LAHORE   -  PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chaired a meeting at Bilawal House Lahore to seek suggestions from the senior party leaders regarding the planned agitation of farmers against the government on Sunday. 

He was briefed about farmers’ problems and the preparations regarding the planned activity to agitate their issues.  

As a prelude to the February 27 long march, the PPP announced to hold Kissan march on January 21 to mobilise the farmers’ community currently facing a plethora of problems ranging from the shortage of fertilizers to the high costs of agriculture inputs. Talking about the Murree tragedy, the PPP chairman noted with great concern that while the people were dying due to the inefficiency of the rulers, they were holding the people responsible for their deaths. “Those now watching the dead people through helicopters, are the ones who would give examples of a prime minister riding on a bicycle”, he averred. 

Syed Khurshid Shah, Navid Qamar, Hassan Murtaza, Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad and Zulfiqar Ali Badar attended the meeting. The PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari attended the meeting through video link. The participants told the party chairman that farmers were running from pillar to post in search of fertilizers for their wheat crop. 

The PPP chairman constituted a committee comprising provincial office bearers to organize the Kissan march starting from January 21.  

The members include Syed Naveed Qamar, Syed Hassan Murtaza, Rozi Khan Kakar, Shuja Khan and Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed Khan. 

Separately, the PPP chairman chaired a meeting of the party’s south Punjab chapter on Sunday. South Punjab president Makhdoom Ahmad Mahmood apprised the party chairman of the political situation in the southern region and the organization matters.  

The meeting was attended by former PM Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Khawaja Rizwan Alam, Maher Irshad Sial, Nafees Ansari, Aziz Ahmad Qureshi, Asif Khan Dasti and others. 

The participants supported the party’s call for a long march commencing on February 27 and vowed to mobilize the people for the agitation against the government. 

Addressing the meeting, Bilawal Bhutto said that he could not sit idle in a situation when the people were undergoing hardships due to misplaced priorities of the present rulers. The planned agitation is meant only to end the woes of people inflicted on them by the present government, he added. 

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples’ Party Sunday said that the Murree incident exposed the PTI government.

Central Information Secretary PPP Parliamentarians Shazia Marri said that it was a “shameful act” of the federal government to announce merely Rs800,000 grant of aid for the families of victims of Murree tragedy.

Reacting to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s announcement regarding the compensation to the victims of Murree incident, Marri said that many families lost the lives of their beloved ones and Prime Minister Imran Khan was “playing the flute.”

“We expected this from the Prime Minister like Imran Khan who is being running the country on donations. The Prime Minister is humiliating the families of the Murree incident. The innocent citizens were buried alive under the snow while Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers were counting the number of the vehicles,” she said.

Over the weekend, at least 22 people died in an enormous traffic jam caused by tens of thousands of visitors thronging a Murree to see unusually heavy snowfall.

Police reported that at least eight people had frozen to death in their cars, while it was not immediately clear if others had died from asphyxiation after inhaling exhaust fumes in snow-bound vehicles.

The preliminary report of the tragic incident that took place in Murree has been presented to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

The report submitted to the Punjab CM mentioned that Murree had the capacity to park 32,000 vehicles, while more than 72,000 vehicles entered Murree last day. The report also stated that the tourists parked their vehicles on the side of the roads.