The Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Lahore organisation is staging a protest demonstration against the Orange Line Metro Train project on Sunday (today) ahead of a similar demonstration planned by the newly-formed opposition alliance in the Provincial Assembly that includes the PPP.
“The Lahore PPP was the first party to raise a voice against the project. This [opposition to the project] has been a PPP initiative,” said PPP Lahore information secretary Faisal Mir.
He said the party’s Lahore chapter would stage a demonstration at Jain Mandir.
Some PPP officials The Express Tribune spoke to said that several party members were unhappy with the its provincial leadership’s decision to follow the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) “hegemony” in the alliance.
“They don’t back the decision to follow the lead of Leader of the Opposition Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed. They believe that the agitation against the metro train was started by the PPP and that instead of following the PTI, the PPP should lead from the front,” they said.
“Leaders of the PPP central Punjab and Lahore organisation have developed differences on some issues. This time they are arguing whether or not the party should hold a separate protest demonstration against the project. Many PPP stalwarts believe that the party should focus on mobilisation of its workers,” a senior PPP central Punjab leader said.
“A Jamaat-i-Islami mindset is prevalent in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) PMLN and the PTI. It is the time for the PPP to take a separate stand.”
Meanwhile, PTI central leader Ejaz Chaudhry slammed the PPP in a statement on Saturday, saying, “The PPP and the PML-N are two sides of the same coin. They hide corruption of each other,” he said. “Only the PTI has been playing the role of a genuine opposition.”
“PPP’s central and Lahore chapters are on the same page. The Lahore leadership is organising their own protest because they had issued a call beforehand. It was the central leadership’s decision to make an alliance against the government,” PPP MPA Khurrum Wattoo said.
“[PPP Chairman] Bilawal Bhutto, [PTI chief] Imran Khan and [Jamaat-i-Islami chief] Sirajul Haq were taken on board with regard to the alliance. The PPP leaders have always said that opposition parties need to unite against the PML-N in the Punjab… other political parties have realised it now as well,” Wattoo said.
Commenting on Ejaz Chaudhry’s statement, he said such statements were part of politics. “We will strive against the ruling party together,” he said.
The PPP Punjab information deputy secretary said difference of opinion existed in every party. “The PPP is united under its chairman’s leadership,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2016.