* Thousands of PPP workers show up at airport to receive newly appointed PPP office-bearers
* Wattoo thanks party workers for giving him warm welcome in city
By Kashif Hussain and Nasir Butt
LAHORE: Newly inducted Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab President Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo on Monday said the party would come in power in Punjab in next general elections with the help of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid.
PPP Punjab Secretary Tanveer Ashraf Kaira was also present. The two party leaders said they would make Lahore a hub of PPP. They were addressing a party rally at Naseer Bagh in which thousands of workers belonging to Lahore, Okara, Sahiwal, Sheikhupura and Gujranwala participated. PPP leaders, including Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chaudhry Manzoor, Raja Riaz, Zulfiqar Gondal, Samina Ghurki, Aslam Gill and Mian Ayub also addressed the rally. However, former PPP Punjab president Imtiaz Safdar Warraich and Secretary Aziz Chan were not present.
Wattoo said that President Asif Zardari had given him a special responsibility in Punjab for a special purpose and he would not let him down at any cost. He assured the allied parties, especially the PML-Q that he would establish better political environment for all in Punjab and to get success in next general elections jointly.
He hoped that no one could stop the PPP to come in power in Punjab after the participation of devoted workers and activists in the rally. He paid tribute to the party workers for giving him a warm welcome in the city. He also appreciated President Zardari and his reconciliation policy in politics.
Kaira said Punjab was a political hub of PPP and after next general elections, it would establish the government with the help of the PML-Q.
He said that he was committed to doing better work for the party workers, adding that for strengthening the party in the province they would try to remove all reservations of dissident workers and leaders. He directed the PPP workers to start preparations of next general elections in their localities.
Dr Firdous while supporting Wattoo’s appointment as the PPP Punjab president said that Wattoo was a ‘trump card of PPP’ as he knew better about political dimensions of Punjab. She also criticised Sharif brothers, saying the Supreme Court had proved the corruption of those who were involved in alleging others.
Earlier, Wattoo and Kaira were accorded a warm welcome at the Allama Iqbal Airport amid a tense atmosphere as PPP workers had a quarrel with the Airport Security Force.
This was their first visit to the provincial metropolis after assuming the PPP Punjab charge and besides a good number of party provincial bodies’ office bearers, PPP workers and some federal ministers were present at the airport to receive him. But the happy moments turned sour after the PPP workers quarrelled with the Airport Security Force (ASF) personnel turning the arrival lounge of Allama Iqbal International Airport into a battlefield. It disrupted the whole operation of the airport forcing the authorities to get the domestic passengers out through international arrival lounge. Security was compromised completely as the Civil Aviation Authority and the ASF both seemed helpless against the angry PPP workers. The situation remained tense at the airport for quite some time.
A large number of PPP office-bearers showed up at the airport in the afternoon to welcome Wattoo.
The airport resounded with pro-PPP slogans. The whole route, from airport to Data Darbar, was decorated with welcome banners, Wattoo’s pictures, posters and hoardings. Wattoo led a mammoth rally to Naseer Bagh.
The PPP has fielded Wattoo in Punjab with hope to conquer the province and the first entry of new PPP Punjab president attracted a large number of PPP workers which was unexpected for political pundits, as many have showed their reservations against Wattoo’ appointment in Punjab.