KARACHI: Following the announcement of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party that it was ready to contest local government election in Karachi, the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Sunday vowed to start an aggressive election campaign promising a sweeping victory for the party.
Amid ongoing political and economic instability and more focus on fast developing situation in Punjab, the main opposition party sounded clear about its future strategy and conveyed a very loud and clear message to its Karachi workers and voters.
“We are against the politics behind closed doors,” said former federal minister and senior PTI leader Asad Umar while addressing a press conference at the party’s media cell.
“You will soon find us on streets and roads of this city. The local bodies’ elections are due on January 15 and this time they [Sindh government] look serious. So let it be done. Let’s see who wins and let’s see how true they are, who level allegations against the PTI that it was given a favour in 2018 general elections and ‘their’ mandate was stolen.”
In veiled reference to MQM’s merger plan, Asad slams politics ‘behind closed doors’
He said that like people of other parts of Pakistan, Karachiites stand with former prime minister Imran Khan and they would vote for their “beloved leader”.
No one, he added, could take the place of “respect and love” for Imran Khan in peoples’ heart.
“It’s a good thing if they are merging their parties,” Mr Umar replied to a question seeking his comments about the possible merger of MQM factions.
“It would make our job easier. [Due to merger of MQM factions] we would be able to defeat them all in one go. Everyone is free to do whatever he or his party wants. But remember one thing: vote [of Karachi] is only for Imran Khan.”
He said inflation was mounting in the country and over the past eight months rising prices due to policies of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government had broken the back of the people.
He announced that the PTI would launch a countrywide campaign against ‘failed’ policies of the PDM government.
“The 13-party alliance of the PDM had run an anti-inflation campaign against the PTI government in the past and promised to control the prices, but they are totally exposed now and failed,” he added.
“Per litre milk is being sold at Rs200 and it was Rs130 per litre in the PTI’s tenure. Similarly the edible oil has witnessed 33 per cent increase in price. The country has been passing through testing times. Only the fresh elections would end the political uncertainty prevailing in the country.”
Accompanied by Opposition Leader in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh and party MPAs Bilal Ghaffar, Shahzad Qureshi and Sidra Imran, Mr Umar warned that foreign exchange reserves of the country would deplete soon if remittances were not received swiftly. The government is running away from elections amid the fear of devastating defeat.
“The import containers are stranded at ports and banks have no money to retire LCs [Letters of Credit]. The exports have fallen drastically. Textile and pharmaceutical industries are on the verge of collapse. What else you need to define a failure,” asked Mr Umar.
Mr Shiekh said that foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was visiting the world for his “personal marketing”, but he was afraid to visit flood-hit Sindh.
“He’s unable to see misdeeds of the PPP government in Sindh during the past 14 years. On the other hand, in urban Sindh old mafias are now active in Karachi where the bandits are roaming freely, but the police is killing innocent citizens,” he said.
Published in Dawn, january 2th, 2023