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Sindh United Party chairman Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah addresses the participants at the rally organised against corruption on Sunday.—Online
Sindh United Party chairman Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah addresses the participants at the rally organised against corruption on Sunday.—Online

KARACHI: Condemning the culture of corruption, religious extremism and terrorism in the country, Sindh United Party chief Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah has said Pakistan cannot move forward without getting rid of opportunist politicians.

He was addressing a rally on Sharea Iraq near the Passport Office on Sunday afternoon. The veteran politician led a ‘Sindh March’ from the Numaish traffic intersection to Saddar.

Holding party flags and shouting slogans, participants in the rally came here from different parts of the province.

Asks intelligence agencies to stop arresting political activists in Sindh

The slogans the participants raised during the rally included Jiye Sindh, Go Zardari Go and Sindh Jo Sain, Jalal Shah Sain.

A stage was set on a container, which was decorated with a big banner having portraits of the late G.M. Syed and his grandson, Mr Shah. Others seated include chief guest Haji Shafi Muhammad Jamote of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, SUP leader Syed Zain Shah, Dr Niaz Kalani, Roshan Abro, Khalil Jan Sarhandi, Dr Dodo Mehri, Samreen Bhutto, Mir Ali Thebo and poet Bedil Masroor.

Speaking on the occasion, the SUP chief recalled that the country was ruled either by the PML-N, PPP or the army during its 70-year existence and as such none of them could absolve themselves from the current internal and external problems Pakistan was faced with.

Referring to the much-controversial new accountability law in Sindh, Mr Shah said that the provincial government had got passed a new law from the assembly to exclude provincial departments from the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Bureau just to protect over the 150 corrupt officials and ministers, who were facing corruption cases.

He alleged that between 500 and 700 members of the ruling party or their loyal bureaucrats were involved in corruption.

“By changing the law they want to pass time until another NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] is signed with the federal government for more corruption,” he added.

He recalled that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif had signed a seven-point agreement with the SUP. Two main points related to making Pakistan a true federation and action against the corrupt. However, he failed to honour his commitment, he added.

Highlighting the need to eliminate the culture of corruption, Mr Shah presented himself for accountability and asked the rulers to start a probe against politicians from him.

He said his party would start one-point anti-corruption drive from September 1 by contacting all those parties against the corruption.

He also announced that he would become one of the interveners in petitions challenging the repeal of the applicability of the National Accountability Ordinance in Sindh.

Mr Shah appealed to educated and enlightened youths in Sindh as well as nationalists to become part of mainstream politics before going into isolation and work for the greater good of Sindh and serve its people by joining the SUP as Sindh could progress only if they come forward and serve the people.

He also asked the security agencies not to arrest common political activist or remove their party flags as it was not their job. “This is Sindh, not Kashmir...Let Sindh remains Sindh and not treat it like Kashmir as the arrest of political workers would only push the province towards a new crisis.”

Commenting about problems of Karachi, he said there were three basic issues pertaining to supply of potable water and sewerage system, cleanliness and transport.

He said all the three issued were related to local government, but the entire provincial government and representatives of the city government had failed to deliver. “Billion of rupees given by the World Bank to solve these problems had been swallowed by corruption. The water meant for supply to the citizens was being sold by the government and municipal corporation. They represent the people but failed to clean the city.”

Earlier, Syed Zain Shah traced the brief history of 70 years of Pakistan and said that the country was facing multiple crises today because the establishment preferred opportunist politicians over those who were committed to principles.

He said that Pakistan could only survive if the 1943 resolution adopted by the Sindh Assembly in favour of Pakistan be practised in its true spirit, transparent elections be held, corrupt and plunderers of public money not only be convicted but the properties they had made be confiscated only then Pakistan can progress and prosper.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2017