RAWALPINDI: Around 11 years after the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the party she once led came together at the site of the fatal attack on her in Rawalpindi, but were divided into two factions.
Convening at Liaquat Bagh — the place where the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader was assassinated, one group was led by Naheed Khan while the other event was held by the Rawalpindi city faction of the PPP.
They held separate events to offer prayers for the former prime minister, reciting the Holy Quran and lit candles. A large number of PPP workers also sprinkled flower petals at a monument built in Liaquat Bagh.
Paying tribute: PPP workers throng Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on Benazir’s death anniversary
The event by the Naheed Khan Group took place during the day on Thursday with PPP workers reciting the Holy Quran. Several principled workers of the PPP including a spokesman for the Naheed Khan Group Malik Mazhar and Ibne Rizvi attended the event.
After offering prayers, a religious feast called the ‘Bhutto Langer’ was distributed amongst the participants.
Rizvi, while presenting a resolution at the event, demanded that incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan do his utmost to apprehend the murderers of Benazir.
The other event took place later in the evening. It was organised by Babar Jadoon, the president of the Rawalpindi City faction of PPP, and general secretary Chaudhry Iftikhar.
The event also saw a large number of PPP workers and supporters participate.
The event began with the recitation of the Holy Quran.
Addressing the event, Jadoon, Iftikhar, Nargis Faiz Malik, Raja Imran Ashraf and senior PPP leader Rasheed Meer, Peoples Student Federation’s (PSF) Divisional President Usman Satti, PPP Women’s Wing president Sameera, Peoples Unity General Secretary Ramzan Laghari, Islamabad PPP faction’s President Shakeel Abbasi and Syed Sibtul Hasan Bukhari paid tribute to slain premier Benazir.
They vowed to remain steadfast against the conspiracies being hatched against the party.
They also vowed to defend former president Asif Ali Zardari at all forums.
Former defence production minister Sardar Saleem Haider said that Benazir was not only the leader of the party but a leader for entire Pakistan and the Muslim world.
“The country would have seen great development if Benazir was given just five years [in power],” he said, adding that those ruling the country cannot spend much time in the name of accountability.
At the end of the event, the participants sprinkled flower petals at the monument and lit lamps.
Strict arrangements for security were made for the event.
Lawyers remember Benazir
The Peoples Lawyers Forum (PLF) also held a ceremony in the district courts to remember Benazir.
Senior lawyer Asad Abbas, former Bar secretary Malik Zaheer Arshad, PLF President Shahid Mughal Chaudhry and Noor Khan said that Benazir was a symbol of democracy.
They decried the vengeful acts of the incumbent government, adding that the PPP has been held accountable for the past 30 years and now it was Imran’s turn to fulfil his wish.
They stated that the government has only a few days left in power.
Owing to high security put in place for events held to mark Benazir’s anniversary at Liaquat Bagh, traffic on the Murree Road remained snarled on Thursday.
The Liaquat Bagh road remained closed for around eight hours. As a result, the traffic was diverted onto alternative routes. Owing to the high flow of traffic, the alternative routes were quickly overloaded and clogged with vehicles.
Tributes pour in as nation observes 11th death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto
The public transport vehicles which ferry passengers between Islamabad and Rawalpindi also remained stuck in the logjam.
Police said that they had sealed Liaquat Road from Liaquat Bagh Chowk to TMA Building. Traffic coming from Raja Bazaar and Fawara Chowk was redirected towards Gawalmandi.
Owing to the jam, cars were stuck from Kutchery Chowk to Marir Chowk. Traffic coming from Islamabad was stuck at Naz Cinema Chowk to Liaquat Bagh Chowk.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2018.
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