President Zardari graced Birmingham with his presence today as the Presidential tour of Europe reached its final destination. The President was slated to address the overall Pakistani community but in truth it was a PPP bash for PPP workers only.
The Birmingham bash did not pass off without incident and included a substantial public demonstration against his UK visit. However by the end of the day, the event and the Zardari speech were overshadowed by the alleged shoe attack on the President. It seems that President Zardari was the recipient of a ‘shoecide attack’ from an elderly man in the audience who has yet to be named, however more information is set to come forward in the coming days.
As an demonstrator at the Zardari rally I do wish to inform OP readers of the now infamous Zardari Birmingham bash and it particular the anti-Zardari demonstration. As is usual for Pakistani politics, the demonstration included some catchy slogans and chants. Indeed the anti-Zardari messages were numerous and humourous and included many examples of ‘Pinglish’ as readers will decipher from the below photos that I took:
The best slogan was of course the first one that made reference to Zardari’s indifference to the plight of ordinary Pakistanis which drew parallels with the Munna Bhai character of Bollywood fame.
In terms of the demonstration it was a cross party event with Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf in the ascendancy whilst civil society activists were aplenty. The police security cordon was tight and prevented the demonstrators from reaching the President and thankfully the demonstrators adhered to it. The following photos show some of the demonstrators and the security cordon as shown below:
That said the PPP supporters were out in force and were plenty in number and passionate as ever as shown below:
On a seperate note it was encouraging to see that the Pakistani Christian community had also arrived at the demonstration and they too bought their own viewpoints to the event in particular on the blasphemy law, as the photos show below:
All in all, the demonstration was peaceful and as polite as it could be given the strength in feeling amongst the British Pakistani community against the Zardari tour of Europe whilst Pakistan’s people remain under water. With the now infamous shoe attack, President Zardari’s Birmingham bash is sure to be etched in the collective Pakistani memory bank for a long time that is for sure.