Karachi: A large contingent of security forces surrounded former Pakistan President Asif Zardari`s private residence here on Saturday after Imran Khan`s party said it would launch a campaign to demolish a wall outside the building.
Policemen and paramilitary troops surrounded Bilawal House, named after Zardari`s son, to avert a possible clash between workers of Khan`s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party and the Pakistan People`s Party.
Hundreds of workers of the Tehrik-e-Insaf and PPP began assembling outside Bilawal House this evening. To reduce tensions, authorities opened one side of the road that had been blocked for years for security reasons.
"We have opened one side of the road for normal use and set up CCTV cameras for security purposes. There is a large contingent of police to avert any clash," police officer Aamir Farooqi said.
Khan`s party announced yesterday it intended to demolish the wall outside Bilawal House, which it claimed hampered normal life and traffic.
The party said it would organise a protest near Bilawal House and demolish the high wall built when Zardari was the President.
Zardari completed his five-year term earlier this year. The PPP was routed in the general election but it is power in southern Sindh province.
PPP leader Najmi Alam warned there would be clashes if workers of Khan`s party try to bring down the wall forcibly.
"The Bilawal House is the residence of our martyred leader Benazir Bhutto and we will not tolerate anyone trying to create problems or play politics with it," he said.
Tehrik-e-Insaf parliamentarian Arif Alvi claimed the wall was built illegally and the Sindh High Court had ordered its demolition. "We are just following court orders," he said.
Alvi claimed security arrangements outside Bilawal House were illegal and a source of nuisance for local residents. "This is not politics, this is about people`s rights. The protests will continue tomorrow and eventually this wall will come down," he said.
Bhutto, who headed the PPP when she was assassinated in 2007, had moved to Bilawal House after her marriage to Zardari though the official residence of the Bhutto family is 70 Clifton in another part of the same area.