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Bilawal’s rally briefly stopped at Uch Sharif

Top Story

July 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The election rally of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was stopped on its way to the Shrine at Uch Sharif by the Punjab Police for more than one hour and was allowed to move after the intervention of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The local police claims that the rally was stooped due to security reasons as the security clearance for visiting the shrine was not obtained, but the PPP did not agree with the local administration’s claim, saying that all the permissions were duly taken.

The PPP viewed that the issue was created just to create hurdles in the way of Bilawal for his election campaign in Punjab after his successful election rallies in Sindh.

“Bilawal and his vehicles have been stopped by Punjab Police on way to Uch Sharif Mazar and rally ground and this act was unacceptable and illegal,” said Opposition Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman. She said all permissions were duly taken, but they were told that high level police officials gave the order to stop Bilawal’s caravan.

“I am putting the Punjab government on notice that it’s their responsibility to secure us and keep things peaceful,” she said.

Bilawal, after addressing rallies in Sindh, was in South Punjab for his party’s election campaign and was scheduled to address the rally at Uch Sharif and prior of it he planned to visit the Shrine of Uch Sharif. However, on his way, Punjab Police blocked his rally briefly at the Ghous-e-Azam Chowk on a route towards the shrine.

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, spokesman for the PPP chairman, said Bilawal was stooped on the instructions of the DPO and IG Punjab.

“Punjab Police illegally seized the keys of all vehicles that were part of the PPP chairman’s caravan,” he said.

Following the incident, the PPP leaders immediately contacted Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Babar Yaqoob for taking a notice of police action of stopping the head of a political party from campaigning which was a clear violation of code of conduct of the ECP.

Babar Yaqoob took strict notice and immediately contacted the chief secretary Punjab and IG Police and asked them to remove the hurdles in the campaign. He said that every party and its candidates have the right to run the election campaign. “It seems that powers which are afraid of Bilawal’s electioneering in Punjab are resorting to cheap tactics,” Sherry Rehman said. The PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari said the police official who stopped the rally was a brother of the PTI candidate Usman Channar, who was contesting the election against the PPP candidate Ali Musa Gilani, and blockade of the rally is a part of the pre-poll rigging.

The PPP leader Farhatullah Babar warned that if anything happens to Bilawal then the administration and police will be responsible for it.