Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) fined Rs. 451,135 for ‘damages’ in Liaquat Bagh

PPP City President Babar Jadoon said that it was strange how PHA claimed damages from PPP but didn’t charge religious parties a single penny.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has been fined Rs. 451,135 by the Punjab government for damaging flowers, pots, trees, and plants of Liaquat Bagh during the public meeting on the 27th December held for the occasion of Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary.

This is the first time that any political party has been asked to pay for damages done to the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) of Rawalpindi.
Such public meetings have been held numerous times in the past by PTI, Jamaat-i-Islami and PML-N, etc. but not once has PHA claimed damages.

While talking about the damage done by the  PPP, the PHA said the lightening system and fauna and flora of the garden had been destroyed by the participants.

Damage worth Rs.24,022 was done to lights and tiles in the park, while  Rs.366,700, and Rs. 60,414 was incurred for damaging the trees and plants and water supply pipes respectively.

PHA also took custody of the stage, tents, and chairs used during the gathering but these were later given back to PPP after the party deposited the amount in the accounts of PHA Rawalpindi on Wednesday.

PPP City President Babar Jadoon said that it was strange how PHA claimed damages from PPP but didn’t charge religious parties a single penny, neither did it ever charge PML-N nor PTI in the past for holding public meetings at the park.

“Earlier, the PHA had estimated one million rupees for the damages, but we contested the claim and the matter was settled at Rs451,135,” he said.

He claimed not a single tree or flower pot was damaged during the public meeting.

According to Babar Jadoon, PTI was behind this move to charge damages after seeing how successful PPP’s show had been in Punjab.

“After being unable to pay funds to the development authority, the Punjab government is exploring every avenue to generate revenue and that is why it was claiming damages from PPP,” he said.

He also said the party had already deposited the amount on Wednesday and lifted its goods from Liaquat Bagh. PTI had, in the past, held similar meetings during the PPP’s government in Islamabad and other parts of the country but was never held accountable.

Mr. Jadoon further exclaimed that PPP had obtained permission from the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench to hold the public meeting, the government was also asked to provide foolproof security to the meeting.

Punjab Chief Minister’s Adviser on Horticulture Asif Mehmood, who is also the PHA’s chairman, admitted that this was the first time damages were claimed from any political party.

“We charged for damages, not for rent of the public meeting,” he said.

“After receiving money from the PPP, the PHA decided to make it compulsory to charge for damages from those holding a public meeting in Liaquat Bagh in the future. I will ensure that the ruling PTI will also pay the damages if occurred in their public meeting at the venue,” he added.

The chairman claimed that the government had worked hard to turn the city neat and green but PPP destroyed it by holding that public meeting.

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