Sunday May 13, 2018
KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan vowed to transform Karachi into a great city with his 10-point agenda, which he announced at a party rally in the megapolis on Saturday.
Thanking the people of Karachi for welcoming him, Imran said the city's residents were politically the most mature in the country.
"Karachi is the financial hub of Pakistan. Karachi's people [are always] the first to unite against the country's issues," the PTI chief said, as he called on the public to shun differences and come together for the common good.
Lamenting the state of education and health in Sindh, particularly the interior areas, he said it had become the most impoverished region in the world.
Imran said the only way to end poverty was to eliminate the menace of corruption. "No country can progress when its leaders are deeply indulged in corruption."
The PTI chief said his priority would be to end corruption from the country, if his party won the elections later this year.
"How can they [the ones in power] end corruption when they are themselves involved in money laundering worth billions?" the PTI chief lashed out at the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
He then proceeded to present his 10-point agenda to resolve the city's woes:
Imran highlighted that the [shortage of] water was the biggest problem of Karachi, adding that the city generating 70 per cent revenue of the country did not have enough water to meet its needs.
"We will change the administrative system here and bring a directly elected mayor of the city," he said, noting that under the 18th Amendment provinces were empowered but the provinces did not delegate these powers to ground level.
Lamenting the state of public education in the province, the PTI chairman promised to change the system of government schools for the poor children and make education accessible and affordable for all. "We will establish international standard universities here," he said.
Imran pointed out the dire state of hospitals across Sindh and presented example of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. "Since the time hospitals were nationalised, this was the first time in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that a province tried to improve the condition of hospitals," he said.
Drawing attention to the law and order situation in Karachi, Imran vowed to de-politicise police and end all extra-judicial killings. "See the police in KP province, there is zero extra-judicial killing there," he said.
"Officials like Rao Anwar, it is said, have murdered 440 people and Asif Ali Zardari showers praise on him. Who ordered Anwar to kill [those] people?" Imran questioned.
"Abid Boxer said he did not kill anyone without orders from Shehbaz Sharif," he said, and asked Bilawal to inquire from his father as to on whose orders Anwar carried out extra-judicial killings.
"We will help the trade fraternity and introduce a climate for the businessmen in Karachi to compete with traders of other countries," said the PTI chief.
He added that "Asad Umar, our shadow finance minister, has been holding meetings with businessmen."
We will improve business zones, he promised.
Pointing to the persisting power crisis in Karachi, Imran criticised the government for failing to do its job of ensuring provision of electricity to the people.
"It is the government's job to provide electricity, not K-Electric's. We will get you electricity and end power pilferage."
The PTI chairman vowed to improve the sports infrastructure in Karachi if voted into power.
He said the metropolis has a huge number of young people, yet it has not been producing the same number of athletes due to the lack of grounds and facilities.
"We will establish grounds and parks for you."
Imran gave example of KP province, where he said the PTI government has planted one billion trees.
Pakistan is ranked number 7 on the global warming index, he said, and emphasised on the need to plant more trees in order to combat pollution.
"We will turn entire Pakistan green, including Karachi. Especially in cities, we will grow trees with full planning," the PTI chief asserted.
He also lamented the poor sewage and waste management infrastructure of the city and vowed to improve it.
Imran said his party would ensure the functioning of Circular Railway as the city needs improvement in its transport infrastructure.
"If the Orange Line was needed anywhere, it was Karachi," he remarked.
Unemployment is the biggest issue of the youth, the PTI chief said, as he resolved to establish skill centres in Karachi to overcome the "disease of unemployment."
"We will devise policies to provide employment to the poor," he said.
Earlier, Vice Chairman PTI Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed his condolences to the families who lost their loved ones at the May 12, 2007 tragedy.
"12th May 2007 was the day when people of Karachi decided to move away from the politics of blood, and today is the evidence of that promise," he said in his address.
Taking direct aim at the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement, he said the two parties have been ruling Karachi for decades and when "Karachi's law and order situation worsens, they blame each other."
Calling on the people to decide the fate of Karachi, Qureshi questioned what would have happened to the city if the Rangers had not come in.
"Election is nearing, it's the time to decide, you'll have to stand up for the better future of your children," he continued, as he urged the public to vote for PTI.
Earlier today, PPP staged its jalsa at Karachi's Bagh-e-Jinnah, where party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accused the PTI and MQM of being two sides of the same coin.
The PPP and PTI were earlier at loggerheads regarding the venue of their rallies. Workers of both the parties came face to face at the Hakeem Saeed Ground on Monday, with both sides wanting to hold their rallies there on May 12. The war of words quickly escalated to violence, with several workers injured in the clashes that ensued.
The tussle came to an end after Bilawal invited Imran to hold his rally at Hakeem Saeed Ground in Karachi. The PTI, however, decided to change the venue of their rally to a ground near Aladdin Park.