THe GOVERNOR’s last rites – PPP workers vent anger at religious parties | Pakistan Today

THe GOVERNOR’s last rites – PPP workers vent anger at religious parties

LAHORE – At the Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer’s funeral at the Governor’s House on Wednesday, hundreds of infuriated PPP workers chanted slogans against religious parties, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Among the slogans were “Qatil Qatil, Nawaz Qatil, Shahbaz Qatil, Sana Ullah Qatil” (Killer killer, Nawaz killer, Shahbaz killer, Sana Ullah killer) and “Taliban ka jo yaar hai, gaddar hai” (A friend of the Taliban is a traitor).
At the graveyard, PPP workers mourned the loss of a ‘loving leader who endeared himself to the PPP workers with his dedication, and commitment to the party’. Earlier, in Governor’s House, many PPP workers, especially women, broke down and wept. Women MPAs and party workers, including PPP Women Wing Punjab Secretary General Azma Bokhari, Sughra, Faiza Malik, Begum Shamim Niazi and many others, cried and some of them fainted. The PPP ‘Jialas’ also raised slogans; “Zinda hae Bhutto Zinda hae” (Bhutto is alive) and “Alwida alwida Salman alwida” (farewell Salmaan).
TIGHT SECURITY: Lahore Police on Wednesday remained on high alert and adopted tight security measures to avoid any untoward incident during the funeral. Around 900 Rangers officials were deputed to help Lahore Police in maintaining law and order.
Superintendent of Police (Security) Faisal Rana while talking to Pakistan Today said that around 2500 policemen were deputed at and around Governor’s House and at Taseer’s residence in Cavalry Ground. Lahore Police with the help of Rangers guarded Taseer’s body, which was brought to the Governor’s House under strict security.
Faisal said police officials also remained deputed at and around important places located on The Mall including Punjab Assembly and other important markets. Answering a question, he said neither a mishap was reported nor the law enforcement agencies captured any suspect.
ENTRY PROBLEM: Owing to security reasons, authorities at the last moment changed the entry point for those who wanted to join the funeral prayer in the Governor’s House. The security high-ups earlier opened the Kashmir Road Gate but after 11 am they changed the plan and closed the gate, giving the entry from the Shimla Hill Gate. The security personnel also misbehaved with the press and obstructed their entrance, though after some time the issue was resolved.
NAWAZ, SHAHBAZ DISCOURAGED TO ATTEND FUNERAL: Sources said PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif intended to attend the funeral but they were obstructed by Raja Riaz, saying that PPP workers were in a state of shock and the situation could get out of control. However, no PML-N prominent leader attended the funeral except provincial minister Ahsan Qureshi and Malik Nadeem Kamran. At one stage the situation turned critical when PPP workers started chanting slogans in front of the Acting Governor Rana Muhammad Iqbal.
PROMINENT LEADERS ATTEND FUNERAL: Besides PPP leaders and PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, many other political leaders across the political divide attended the funeral. Notable personalities who joined the funeral prayer are: Acting Governor Punjab Rana Iqbal Ahmad Khan, who is also the Speaker of Punjab Assembly and belongs to PML-N, Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) dissident group leader and former foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, Awami National Party’s leader and federal minister Bashir Ahmad Balor, opposition leader of the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, who belongs to PML-Q, PML-N leaders and provincial ministers Malik Nadeem Kamaran and Ahsan-ud-Din Qureshi and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders Babar Ghori, Haider Abbas Rizvi, Adil Sadiqi, Iftikhar Akbar Randhawa, Raza Haroon, Wasay Jalil, Iqbal Muhammad Ali, Saif Yar Khan and Dr Ayyub Sheikh.
NATIONAL FLAG LOWERED: As the ruling party, PPP announced three days mourning at the state level and the national flag at the Governor’s House and other public buildings including the Punjab Assembly remain lowered.
ARRIVAL: PM Gilani and Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik landed in the Governor’s House in a chopper accompanied by another helicopter of security officials. The PPP workers at one stage tried to break the prime minister’s security cordon to register their anger. Just after offering the funeral, Gilani left the venue in a car driving himself.
AT THE GRAVEYARD: After the funeral, a chopper escorted by another security helicopter, shifted the coffin of Salman Taseer to the Cavalry Ground’s graveyard, also known as Shuhada Qabaristan (the graveyard of martyrs) as a large number of martyrs of the 1965 war have been buried there. Wrapped in the national flag, the body was buried in the presence of his sons Shan Taseer, Shehryar Taseer and Shahbaz Taseer, relatives and some party leaders. Soon after the burial, a contingent of Punjab Police presented guard of honour.
Those who were present in the graveyard include Jehangir Badar, Raja Riaz, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, Ashraf Sohna, and from PML-N; Malik Nadeem Kamran, Rana Muhammad Arshad and Haji Ahsan uddin Qureshi.
After the prayers, Jehangir Badar laid a floral wreath on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari, Rana Farooq on behalf of PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Riaz on behalf of Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif, Major Sikander on behalf of the army chief, Col Yazdani on behalf of joint chief of army staff, Brig Sikandar on behalf of air chief, Group Captain Jamil on behalf of the navel chief and Lahore CCPO Aslam Tareen on behalf of the IG Punjab. Later the sons and relatives of later Taseer also laid floral wreaths on his grave.
Later female family member of the late governor, including Amna Taseer, Sara Taseer, relatives and President’s Advisor Farah Naz Asfahani also visited the grave, laid floral wreaths and prayed for the departed soul.

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