NAUSHAHRO FEROZE: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that political parties calling for reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were running away from elections as they could foresee their defeat in the polls.
He was speaking at a public meeting in Kandiaro, 35km from here, in which senior PPP leader Syed Zafar Ali Shah, MNA, and his brother Dr Ahmed Ali Shah announced that they had joined PML-N.
Zafar Ali Shah was deputy speaker of National Assembly and a federal minister in previous PPP governments.
Mr Sharif said he would not act as guarantor for peace talks with Taliban because President Asif Ali Zardari was not a man of his word.
He deplored rampant crime, poverty and joblessness in Sindh and said people of the province had been robbed of their basic rights.
“My party will provide basic facilities to the people, construct a motorway from Karachi to Peshawar and provide jobs to youth after coming to power,” Mr Sharif vowed. He described the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 as a discriminatory law and said nobody allow be allowed to divide Sindh. “The people of rural areas should get the same rights as those of urban areas of the province.”
Expressing concern over poor law and order situation in Karachi, the former prime minister said the provincial government had failed in this regard as more than 300 people were killed in the city only in January and the Supreme Court had to intervene by taking suo motu notice of the situation.
Talking about the Shahzeb murder case, he said prime suspect Shahrukh Jatoi was arrested only after the court issued an order.
Zafar Ali Shah said the PPP government had failed to deliver because its leaders were least concerned with people’s problems and remained busy in loot and plunder. “Nawaz Sharif was the only national leader and the only hope for the country.”
Syed Ghous Ali Shah, Mumtaz Bhutto and Marvi Memon also addressed the gathering. Syed Jalal Mehmood Shah, chairman of the Sindh United Party and convener of the Sindh Bachayo Committee, was also present.Mansoor Mirani adds from Khairpur: Talking to reporters in Thehri, where he had gone to offer condolence to a local PML-N leader on the death of his brother, Mr Sharif urged the government to consult the opposition about the caretaker set-up.
Asked about holding of elections at a time when there was unsatisfactory law and order situation in three provinces and governor’s rule in Balochistan, he said elections offered solution to all problems. “Elections are held even in warlike situations in many countries,” he added.
In a veiled reference to the SPLGA, he said after coming to power, PML-N would abolish laws about which people of Sindh had reservations.
Mr Sharif belittled government claims about having provided jobs to people, alleging that merit had been ignored in the process.
Merit was again killed on Thursday when the Sindh Assembly adopted the Sindh Civil Services (Amendment) Act to legalise out-of-turn promotions of government officials, he said.
Later, Mr Sharif left for Kandiaro in a motorcade.
Waseem Shamsi adds from Sukkur: Talking to reporters at Sukkur airport, Mr Sharif said some ‘imported’ personalities were trying to get the elections postponed and seeking installation of a caretaker government for a prolonged period.
Such arrangements, if made, would weaken democracy and strengthen anti-democratic forces, the PML-N chief feared.
He said demands for verification of voters’ lists and fresh delimitation of constituencies in Karachi were justified, but other demands regarding ECP were aimed at getting the elections delayed.