PTI plans public meetings to ‘counter PDM campaign’


HAFIZABAD – Staff Reporter:

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) plans to hold a public meeting in Hafizabad after the prime minister reportedly approved the plan of going to public in response to the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) rallies in different parts of the country.

Shaukat Bhatti, a PTI MNA, will host the Hafizabad public meeting. He told that Imran Khan would address the rally on Nov 7, for which preparations had begun.

He said the premier would lay the foundation stone of the University of Hafizabad before speaking to the public.

Ijaz Chaudhry, the president of Punjab PTI, the mover of this idea, said the PM’s visit to Hafizabad was confirmed, but his address to the public meeting would be confirmed on Monday.

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He said in case Mr Khan did not make an address, the public meeting would still go ahead.

He said Mr Khan would also announce the construction of a 400-bed hospital in Hafizabad.

Mr Chaudhry said the public meeting was not meant to counter the PDM rallies. “We are holding it since we feel that we should go to public in current circumstances.”

However, sources in the PTI said the PM had approved the proposal floated by Mr Chaudhry to hold public meetings in response to the opposition’s events. Hafizabad was selected for the maiden rally as the party had clinched three (the lone National Assembly and two out of three Punjab Assembly) seats from the district in the last general election.

Analysts say Hafizabad is quite close to Gujranwala where the PDM held its maiden public meeting on Oct 16 and the ruling party wants to feel the public pulse.

Asked about the threat of spread of Covid-19 as a result of the public gathering, MNA Bhatti said the standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be followed at the venue by wearing face masks and social distancing would be ensured through laying chairs at a proper distance.

The Hafizabad public meeting, he said, would be bigger than the PDM Gujranwala rally in terms of participation of public as the people of Hafizabad were grateful to the PTI government and Imran Khan for approving the establishment of a university and provision of relief through financial assistance during the lockdown.

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