SUKKUR: It may not have been the most impressive rally the Bhutto heartland has seen, but Nawaz Sharif managed to hit all the right notes.
At the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rally in Larkana, the party’s eponymous chief said if he comes to power, the first thing he will do is to arrest Benazir Bhutto’s killers.
Rebuking the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Nawaz said that four years have passed since Benazir’s murder but her own party’s government has failed to arrest the killers.
Instead, those who sped their vehicles away, leaving Benazir critically injured behind, are ministers and advisors today, Nawaz said.
Nawaz also hit out at the PPP for ‘ignoring’ its own bastion.
Even though PPP is in power in the province, it has done nothing to bring development to Sindh, the PML-N chief claimed.
Referring to the 2010 catastrophic floods, Nawaz said he suggested to the prime minister to grant Rs100,000 to each family – instead, all they got was Rs20,000.
This year, he added, the government has not only failed to drain rain water from several areas, it has only given Rs10,000 to the affected people.
In comparison, Nawaz said, the Punjab chief minister sent 860 trucks of relief goods worth Rs620 million.
Addressing the unemployed, Nawaz promised to grant interest-free loans to the skilled and educated youth to set up their own businesses, if he comes to power. He cited the yellow cab scheme and distribution of land amongst landless peasants as proof of his initiatives.
If the present government brings an end to prevalent poverty, lawlessness, unemployment and sky-rocketing inflation, there will be no need for me to come to power because I want to see Pakistan and its people flourish, Nawaz added.
After the public address, Nawaz left for Naudero, where he visited the house of Major Mujahid Mirani, one of the soldiers killed in the Nato strike on Salalah check post, and the Bhutto family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bux.
Party worker self-immolates
But all was not positive for the PML-N chief – and trouble came from his own party, not the PPP.
Protesting against the party leadership’s indifference, vice president PML-N Larkana chapter Nisar Shah resorted to self-immolation in front of the press club.
Shah was immediately rushed to Chandka Medical College and, according to doctors, received burn injuries on a quarter of his body.
According to sources, local PML-N leaders did not inform Nawaz about the incident.
The PML-N had been courting nationalist parties to make the Larkana rally a ‘success,’ and, sources say, had received assurances of support.
On the rally day, however, the support did not materialise, and instead of an expected 100,000 people, about twenty to twenty-five thousand people were reportedly in attendance.
No political leaders from other parties announced joining PML-N either, as the party leadership had claimed earlier.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2011.