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Benazir’s guard denied entry to Presidency

THE PPP leadership once again ditched a party loyalist and the injured guard of slain party Chairperson Benazir Bhutto who was left high and dry at the gate of the President’s House on Monday and denied entrance to the Presidency.

Salim, the guard of Benazir Bhutto, who was one of the victims of the December 27 tragedy, was promised a meeting with party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari by Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz and PPP Lahore President Chaudhry Asghar a few days ago.

The PPP leaders had requested him to remove his protest camp from The Mall, assuring him that his grievances would be addressed and he would be taken to the President’s House, Islamabad, as per his demand on August 17.

However, the injured guard, who was confined to a wheelchair after the Liaqat Bagh incident, was shocked when on reaching Islamabad he was denied entrance to the Presidency and was told by the protocol officials that no request of meeting had been sent by the PPP leaders to the president.

Salim Khan, also know as Salim Guard, father of nine and guard of BB, while talking to The News said he had set up a protest camp on The Mall to draw the attention of party leaders who had completed neglected him after the Dec 27 tragedy.

He said some financial assistance was given to his family in the beginning when he was under treatment in a hospital.

He said he had spent several months in hospital where in July, 2008, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had assured him of financial aid but till date, he was just waiting for the pledges to be fulfilled.

Salim said both Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz and PPP Lahore President Chaudhry Asghar had visited his camp and requested him to remove it while promising his meeting with party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on August 17. He said the commitment was made by the party leaders and he, who could not even move without a wheelchair, went to Islamabad on the night of August 16. He said he was offered Rs 5,000 through a party local leader on the behalf of the Punjab minister but he refused and only insisted on his meeting with the president.

Salim said that after reaching Islamabad on Monday morning, he contacted the Punjab senior minister who told him the request had been put forward to the President’s House and he should reach the there where protocol officials would receive him. However, Salim said, he was shocked when he was told at the gate to the Presidency that no request had been sent by PPP Punjab leaders and the president was not in Islamabad.

Salim said it was appalling for him that a handicapped like him was deceived by the party leaders and even after reaching Islamabad in much pain, his visit remained futile. He protested against the attitude of party leaders and demanded the party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari take notice of the deception. He said he and other party workers were feeling lonely after the death of Benazir Bhutto.

No sound explanation was offered by the party leadership which, after being contacted, repeated that Salim’s grievances would be addressed.

Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmed was contacted several times by this scribe but he did not receive the phone call.

PPP Lahore President Chaudhry Muhammed Asghar, while talking to The News, stated that party had not neglected its workers. He said there was a party convention in Lahore on August 18 that was why he could not visit Islamabad along with Salim. However, he assured that he would ensure Salim’s meeting with the president on August 19.

Source: The News

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