LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in the city Friday on a two-day visit and inaugurated the Bilawal House in Bahria Town.
His son and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is accompanying him. Punjab Governor Makhdum Ahmad Mahmood and the PPP Punjab leaders welcomed the president and the party chairman at the airport. Soon after his arrival in the city, the president left for his newly built residence, Bilawal House, on a helicopter. He inaugurated the residential complex, which is a bulletproof bungalow built over 200 kanal of land worth Rs 5 billion. The house has a helipad and a small runway.
Due to President Zardari’s visit of Lahore, political temperature in the city has risen, and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif and Chaudhry brothers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) have also reached the city. Prime Minister Raja met the president and the PPP chairman at the Bilawal House and discussed political issues, especially the upcoming general elections, at a special meeting after dinner.
According to the PPP parliamentary sources, President Zardari has called a meeting of PPP Punjab office-bearers and provincial parliamentarians’ under the leadership of Federal Minister Mian Manzoor Watto and opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz and Zulfiqar Gondal, at the Bilawal House today (Saturday). The sources informed that President Zardari would also visit Raiwind Farms today to meet the Sharif brothers to condole with them over their brother Abbas Sharif’s death.
Some political discussion is also expected on the occasion for the greater interest of democracy, the sources said. They further informed that Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi would also meet the president and Bilawal today to finalise the issue of seat adjustment in the next general elections. Earlier, PPP leaders, including Makhdum Amin Faheem, Khursheed Shah and others met with the Chaudhry brothers at their residence at Zahoor Elahi Road and discussed seat adjustment matters.
Sources informed that both the parties had reached an agreement, and President Zardari would give a ‘go-ahead’ in his meeting with Chaudhry brothers at the Bilawal House today. It is also worth mentioning that PML-N President Nawaz Sharif, who was on a special visit to Sindh for his political campaign against the PPP-led government and President Zardari, has also reached Lahore ending his tour. Interestingly, diplomatic sources informed this scribe that Saudi Ambassador Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Al-Ghadeer has also arrived in the city to join the meeting of President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif.
Some political pundits are speculating that Saudi Arabia could play a vital role in calming down the “heat of anger” between the two major political parties of the country. Meanwhile, on the president’s arrival, the private security guards of Bahria Town hosed water through high-pressure vehicles to disperse the journalists who tried to enter the housing society to cover the event. Some of the journalists received injuries. The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Lahore Press Club leaders and the journalist community have strongly condemned the guards’ misbehaviour with the journalists and demanded legal action against them. – DailyTimes