PPP suspends rallies in KP after deadly attacks

Special PPP suspends rallies in KP after deadly attacks
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PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other party leaders addressed a news conference in Peshawar on Saturday. (AN Photo)
Special PPP suspends rallies in KP after deadly attacks
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PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other party leaders addressed a news conference in Peshawar on Saturday. (AN Photo)
Special PPP suspends rallies in KP after deadly attacks
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Security personnel stand guard ahead of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s for press conference. (AN Photo)
Updated 24 July 2018

PPP suspends rallies in KP after deadly attacks

PPP suspends rallies in KP after deadly attacks
  • PPP Chairman Bilawal is contesting election on a National Assembly (NA-9) seat for Malakand, a district of KP
  • Now Bilawal will meet his party activist only and not address any public gathering in Khyber Pakhtunhwa

PESHAWAR: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced the suspension of political rallies in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) after a recent wave of deadly terrorist attacks on political gatherings.

He also alleged that his party is not getting a level playing field for the forthcoming elections.
Speaking at a news conference in Peshawar, on Saturday, Bilawal said he has been told by provincial authorities not to move out of Peshawar cantonment and also not to hold rallies in KP.
“I am suspending my political rallies because of the recent attacks in KP and Balochistan (provinces) that claimed dozens of lives. We had planned to hold rallies in Peshawar and Malakand during my visit to KP but now we have canceled these events. How can I carry out my campaign when people are grieving for their loved ones?” he said.
However, Bilawal added that he was going to meet party activists in Malakand area but will not address public gatherings.
The PPP Chairman himself is contesting the election on a National Assembly (NA-9) seat for Malakand, a district of KP.
Bilawal urged that the authorities should fully implement the national action plan against terrorism that was formulated after the deadly terrorist attack on an army public school in Peshawar in 2014.
“The pre-poll rigging is under way as my rallies are also not covered well in the media,” he said.
He added that Awami National Party (ANP) and Balochistan Awami Party’s rallies were targeted with bombs, and PPP leaders are also being asked by law enforcement departments to avoid campaigns.
“In several areas we were impeded. I had issues in South Punjab and also my flight to Peshawar was once denied permission. Also, my workers were even pressurized to switch loyalties.”
But he clarified that the PPP would never boycott polls and his party has always demanded on-time elections.
Elaborated security arrangements were made for Bilawal’s visit to Peshawar.
Nighat Aurakzai, the PPP’s KP president, told Arab News that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) promoted militancy by funding a madrassa, a religious seminary.
PTI’s provincial government, before completing its term in May this year, announced that it was granting 227 million rupees ($2 million) to Darul Uloom Haqqania which is run by renowned cleric-turned-politician Maulana Samiul Haq, who is known to have some influence on Afghan Taliban leaders as many of them were his students.
PPP Senator Behamand Tangi told Arab News that the party enjoys support in different areas and particularly has a good vote bank in Charsadda, Nowshera, Swat, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Chitral and in Peshawar districts.
However, he also alleged that the PTI enjoys the support of the military establishment.
“ANP and JUI-F rallies were targeted with bomb attacks, while PPP leaders are also being prevented from election campaigning, while the PTI is freely holding rallies and doing their election campaign,” he said.
A senior analyst, Rahimullah Yusufzai, says that the PPP might win more seats in the coming elections than in 2013, but he maintained that the deteriorating security situation is disturbing the elections scenario.
“I don’t see a big change for PPP but it seems they can win a few more seats in the 2018 polls, compared with the previous elections,” he added.