KARACHI: In what appears to be an indirect reference to the end of tenure of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-led local bodies in the metropolis, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said the era of those who ruled the city of Quaid through terrorism had ended and now PPP workers will run Karachi and solve its basic issues.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said this while speaking to his party’s workers gathered in Karachi’s Central and West districts on Sunday.
The PPP chief, for a second consecutive day, visited different parts of the metropolis — this time North Nazimabad’s KDA Chowrangi and Surjani Town’s Yousuf Goth — to assure the rain-hit people that the Sindh government “is with them”.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s entourage was showered with rose petals when he arrived in North Nazimabad and then at Yousuf Goth. He was accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, provincial ministers Nasir Shah, Saeed Ghani, party leaders Rashid Rabbani, Waqar Mehdi and others.
‘Era of those who ruled city through terrorism over’
Without naming the MQM-P whose local government set-up had last month completed its four-year tenure in Karachi, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that the era of those ruling Karachi through terrorism had been over and now “jiyalas will run Karachi and solve all of its basic issues”.
Talking about an ongoing campaign to clean and remove encroachments from the city’s major storm-water drains, the PPP chief announced that no one would be rendered homeless in the anti-encroachment drive.
He promised that alternative residences would be provided to all those facing threat of displacement.
He said drainage system in the Central district had been affected badly due to construction work on the Green Line bus rapid transit system project. “We will make it right... we will clean the drains... we will work with impartiality.”
He asked the government not to demolish houses until the affectees were given alternative places to live.
Addressing the masses, he said the Sindh government was with them and it would compensate the losses of the people caused by the recent rains.
He said that Sindh could take back from the Centre what was rightfully its own under the head of National Finance Commission Award if the people of the province supported him.
The PPP chairman asked the Supreme Court to hand over the money meant for Karachi to the Sindh government so that problems being faced by its people could be solved.
He said that it was very important that the PPP formed the federal government so that it could give provinces their right under the NFC, increase salaries and pensions and provide employment to the people.
In the context of Defence and Martyrs’ Day, he pointed out that it was former president Asif Ali Zardari who raised the salary of soldiers by 175 per cent during his term as president.
Unlike Saturday, Mr Bhutto-Zardari chose not to speak about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Rs1,110 billion Karachi Transformation Plan during his rallies.
He had welcomed the PM’s package on Saturday, but claimed that his party’s government in Sindh would actually be contributing Rs800bn against the centre’s share of Rs300bn.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2020