The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has cancelled its January 5 rally in Lahore announced by the party chairman earlier in December to mark the start of their anti-government drive.
According to a PPP office-bearer in Punjab, the plans for the rally have been dropped due to “unfavourable weather and security concerns.” Instead, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto would now hold a meeting with the party’s central executive committee.
In addition, the chairperson would hold a separate meeting with the council members.
However, the party’s official did not specify the nature and issue of security concerns.
Bilawal on December 27 had announced that the party would launch a “decisive movement” against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government on January 5, with a rally in Lahore – the former bastion of the PPP.
“Time has come to initiate a war against the puppet regime,” he said while addressing a public gathering organised to mark the 14th death anniversary of former premier Benazir Bhutto in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.
The PPP had postponed the party’s central executive committee meeting which was scheduled to be held in Larkana. The PPP chairman said that the meeting will now take place in Lahore on January 5 which is the date of birth of former prime minister and PPP’s founding leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. “The CEC will set up its base in Lahore.”
However, no formal announcement about the cancellation of the event has been made by the party’s senior leadership.
Asked who would make the formal announcement about the decision, the party member said the announcement can be done from Bilawal House Lahore.
A few days ago, reports were making rounds that the PPP Lahore division had been tasked to plan for the party’s crucial rally, which was to be addressed by chairperson Bilawal Bhutto. The venue for the event had also been decided.
However, the abrupt pivot on the decision has fuelled speculations about whether the party’s claims about the hyped-up rally were part of its tactics to stir panic in the ruling party.
Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been accused of fanning the rumours and dropping broad hints about the immediate return of party supremo Nawaz Sharif. However, the party’s senior leadership later tamped down the chatter and called it a mere “ploy” to irk the Imran Khan-led government.