KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari claimed on Sunday that the PPP-led Sindh government had restored peace in Karachi after eliminating terrorists, but now everyone was trying to hijack the mandate of the city.
He termed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder two sides of the same coin and said people this time would not accept another Altaf Hussain in the form of Imran Khan.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari was addressing a public meeting organised by the PPP at FC Area Ground in the MQM stronghold of Liaquatabad after 44 years. A huge banner inscribed with the slogan “Peaceful Karachi for all people” was displayed at the stage.
Says people won’t accept another Altaf Hussain in the form of Imran Khan
The PPP chairman said that earlier Karachi was controlled from London and now efforts were being made to run it from Banigala, a reference to the PTI chief’s residence. He said the PPP neither believed in politics of victimisation nor was it a party of ‘target killers’, adding that Karachi was no more being run through sectors or units. He said the PPP government was making efforts to restore Karachi’s past image as the ‘city of lights’.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari promised that if the people of Karachi voted for his party, he would rid them of the MQM for good. After the 2018 elections, neither the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nor the PTI, but the PPP would form the government with the support of people, he claimed.
He said it was the same Liaquatabad area where earlier bullets were fired and people killed, and today all those martyrs’ faces were before him who laid down their lives for the sake of democracy.
He said some forces did not like relationship between Karachi and Bhuttos, adding that Taliban and their ‘brothers’ did not like peace in Karachi. Criticising both Altaf and Imran, he said the former used to call strikes and the latter sit-ins.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari alleged that the PTI government had during its five-year term failed to establish any new university or hospital in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “Where is your (Imran) new Pakistan?” he asked.
He said Nawaz Sharif had also made tall promises with Karachiites, but failed to complete one Green Line bus project. The PML-N supreme leader had made promises in Karachi, but implemented projects elsewhere, he added.
He said those claiming to turn Karachi into New York ought to first clean ‘Gawalmandi gutter’. “Mian Sahib, if you talk about giving respect to the vote, you first give respect to the vote yourself. Had you given respect to the vote of Karachi, workers, women and the Constitution, you would have commanded respect.”
The PPP chief said Karachi once used to be a city of peace, lights, thinkers and intellectuals, but its people were ordered to sell their TV sets and purchase weapons, and terrorism became an identity of Karachi.
“In every election, we used to come to you [Karachiites], but you always preferred others; they occupied, while we served; they sow fear while we brought happiness; they took lives while we offered our lives.
“Once again I have come to you. I am son of Karachi, your agony is my agony and your happiness is my happiness. My victory will be your victory. Join the hands of PPP to do politics of federation,” he appealed.
He said the youth should come forward and play their role in the progress of Karachi and the country. “If Karachi makes progress, the country will make progress. For this progress, I need your support. I need your vote; if you side with me I will change the fate of this city; not only lights will return, I will ensure free education, quality treatment and water supply to the city,” he promised.
PPP leaders Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Senator Raza Rabbani, Senator Sherry Rehman, Shehla Raza, Prof N.D. Khan, Saeed Ghani, Waqar Mehdi and Javed Nagori also addressed the public gathering.
Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2018