LAHORE - Senior PPP leaders led a demonstration on Friday against the increase in power tarrif and the petroleum prices, calling the PML-N government a ‘biggest terrorist’.
PPP activists gathered outside Lahore Press Club and chanted slogans against the government with female activists holding lanterns in their hands in a symbolic manifestation of the coming time when people might be forced to rely on lamps due to much expensive electricity.
In their speeches on the occasion, senior party leaders, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Mian Manzoor Watto and Samina Khalid Ghurki came down hard on the government on various counts alleging that it had turned its back on the people by landing them in the whirlpool of price hike.
“Massive price hike also comes under the definition of terrorism as it was tantamount to economic murder of the people. What does a terrorist do? He also snatches employment from the people and spreads chaos”, said Aitzaz Ahsan while addressing the party workers. He even went to the extent of saying that cases should be initiated against Sharif brothers under the provisions of terrorism act.
Aitzaz clarified that PPP had accepted the PML-N’s mandate only to the extent of preventing another martial law. But on all other issues of national importance, he added, the PPP would give a tough time to the government to keep it on the right track.
The PPP leader also took the occasion to highlight what he called massive rigging in the last elections. Citing the election results of a National Assembly constituency in Kasur from where PPP leader Ch Manzoor lost the election, he said that out of total 272 polling stations, the results from 177 were destroyed while the returning officers announced fake results.
He went on to say that garbage was found from ballot boxes from 12 polling stations whereas the ballot papers from 49 polling stations did not bear thumb impressions of the voters. Aitzaz also mentioned Rs 18 billion alleged corruption in Nandipur power project, fraud in import of hybrid cars and NLG deal with Qatar as the example of present government’s bad practices.
He announced that PPP would hold protest demonstrations in every district of Punjab against price hike and other anti-people policies of the PML-N government. Manzoor Watto said that PPP stood with 180 million people of the country in this difficult hour of unprecedented price hike which had made it difficult for them to make both ends meet.
He demanded of the government to withdraw the hike in prices of different commodities implemented under dictation from the IMF. Samina Khalid Ghurki opposed privatisation of national institutions, saying the decision would cause unemployment.
Separately, Jamaat-e-Islami held countrywide protests against the hike in POL and electricity prices on Friday. Protest rallies and demonstrations were held in the provincial, district and tehsil headquarters after Friday prayers and sit-ins were also staged on major roads and crossings. The protesters were holding placards and banners and condemning the government decision to raise POL and electricity prices.
Addressing Friday congregation at Mansoora mosque, JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan said that the people were expecting from the PML-N government for provision of much relief but all their hopes had dashed to the ground during the honey moon period one by one. It seemed the rulers were pushing the masses to the point of revolt, he added. Munawar said that anarchy and chaos were being created in the country under the US and Indian agenda, adding that the people were deprived of two times meal and there was darkness all around.
In Lahore, protest rallies were held in various areas. The rally held at Multan Road was addressed by the JI Secretary General Liaqat Baloch. In his address, Baloch referred to the statement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that the raise in POL and electricity prices was unbearable for the poor.
In Karachi, protest rallies were held at about thirty places and were addressed by local party leaders. In the KPK, rallies were staged at all district headquarters. In Balochistan, rallies were also held at Quetta, Pishin, Loralai, and Gawadar.