PTI chalks out strong strategy to counter opposition in Sindh

Updated 26 Oct 2020

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In this Sept 23 file photo, PTI MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh speaks to reporters outside Sindh Secretariat. — APP
In this Sept 23 file photo, PTI MPA Haleem Adil Sheikh speaks to reporters outside Sindh Secretariat. — APP

KARACHI: Amid an ongoing anti-government campaign by the opposition, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has decided to take up the challenge “politically” by marking Karachi and other parts of Sindh as their battleground, where it is set to launch a campaign that would see rallies, demonstrations and massive mobilisation to build Islamabad’s narrative on the issues, sources and party leaders said on Sunday.

The decision to counter the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and face the recent tussle with the provincial government of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) over the arrest of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Captain Muhammad Safdar, development of islands off Karachi’s coast and the recent crisis in Sindh police in an aggressive way was reached at a recent meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and party’s lawmakers from Karachi who were led by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail in Islamabad.

PM assigns MNAs and MPAs from Sindh the task of giving tough time to PPP on its own turf

“The PTI lawmakers [MNAs and MPAs] from Karachi met the PM on Friday afternoon,” said a party leader who was part of the meeting. “The very next day [Saturday] of the meeting, Asad Umar [minister for planning, development and special initiatives] visited Hyderabad, went to the zonal office of coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and held a number of other engagements. It’s a kind of soft launch of the campaign. Omar Ayub Khan [minister for energy] is coming next Friday.”

Sindh Strategy Committee formed

PTI’s Sindh leadership after returning from its one-day visit to the federal capital sounded confident and energised to accomplish the task and achieve desired results that mainly revolved around its anti-PPP narrative.

Background interviews with PTI lawmakers and leaders suggest that the party’s campaign in Karachi and other parts of the province would also have blessings from Islamabad as the federal ministers would also become part of its political exercise.

The parliamentary party leader of the PTI in the Sindh Assembly, Haleem Adil Sheikh, however, has more to share after attending the meeting in Islamabad.

Mr Sheikh, a staunch opponent of PPP, said it’s time to “expose PPP” with three particular areas in focus of the centre’s ruling party.

“Formally, a Sindh Strategy Committee has been set up and things have started moving,” Mr Sheikh, who is also a central vice president of PTI, told Dawn. “First there’s an area of corruption and bad governance. We would soon publish white papers of each provincial institution. Then there’s the issue of twin islands along Karachi’s coast which the Sindh government has made controversial only for political gains and then the recent PPP-Sindh police connivance to malign state of Pakistan and undermine the federal government.”

He said the PTI lawmakers briefed the PM about the plan to expose PPP, its governance and “lies” which it had been making constantly.

The people of Sindh would see a massive mass mobilisation across the province that included rallies, protest demonstrations and other political activities engaging masses and building PTI’s Sindh narrative,” he said.

One PTI minister to visit Sindh every week

“It was decided that any one of the federal ministers would visit Karachi and other parts of Sindh every week,” he said. “It’s no secret that the PPP government is involved in huge corruption and this fact should be kept repeated before the people of Sindh. Similarly, the way it has politicised the island issue, it has proved its anti-development ideology just to fail the federal government. The whole province would soon reverberate with the anti-corruption and bad governance slogans.”

The most sensitive move of the PTI’s upcoming narrative is against the Sindh police after a controversy over the arrest of Capt Safdar and subsequent reports regarding alleged “kidnapping” of the provincial police chief.

“The Sindh police and its few officers are part of this game which was designed against the federal government. Who doesn’t know Mushtaq Mahar [Sindh police chief]? He was the first and last choice of the PPP government for the office of the IGP. The PPP brought him in and now it’s time for him to pay them back,” alleged Mr Sheikh.

Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2020