Shehbaz visits rain-hit Karachi with PML-N leaders; call on Bilawal, Zardari

Published September 2, 2020
PPP and PML-N leaders address press conference in Karachi.  — DawnNewsTV
PPP and PML-N leaders address press conference in Karachi. — DawnNewsTV

Leaders of PPP and PML-N on Wednesday reiterated their commitment to using all "democratic and constitutional ways" available to send the government packing.

PPP leaders Naveed Qamar and Farhatullah Babar and PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal and Marriyum Aurangzeb were addressing a joint press conference after a meeting between delegations of both parties following Shehbaz Sharif's arrival in Karachi. Sharif, along with his party leaders, had met PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Karachi that aimed to "express [...] solidarity" with the residents following the flooding caused by torrential rains in the city.

The chairperson of the ruling party of Sindh, who has yet to visit the affected areas, welcomed the leader of the opposition at his home in the port city.

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During the press conference, both parties berated the federal government and lamented that "the fundamental rights of Pakistanis were being usurped". PML-N's Iqbal said that both parties have agreed to "struggle for the supremacy of the Constitution, independent courts and free media".

"If [we are to] run this country and make it successful, it is only possible if we blindly follow the 1973 Constitution that is in line with the vision of Quaid-i-Azam," he said.

Addressing the differences between the opposition and government over proposed laws pertaining to money laundering, terror financing etc, Iqbal said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had thanked Sharif in a letter after similar bills were passed by both houses earlier. But the opposition had blocked the passage of newly introduced bills because the government wanted to pass a "black law" under the garb of complying with the Financial Action Task Force requirements.

PPP's Babar seconded Iqbal's statement and alleged that through the new law, the government wanted to "legalise" people being picked up without charges.

Both PPP and PML-N will attend the Rehbar Committee meeting tomorrow, where the date for the multi-party conference will also be decided, it was announced.

The opposition leaders said that the government's accountability process was one-sided and that no one affiliated with the ruling party was being held accountable or questioned.

Iqbal also refrained from criticising the PPP in response to a question regarding Karachi's poor infrastructure, saying that Karachi had witnessed record rainfall last week which had led to urban flooding.

The city was facing a "calamity", he said and added that his party did not want to "play the blame game". The former planning minister said that the federal government should step up and offer a package for the people of Sindh who were affected by the devastating rain and also help in repairing the infrastructure.

Last week, a three-day spell of record-breaking monsoon rains played havoc with Karachi’s infrastructure, flooding all key roads, submerging underpasses and streets and paralysing all segments of life. The crisis-like situation forced the Sindh government to invite the intervention of Prime Minister Imran Khan who ordered immediate rescue operations for thousands of affected people.

Many areas in the metropolis are still inundated with water and are without power. Residents of affected areas no more have access to clean drinking water and are awaiting the government to drain the water.

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