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PESHAWAR: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has alleged that leaders of both the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf are involved in massive corruption and they have to face court cases and public wrath in the elections.

Addressing a public meeting on Sunday in connection with the by-election in NA-4 (Peshawar), the PPP leader said that recently-initiated development works in the constituency were a proof that the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments had started spending public funds just to win the election; otherwise they had forgotten the people of this under-developed area in the suburbs of Peshawar over the past four years.

Referring to the claims of Imran Khan against corruption, he wondered if the PTI chief was really sincere about eradicating corruption, why the KP government had removed the head of the provincial Ehtesab Commission. He said all segments of society, including shopkeepers, millers, labourers, peasants, doctors and nurses, were angry with the rulers.

PPP chairman slams KP govt for removing Ehtesab Commission head

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that hundreds of mills and factories had been closed, while textile mills and other industrial units were on the verge of collapse and thousands of labourers had lost their jobs. The growers were not getting due prices for their cotton and prices were touching the sky, but the rulers were making tall claims about improvement in the economy, he added.

Mr Bilawal-Bhutto lamented that “growth” was seen only in the assets of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and “progress was made only by him and his cronies”.

Similarly, he said Imran Khan had failed to bring about change in KP and was trying to hoodwink the people. He said Mr Khan was found of using abusive language against senior politicians, wondering how a person who did not mind his language could lead the nation.

The PPP chairman said that Mr Khan neither had any idea nor programme to develop the country as he had failed to deliver in KP, adding that all institutions in the province were involved in corruption and this was the PTI’s slogan of change.

He said that those who had claimed to eliminate corruption within 90 days could not even appoint a chairman of the Ehtesab Commission for the last three years. He alleged that contracts of the KP government were helping run Imran Khan’s kitchen and Jahangir Tareen’s aircraft.

The PPP chairman said corruption was going on under the nose of a person who always presented himself as an angel to the world and all projects initiated in KP were falling victim to corruption.

He rejected the PTI chief’s claims of improvement in KP’s health and education sectors, challenging him to disclose the names of 100 students who had shifted from private schools to government schools. He said teachers and doctors were holding protests on a daily basis because of wrong policies of the PTI-led provincial government.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari criticised the KP government for what he called privatising schools and hospitals to rob the poor of these facilities. He said the PTI government had failed to construct a single hospital in Khyber Pakhtun­khwa over the past four years, but it was criticising the PPP government in Sindh which, he claimed, had constructed hundreds of hospitals to provide free medical facilities to the poor.

He accused the PTI chief of using resources of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for promoting his politics in Punjab. “The ‘champion of allegations’ is a silent spectator to corruption in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he taunted.

About the Peshawar by-poll, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PPP had fielded an educated young candidate who was fully aware of the problems of the area, adding that since people had already tested the PTI and the PML-N, this time they would vote for Asad Gulzar.

The party’s provincial president Mohammad Humayun Khan, central general secretary Nayar Hussain Bukhari, Faisal Karim Kundi Azam Afridi, Nighat Orakzai and Asif Gulzar also addressed the public meeting.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2017