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KARACHI: PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday claimed that his party would “sweep general elections” in Karachi as the people of the country’s largest city would exercise their right to vote for the “first time without any coercion and intimidation”.

Chairing a meeting to discuss the election strategy and campaigning in Karachi with senior party leaders, the PPP chairman apparently maintained his tone against the beleaguered Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and without naming any party he credited the last government of the PPP for setting Karachi free from “namaloom afraad” [unknown persons].

“Karachi has been freed from the clutches of namaloom afraad and due to initiatives and efforts of the last PPP government, peace has been restored in the city to a great extent,” said a statement issued from Bilawal House after the meeting. “The people of Karachi will be exercising their right of franchise for the first time without any coercion and intimidation.”

Promises to transform metropolis into ‘a city of opportunities’

He said that the PPP would sweep the general elections in Karachi as it had served the people of the city, who could more easily differentiate between anti-PPP propaganda and the services rendered by the party for the metropolis despite having lesser mandate.

When it comes to elections in Karachi, it is not the first time that the PPP chairman made the MQM-P target of his speeches and statements.

In May 2018, Mr Bhutto-Zardari labelled the largest party in terms of its mandate from urban Sindh as a “terrorist party” and accused Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar as the director responsible for the May 12, 2007 carnage. Mr Akhtar was at the time the adviser to the Sindh chief minister on home affairs.

In the fresh statement he again employed the same rhetoric. “The PPP chairman urged the party leaders and workers from Karachi to step up a campaign and take the message of the party to every door in the city that we will transform it into a city of opportunities for all and sundry residing here.”

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018