A day after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s convoy had to be routed after being pelted with stones in the metropolis’ Lyari locality, the PPP criticised the interim government for failing to protect electoral candidates and maintaining order in the run-up to elections.
The spokesperson for Bilawal, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, said the “onus of protecting the candidate and ensuring that peace prevails falls upon the caretaker setup. They failed in their responsibility to do so”.
Khokhar alleged that the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) “refused to act and stood as mere bystanders”. He also questioned the role of Sindh Rangers for not intervening during the incident.
Blaming the media for ‘misreporting’ the protest, he asserted that the PPP believed it was a deliberate attempt “to create an atmosphere of fear” ahead of elections. “Our workers showed immense restraint despite great provocation. Forces of violence and political parties that thrive on conflict tried their best to deter us but failed spectacularly.”
“The media blackout is an indication that only negative stories related to the PPP are being played up,” claimed the spokesperson. “An environment is being created to benefit one ‘ladla’ party,” he said alluding to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
In its statement, the party stressed that only a ‘handful’ attempted to disrupt the rally in a ‘designed’ episode. “There is a difference between peaceful protest and stone pelting,” said a spokesperson for the Bilawal House.
The scion of the Bhutto dynasty, Bilawal received a rocky welcome at the PPP-stronghold on Sunday as protesters — mostly youngsters — stopped the rally in Bihar Colony and attacked the vehicles with sticks and stones, smashing the windows of several vehicles.
The mob shouted “Go Bilawal Go” slogans. It is pertinent to note that the PPP chairman is contesting NA-246 (Lyari). In his response to the demonstration, Bilawal said: “I am Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s son, who was one of the bravest souls in Pakistan. Lyari is in my blood. I will go to every nook and corner of the country with my party manifesto. We have to defeat these violent elements; not give in to them. I will not be scared into submission by such forces.”
Undeterred the PPP chairman drove to Lyari again Monday morning before heading to interior Sindh for campaigning.
Meanwhile, Sindh Police registered an FIR of the protest against 400 people.