SUKKUR: Dispelling the impression about the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) having been inactive even in an environment of high politics witnessed in the just concluded Punjab by-elections, senior PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah has said “what is going on these days is children’s game ... let there be the general elections in the country and the PPP will show its might”.

Speaking to the media at his residence late on Sunday evening, Mr Shah said the local government elections were a mini-event in the democratic process.

“Let juniors participate in and enjoy such events, though they undeniably have great importance,” he said, and explained that the PPP would sweep the LG elections without putting in much effort.

Commenting on the NA-122 by-election results, Mr Shah, who is Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, said a real democrat must accept the results of an election whatever they might be. Those who did not have sportsmanship, should better quit politics, he said. “People will see the PPP in its full form in general elections, he repeated.

Mr Shah observed that both the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) spent millions in their respective election campaigns but the Election Commission miserably failed to take any notice although the PPP kept drawing its attention towards the flagrant violation of the code of conduct.

In reply to a question about the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s return to elected houses, Mr Shah described the development as ‘a victory of democracy’. To the PPP, it was a pleasant development, he said. “The MQM shall not be pushed against the wall,” he added.

Regarding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s planned visit to the United States, the opposition leader said it came at a time when some serious developments were being witnessed within the region and the neighbouring countries had closely set their eyes on such visits. He [Mr Sharif] must take the parliament into confidence about his parleys in Washington, he stressed.

PML-N’ s power projects

Mr Shah said he was not impressed by the federal government’s rhetoric about its power projects.

“No end to loadshedding till 2018 is in sight, rather the power crisis in the country is deepening with each passing day and will continue to deepen further. We in the interior of Sindh are already enduring up to 20 hours of outages a day,” he said, adding that the situation was devastating people’s routine life and livelihoods. It’s destroying Sindh’s economy, he added.

He recalled that the PML-N had first vowed to bring an end to the loadshedding within a few months, then it started talking of a year and now it has surrendered by declaring that the crisis could not be overcome in the remaining period of its current tenure.

Mr Shah remarked that the Sahiwal coal project would prove to be another Nandipur misadventure. “Neither coal is going to be explored nor is the [Sahiwal] project taking off,” he said, and warned that attempts to execute the project would ultimately undermine the agriculture sector in Sahiwal as a fallout of coal exploration.

LG polls schedule

The senior PPP leader said that the local government elections should be held as per schedule but anyone having any issue could approach the provincial government, which would eventually took it up with the Election Commission.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2015

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