KARACHI: Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the Pakistan Peoples Party chairman, has accused the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government of ignoring Sindh, including Karachi, despite winning a mandate from the metropolis and also called its ally the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan a “terrorist” organisation.

He was speaking to the local leaders of the party here on Thursday.

“Amid the fast-deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, we won’t want this city to go back to that era of terror and extremism from which we came out after so much struggle and sacrifices,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari. “This is only possible when the PPP would have the representation of this city and not like the past when a terrorist organisation was ruling Karachi and the fire of terrorism had spread to every corner of the country.”

He called the current scenario a “prime opportunity” for the PPP workers to strengthen their base in Karachi and become a political force of the city before the local bodies election. He also predicted next government of his party in the country and for that the PPP workers in Karachi had to work more to strengthen the constituencies.

‘Let me tell you that the PPP would form the next government and for that we would need seats from Karachi’

“This is a prime opportunity for the PPP,” he said. “The rule of terrorist organisation MQM is over. The PTI came as second to the MQM, but we also gave them a tough time. We defeated them in every by-poll in Karachi, including in Malir, Keamari and Baldia Town. We would throw out this selected government. Let me tell you that the PPP would form the next government and for that we would need seats from Karachi. You have to work on a war footing. Forget your internal differences for the next six to eight months. We have to fight for a much larger cause and against major forces.”

Situation in Afghanistan

He warned that the fast-deteriorating situation in Afghanistan could badly affect peace in Pakistan and Karachi, being the biggest city of Pakhtun population in the world, could be the centre of that “blowback” where peace was at risk again.

The PPP chairman, though addressing leaders of the PPP Karachi at CM House, focused on Afghanistan in his speech calling it crucial for his party workers in the city to be ready for the upcoming challenge where they would be needed the most to ensure peace through their strong organisational structure, roots in the people and power of local government. Otherwise, it would be difficult for his party, which he called the only political force that had the capability to meet such a huge challenge, would not be able to return the desired results.

The PPP sounded determined about the future local government in Sindh, in general, and Karachi, in particular.

The PPP chairman recently returned from the US with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah already being there, fuelling speculations about the presence of two key PPP leaders at a time when the Biden administration was reviewing its strategy for South Asia.

“Pakistan has to face many tests in the days to come,” he said. “There’s only one party which can handle ... this situation and that’s the PPP,” he observed.

Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2021

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