Keep calm and...: PPP workers brawl during leader’s death anniversary

Press club bans PPP’s entry; journalists, employees reportedly manhandled.


Baseer Qalandar May 06, 2014
The situation reportedly spun out of control when some of the workers did not allow the party’s provincial president Khanzada Khan to deliver a speech on stage in Zubair Mir Hall. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PESHAWAR:


With widening rifts in the top provincial leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), its workers resorted to fighting and hurled chairs at each other during a ceremony to mark the seventh death anniversary of Syed Qamar Abbas at Peshawar Press Club (PPC) on Tuesday.


The situation reportedly spun out of control when some of the workers did not allow the party’s provincial president Khanzada Khan to deliver a speech on stage in Zubair Mir Hall.

Provincial Media Coordinator and Spokesperson for PPP President, Faheem Khattak told The Express Tribune that they will apprise the central leadership of the party, including former president Asif Ali Zardari and patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and ascertain the people involved in the incident.

“Activists of Peoples Student Federation were sent by former PPP women’s wing chairperson Asma Alamgir to sabotage the ceremony,” alleged Khattak.

He said footage of everything that happened on the press club premises is available and it is clear that the miscreants were not party activists, but were hired to create the clash. Khattak explained that Asif Zardari dissolved the party’s provincial and district organisations on April 29, after which Asma Alamgir raised grievances because the move was not acceptable to her.

When contacted, Alamgir vehemently denied all allegations, saying PPP is a democratic party and all leaders should give democratic statements. She added that a ‘conspiracy group’ has hijacked the party in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), because of which rifts have surfaced and resulted in such unfortunate developments.

“The viewpoints of PPP workers will have to be taken into consideration; that is the key to strengthening the party,” said Alamgir, appreciating the services of leaders like Qamar Abbas – former provincial minister and senior vice-president of PPP who was shot dead in 2007. She added that the grim situation has spelled a wave of frustration amongst workers.

Later, PPC’s cabinet held an emergency meeting with the club president Nasir Hussain in the chair, which condemned PPP for the scuffle.

While talking to the media, PPC General Secretary Fida Adeel said all activities of PPP have been banned in the press club, along with a ban on their entrance. Adeel added that they have footage of the clash and will take legal action against all those involved. Giving details of the loss, he said 20 chairs, four tables and a sound system in the hall were damaged.

“Journalists and employees of the press club were manhandled by PPP workers who warned them to not run the footage,” Adeel added.

On the other hand, former PPP president Anwar Saifullah Khan in a statement on Sunday lauded the party central leadership’s decision of dissolving the current provincial and district organisations, saying that new leadership would come to the forefront through the decision of an intra-party election.

Saifullah attributed the party’s prevailing issues to some office bearers who have long lost interest in PPP’s affairs. He added that the poor performance in last year’s general elections was also due to the many rifts that have surfaced within the party.

“Party workers on whom others can fully rely on should come to the front and unify PPP’s K-P organisation,” said Saifullah. He added that intra-party elections are not new for PPP workers and have been held since Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s time.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2014. 

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