KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday claimed that his party got Karachi free from London’s influence by launching Karachi Operation.
“We got Karachi free from London’s influence. We are against the politics of founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) from day one,” he said talking to the public meeting held in Liaquatabad, the stronghold of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), nearly 44 years after its last political show in the city’s neighbourhood.
He said mutilated bodies used to be recovered in the biggest city of the country. People were made to fight on the basis of ethnicity, he said. “This is the area which used to reverberate with slogan ‘Pehlay goli bad mey bat, Liaquatabad, Liaquatabad’ (Gunshot first, talk later in Liaquatabad),” he said.
The PPP chief said his party stood with the every victim family. If target killing would continue it would grow extremism, he said.
Lambasting former president Pervez Musharraf for allegedly sheltering criminals, he said in Musharraf’s era, the MQM ruled over Karachi like a mafia. He questioned why no water project was launched in the former president’s era.
Bilawal said we needed such a judiciary that could deliver justice and a police system that could give protection. “Karachiites know very well if there was someone who stood against ethnicity it was the PPP. We remember it vividly that jiyalas were burnt alive and shot down storming their houses,” he said.
He said mandate of Karachiites was seized on gun point. The PPP never tolerated bad law and order situation in Karachi, he said. He claimed that the Karachi Operation was in fact launched by the PPP while the PML-N wrongfully tried to take its credit.
Bilawal Bhutto reprimanded the MQM factions saying that those who cannot sit together for resolution of Karachi issues how could you expect them to address issues. He said billions of rupees were given to the local government.
“You know what happened to those billions of rupees, whenever you ask its whereabouts the mayor cries foul for lack of powers,” he said. He threw rapidfire questions towards the MQM leadership about cleanliness and other issues.
Around 30,000 chairs were placed with 120 feet long and 40 feet wide stage set up for senior party leadership to address the participants in Federal Capital Area’s Tanki Ground. The venue and its surrounding areas were decorated with party flags and portraits of the PPP leaders.
Several PPP leaders including Sherry Rehman, Murad Ali Shah, Raza Rabbani and Syed Qaim Ali Shah also addressed the gigantic rally on this occasion.
Sherry Rehman said the PPP had everlasting relation with Liaquatabad. Former prime minister Zulfikar Bhutto had changed Lalu Khet’s name to Liaquatabad, she pointed out.
She held the federal government responsible for failing to fulfill its promises to provide the citizens of Karachi basic facilities including water and electricity. She also said Karachi was Pakistan’s economic jugular vein which had the lion’s share in the country’s economy, she added.
Saeed Ghani said those who thought Karachi to be their property would have a restless night after watching such a resounding crowd. Karachi had come out of their fear, he said. “Those who were symbol of fear in the megalopolis are themselves gone into hiding,” he said adding that now the PPP would organise 10 more public gatherings in the District Central.
Strict security arrangements were put in place with 2,000 security personnel deployed in the vicinity and along major roads leading to the venue. Besides, one SSP, five SPs and ten DSPs supervised overall security arrangements for the rally.
It was in 1974 when PPP founder and former prime minister Zulifkar Ali Bhutto addressed a mammoth gathering in Liaquatabad. —NNI