PPP calls for ‘breathing room’ in Punjab

Laments party being ‘thrown under the bus’ just like PTI-SIC

Rizwan Shehzad   June 22, 2024
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing a rally in Karachi on February 5, 2024. PHOTO: PPP MEDIA CELL


The PPP, a key ally in the ruling coalition, has urged the PML-N leadership not to treat it like the PTI in Punjab and to allow it “some breathing room” in the province.

In a meeting convened at the Prime Minister House on Friday, PPP leaders voiced their grievances, alleging they were being “victimised” in Punjab, much like the ruling alliance’s rivals in the PTI-turned-Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

They lamented that their legislators and party workers were facing the wrath of the administration without any respite.

The PPP stressed the importance of the administration functioning “above board” and demanded that local elections proceed without undue delay.

In addition, the PPP has asked the PML-N governments at the Centre and Punjab that previous development schemes should continue to be funded in the current budget instead of abandoning them.

The details have emerged from a meeting between the PPP and the PML-N leadership, which gathered at the Prime Minister House on Friday in line with a decision made during a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari a day ago that both sides would resolve their issues through political committees by Sunday.

“The PPP is being victimised in Punjab; it has not been treated fairly,” a key PPP leader, requesting not to be named, shared with The Express Tribune. “We have conveyed to the PML-N that it shouldn’t treat the PPP like PTI,” the PPP leader said, saying the party hasn’t been given much space in the province despite being an ally.

When told that the PPP officials were being targeted, arrested and booked in different cases, he revealed, adding the other side while distancing itself from the same said that it would look into it. “It’s 2024,” he said, “we told them that half of the issues would automatically fizzle out if the administration starts acting justly and fairly.”

He confirmed that the issue of development funds and local bodies’ elections were also discussed in Friday’s meeting. The leaders from both sides had gathered against the backdrop of PPP complaining that it was completely sidelined in the budget process, saying it was a violation of the previous agreement that both the parties had reached post-February 8 general elections.

In response to the PPP’s complaints and the new set of demands, the PML-N assured the PPP leaders that it would look into the issues and try to resolve them at the earliest. A PML-N leader said that the party is “committed” to resolving all the issues in line with the agreement earlier reached between the two sides.

However, no major breakthrough was produced in Thursday’s meeting as both sides could only manage to agree that talks would continue through the committees of both parties.


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