KARACHI: Unveiling his party’s 10-point agenda for Karachi to regain the city’s past glory, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Saturday that he would be contesting next general election from the city.
“To bring Karachi among the greatest cities of the world, we have concrete agenda for Karachi and for the same cause, I am, this time, contesting from this city,” announced Mr Khan while addressing a mammoth rally at a ground near Aladin Park.
Mr Khan took potshots at both of his main political rivals — ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari.
He accused Mr Sharif of running a malicious campaign against the country’s armed forces and Mr Zardari of plundering the national exchequer.
He criticised the PPP and PML-N leaders for being involved in rampant corrupt practices. He rejected the assertion of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza that development would be affected if corruption was eradicated.
PTI chief lashes out at Nawaz for maligning national institutions
The PTI chairman said China had different experience where hundreds of thousands of politicians and bureaucrats were put behind bars for being involved in corruption
He invited the National Accountability Bureau to investigate people in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, saying his party’s government had no stain of corruption unlike in Punjab and Sindh where the those in power did not tolerate NAB investigations against their graft practices.
He also assailed Nawaz Sharif for echoing Narendra Modi by speaking against “our own army”.
The PTI chief said that apart from the national agenda against rampant corruption, his party had other plans exclusively for Karachi.
He said water was the most serious issue facing Karachi, wondering a city which contributed 65 per cent to the national exchequer was heavily deficient in water supply.
Mr Khan blamed all sorts of mafias creating water scarcity in the city, which were being supported by the leaderships of the parties ruling the roost. He said the local government and administration system needed to be changed.
“We’ll introduce direct mayoral election in the city when we’ll be in the government. My party would be nominating a person for the city’s mayor who should have greater experience in administration.
He said as his party’s government had achieved in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by bringing 150,000 children from private to public sector schools, the same model would be introduced in Sindh — Karachi in particular — where 70pc of children were enrolled with private schools.
Besides, hospitals would be improved with better administrative set-up to ensure people get equally standard healthcare as they did in private hospitals.
The PTI chairman said that law and order was the greatest problem of the city where police officers like Rao Anwar, who was alleged to have killed 440 people in fake encounters, were killing people at the behest of their masters.
He said that not a single person had been killed in KP in police encounters. Similarly, there were no cases against political opponents unlike what was happening in Punjab and Sindh. “I have been implicated in four terrorism cases in Punjab.”
Mr Khan assured the business community of congenial environment in the city if his party won elections in the province.
Similarly, he said Pakistan was among the countries with most youthful population, yet it was not being cultivated properly. He said playgrounds were a must for a healthy young population, which his party would construct in future.
He spoke about environmental dangers to the country, Karachi in particular being the industrial and financial hub of the country.
He said heavy tree plantation was necessary to ensure that the city should not offer just concrete as it did at present.
The PTI chief also mentioned better sewerage system, Karachi Circular Railway and greater employment opportunities as part of his Karachi plan.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2018