KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi has praised the Pakistan Peoples Party’s government in Sindh for conceiving and getting passed a law to protect religious minorities and termed it a ‘historic achievement’.
“Passage of this bill ensuring protection to religious minorities is an achievement of historic proportion for which the PPP’s Sindh government should get the tribute it deserves,” he said while addressing a ‘Meet the Press’ programme organised by the Karachi Press Club on its premises on Monday.
But there was no such development in sight at the Centre to introduce such a groundbreaking legislation, Mr Qureshi deplored.
He said the parliamentary electoral reforms committee was a ‘special gift’ given to people by the PTI, which got the panel set up against the backdrop of its 126-day-long sit-in in Islamabad two years ago.
Predicts that his party will replace PPP in Punjab in confronting PML-N in coming elections
“Three members of the committee belong to our party and they are playing an active role in the process of introduction of electoral reforms in the country.”
He said the PTI’s lawmakers were not behind others in taking part in legislation but the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was not giving them ample space to do that.
“Our party’s protest against the PML-N and its corrupt practices and the corrupt system in the country would continue,” he added.
He said Imran Khan was another popular leader after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had revived the tradition of mass movements and was taking every issue of national importance to the masses.
He said the PTI’s message was initially responded to in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab was another large support base of the party.
“It is no longer the PPP but the PTI which will appear as main rival of the PML-N in Punjab during coming elections,” Mr Qureshi predicted.
The PTI leader said his party was taking roots in Balochistan whereas Sindh was a fertile land (in political terms) yet hard labour was needed to win over the land of Sufis.
He said Pakistan needed better relations with Iran, Afghanistan and China and such ties with neighbouring India should be sought on the basis of equality and for bilateral peace.
He said the Kashmir issue had again attained significance yet Pakistan was not visible in the picture depicting what was happening in the held Valley.
Commenting on the situation in Karachi, he said those who had single-handedly ruled the city in the past were now running helter-skelter to seek shelter.
“They have been divided in four and are running for shelter. But the story is still incomplete: hitmen are still there. Peace has been restored in Karachi but the situation still needs improvement. Karachi is again calling for the PTI.”
He said his leader [Imran Khan] raised voice against corruption alone but that gave courage to everyone to make similar calls against the corrupt rulers.
“Nawaz Sharif has lost his case in the court of people, though he is contesting the one in the court of law.”
Before the 2013 general election, he said, the PTI was a ‘fan club’ but now it had become a leading mainstream political party.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2016