KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari chided on Wednesday both the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) when he called the ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa “friends of terrorists”, while labelling the Muttahida a “terrorists’ party”. Moreover, the PPP chief came down hard on the founding leaders of both organisations for their “politics of hatred”.

The PPP chairman also challenged PTI chief Imran Khan to contest the coming elections from Karachi to taste an “exemplary defeat” as the people of the metropolis would not “experience again” the politics of hatred they had done for three decades while giving vote to the MQM.

Maintaining his tone over the rift-hit MQM-P after visiting the residence of slain PPP MPA Abdullah Murad on his 14th death anniversary, the party chairman took the opportunity to club the Muttahida with the PTI, which had recently announced that it would field its chairman, Imran Khan, as one of the candidates from Karachi in the coming elections.

‘We don’t want another Altaf Hussain, so we will not let Imran Khan win’

“I want him [Imran Khan] to contest from Karachi,” he replied to a question about his views on the PTI decision. “I even request you [Imran Khan] to please do, but let me tell you that you will face an exemplary defeat in Karachi, because the people of Karachi do not accept politics of hatred. The people of Karachi have already experienced politics of hatred. So we don’t want another Altaf Hussain, so we will not let Imran Khan win.”

He called Imran Khan a “friend of terrorists” and Karachiites would never accept such a leader as the Taliban-led militancy had claimed many innocent lives in Karachi.

He also referred to the 2007 Karsaz bomb attack allegedly carried out by the Taliban that killed more over 200 people. Earlier, the PPP chairman without naming it, called the MQM-P the “terrorist party” while recalling the March 2004 assassination of Abdullah Murad in Malir.

“Abdullah Murad sacrificed his life for democracy and the people of this city,” he said. “He was one of those true Karachiites who contested the 2002 elections and despite rigging by a terrorist party he won the seat, but the terrorists didn’t accept those results and killed him. These are sacrifices of people like Abdullah Murad and other martyrs of democracy that Karachiites are witnessing change.”

Going strong and consistent against what was until recently the largest single party in the urban areas of Sindh, the PPP chairman’s tone is setting the trend of his party’s election campaign in cities, mainly in Karachi and Hyderabad, where it would most probably face the MQM-P as the key contestant. Only earlier this week, Mr Bhutto-Zardari had remarked that the time of the MQM-P was over and now he was sounding more aggressive against the party.

“We believe democracy is the best revenge,” he said. “So we would avenge every drop of our blood in the 2018 elections. We would defeat the terrorist party across Karachi. And with the PPP, the people of Karachi would bring the lights back to the city. The people of this city are well aware that only we would solve their problems.”

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2018

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