A protest led by members of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s Tiger Force on Saturday disrupted Special Assistant to the PM (PM) for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari’s speech as disgruntled workers raised slogans against him as well as the ruling party’s leadership, reportedly forcing Bukhari to leave the rostrum.
The premier’s Corona Relief Tiger Force is part of an ambitious multi-pronged strategy by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to impose movement restrictions and shut down industries while also ensuring that Pakistan’s poorest citizens — many of whom rely on daily wages to survive — continue to receive adequate supplies of food and other essentials.
Hundreds of thousands of volunteers from across the country, who signed up for the force, are reportedly discharging their duties as the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Saturday’s event organised in Attock seemed to be in violation of social distancing among other government guidelines to curb the spread of the virus, things took an uglier turn as soon as Bukhari took the floor to address the gathering.
According to reports, the volunteers raised slogans against Bukhari as well as other leaders of the ruling PTI in protest against the force’s focal person, namely Qadri Ahmed, “not being invited to the ceremony despite working hard for over a month”.
The volunteers were then seen leaving the venue, raising slogans in Ahmed’s favour.
A member of Bukhari’s staff, however, denied media reports and said that no one left the stage as it was “only a two to four-minute issue between [Adviser to PM on Climate Change] Malik Amin Aslam and the local president.
“Bukhari ended up completing his speech,” they said.
PTI Punjab lawmaker Syed Yawer Abbas Bukhari among other local leaders were also present on the occasion.