Kaira recalled that the ruling PML-N had organised its show on March 23. He wondered that on one hand the rulers say that the PPP has ‘died its political death’ and on the other they’re afraid of allowing it to hold a protest demonstration.

The Thursday’s protest, he claimed, would distinguish between a political meeting and the one organised with the help of patwaris and tehsildars (revenue officials), a taunt on the recent public meetings of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in various Punjab towns.

He said the government lost justification to stay any more in power after the Panama scandal and continued observing loadshedding contrary to the claims of overcoming it within six months.

Chaudhry Manzoor said: “The party is averting ‘skirmishes’ to save its energies for the main show which will be announced by Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

Responding to a query about PML-Q move for Kalabagh Dam as the PPP is one of the opponents of the water reservoir project, Kaira admitted that crops were not being provided proper water and that dams should be constructed across the country.

He said his party would have no objection if a [national] consensus was built on the Kalabagh Dam too.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2017

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