President’s media team, however, kept all his engagements in a low profile, perhaps because of the pending case in the Lahore High Court regarding his dual office. Even senior PPP leaders were unaware of the happenings at Bilawal House.
Media was also stopped from covering president’s arrival and other activities at the Bilawal House. Bahria Town security staff used water cannons to keep the reporters and cameramen away from the Bilawal House.
Saeed Lodhi of Waqt News and some other reporters received injuries in a scuffle with the security men who used clubs and iron rods to stop them from coverage. They also damaged video cameras and the vehicles. Some PPP leaders later apologised for the incident.
Punjab Governor Makhdum Ahmed Mehmud received the president at the airport from where he drove straight to the newly-constructed Bilawal House in Bahria Town. This was for the first time since assuming the office of the president that Asif Ali Zardari did not go to the Governor House. Provincial Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman received the president on behalf of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
It may be a mere coincidence but it is true that when the PPP Co-Chairman was setting his foot on Sharif’s stronghold, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif at that time happened to be in Nawabshah, the home town of President Zardari.
The president is expected to remain in Lahore for a week or so to sort out election-related matters especially with the PML-Q whose bigwigs would be meeting him in the next few days. He is also scheduled to visit Raiwind residence of Mian Nawaz Sharif during his stay in the City to condole with him the death of his brother Abbas Sharif. It is significant to note that President Zardari would be in the City on Sunday, the day Punjab government is going to perform the inaugural ceremony of its much-hyped Metro Bus System. The PML-N has decided to make it a big show by inviting dignitaries from different countries including Turkey. On Saturday (today), the PPP co-chairman would be having meetings with party ticket-holders from Punjab.
The inaugural ceremony of chairman’s secretariat at Bilawal House may also be performed today.
As per the party sources, Bilawal Bhutto would spend much of his time in Lahore during party’s election campaign. It would be from here that he would regulate and monitor all election-related activities of the party.