ISLAMABAD: Sensing the worse might already be knocking on the doors of its beleaguered rule, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has set in motion a mass contact movement to ‘fight all the odds in the streets’.
“Go to your constituencies and start mobilising people…they are our soldiers and we will have to rely on their strength ultimately,” was the message President Asif Ali Zardari sent across the party fold at a meeting on Thursday night.
Participants of Zardari’s meeting with the party’s parliamentarians from Punjab told The Express Tribune that they felt for the first time judging by the tone and tenor of the president that he was anticipating ‘anything at anytime’.
However, this was contradicted by some of the participants who said that the president vowed to fight back in case a ‘conspiracy is hatched by someone’.
The meeting took place the same night the Supreme Court reacted to media reports that the government might attempt to ‘purge’ a hostile judiciary by withdrawing an executive order under which judges were restored in 2009.
PPP parliamentarians from Punjab said that the order by the president to mobilise masses in constituencies was a call to prepare for any ‘eventuality’ of an ongoing government-judiciary row.
On Thursday, officials in the PPP said that the party secretary-general Jahangir Badar embarked upon a hurriedly planned visit to several areas of the Hazara division, where he held meetings mostly with lawyers loyal to the group.
“This was, for sure, a starting point,” one of the officials spoke of the trip and added that Badar might be visiting bar councils in Punjab as well.
Moreover, other prominent leaders from the party will also be establishing contacts with workers, especially lawyers, to generate support for the government in case of a showdown with the judiciary.
It was at the last meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) in Islamabad that Zardari hinted at ‘fighting it out into the streets and onto the roads’ if its government was toppled. “Get ready for anything…any call can be given at any time,” Zardari said in an address to party’s decision-making Central Executive Committee (CEC) last month.
With fresh directives from the top to get in touch with masses, several PPP leaders believe the call has already been given.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2010.