HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing the Kissan Rally on Monday.—INP
HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing the Kissan Rally on Monday.—INP

HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has urged the masses to help him oust what he called the puppet prime minister because he is insensitive to the plight of farmers.

The PPP leader said Imran Khan would have to go if Pakistan’s economy was to be saved. He warned of food insecurity crisis if agriculture economy was destroyed.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari was addressing a Kissan Rally at Fateh Chowk where peasants and farmers from entire Hyderabad division had gathered on Monday.

Alluding to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), he said that opponents were terming the Sindh Local Gover­n­ment (Amended) Act 2021 a black law because they were foreseeing their defeat in LG polls. “I want a jiyala mayor in Hyderabad,” he said amid applause.

PPP MNA Syed Naveed Qamar, Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Sindh Chief Min­ister Murad Ali Shah, MPAs Sharjeel Inam Memon and Abdul Jabbar Khan and Sindh Chamber of Agricul­ture president Miran Moha­m­mad Shah also addressed the rally.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said agricultural economy had been destroyed and the peasant was facing hunger. “Agriculture used to be backbone of Pakistan’s economy but the incompetent PM has broken this backbone as a result Pakistan is facing back to back crises.”

He said the farmers were not getting adequate prices for their produce. “The PM left farmers in the lurch during locust attack and didn’t do anything to ensure judicious distribution of water that affected the agricultural production. Now a crisis of fertiliser has hit the farming community.”

He said if the farmers didn’t get adequate price for their produce, consumers would later face problem in cities.

He said the PPP had planned to stage a long march from Karachi to Islamabad on Feb 27. “If masses rise, nobody can stop them from entering Islamabad. We will oust this government in a democratic, legal and constitutional way to establish Awami Raaj.”

He said a true people’s government would resolve problems otherwise it was destruction in the name of ‘change’.

Without naming the MQM, he said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s allies were out to undermine peace in Sindh. “People of Hyderabad are aware of their past. As long as ethnic organisations keep fomenting ethnic riots, we will not get our rights.”

Mr Bhutto-Zardari pledged to raise voice for all the people living in Sindh. “All of them are my brothers and all of us are one. I will not let anyone commit injustices against any community, be it Sindhi speaking, Urdu or Pushto speaking.” He urged the people to foil such conspiracies through their solidarity.

He said new LG system would give financial autonomy to cities. “The mayor would collect property tax from owners of big houses like me,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said.

He wondered how could they (MQM leaders) be sincere with the people when they had become disloyal to their ‘quaid’. He said they used to clap on anti-Pakistan slogans and confessed to their involvement in terrorist activities, alleging that they were enemies of people, Hyderabad and Sindh. “PPP wants prosperity of farmers, labourers and to ensure jobs for students and take care of pensioners,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah rejected the PM’s statement about the federal government’s investment in agriculture. He said the Asif Zardari-led government had raised wheat support price from Rs650 per 40kg to Rs950 per 40kg in 2008 and now price would be increased again by the Sindh government. He accused PTI government of harming wheat crop by creating urea crisis so that expensive wheat could be imported.

PPP sit-in in Karachi

The PPP on Monday announced that it would stage a sit-in outside Karachi Press Club on Jan 30 to protest against massive hike in the prices of essential products, including petrol and electricity, and also against shortage of gas and fertiliser in the country.

The provincial and Karachi chapter leaders of PPP made the announcement as they addressed participants of the Kissan March taken out from Malir district to Shahrah-i-Quaideen.

The Kissan March in Karachi and other parts of Sindh was held on the appeal of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to protest against urea shortage and other economic hardships faced by the growers in the country.

The PPP leaders who addressed the participants of Kissan March in Karachi said the party’s agitation drive would continue in the province till Feb 27 when Mr Bhutto-Zardari would lead a long march from the city to Islamabad against the anti-people government of the PTI.

They said Kissan March was merely a warming up activity in the run-up to the long march that would cause the eventual downfall of the PTI government.

Addressing the participants of Kissan March, Sindh Information and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani, who is also PPP Karachi president, said sheer incompetence on the part of the federal government was responsible for fertiliser shortage in the country.

He said the farmers’ march had been taken out in Karachi to show that the people did not have trust in the agricultural policies of the government.

The minister said the workers associated with the farm sector had taken to the streets in the city to secure their lawful rights denied to them by the government.

“The opposition parties in the province have been unduly attempting to assume control of Karachi,” he said.

Mr Ghani said that the opposition parties in the province had joined hands to protest against the provincial local government law but they had failed to raise their voice in favour of the oppressed growers, farm workers and the residents of Karachi.

He said the PPP had organised Kissan March to demonstrate the wrath of the people against ill-advised policies of the federal government and uncalled for agitation drive of the opposition parties in the province on the issue of the local government system.

The minister said the PPP had once again taken to streets all over the country against the shortage and black marketing of fertiliser in the country.

Tahir Siddiqui in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022

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