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Karachiites are no strangers to promises that are made every five years by politicians — and which never see the light of day. "We'll give you better roads." "We'll solve your water woes."

This time around, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif has also thrown his hat into the already crowded ring: "We'll turn Karachi into Paris," he said ambitiously, as he launched his party’s election campaign from Karachi.

PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif waves to supporters during an election campaign meeting on Monday.—AFP
PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif waves to supporters during an election campaign meeting on Monday.—AFP

His packed day started at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) office where he interacted with business and industry leaders, after which he paid his respects at the Quaid’s mausoleum, met local PML-N leaders and prominent citizens at a local hotel, and then visited his constituency NA-249, comprising areas of Baldia Town.

The PML-N bigwig said that if another opportunity was given to his party, the federal government would make special allocation for Karachi’s development (promises, promises).

He recalled that in 1997, when he was inducted as the chief minister of Punjab for the first time, he had pledged to make Lahore into a Paris-like city — a goal which, according to him, he had achieved.

Here's the problem with Shahbaz's promise: Karachi doesn't need to turn into a 'Paris' (naans trump croissants) or into a 'Dubai'. It just needs leaders committed to helping it become a better version of itself.