KARACHI: At his first appearance before the national press, Nadir Akmal Khan Leghari, the newly-appointed chief of the Sindh chapter of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) was oozing confidence.
He compared the support enjoyed by PTI to the fan following of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto before his first election. “We may not have electables like Bhutto’s party but we have the support of the people,” he said, as he cited the survey conducted by the International Republican Institute to back his claim.
The report pubished by the US-based firm was based on a month-long survey from February 9 till March 8. It had stated that PTI was the most popular party among the people, as 31 per cent of the people supported it. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was the second most popular with 28 per cent votes.
He admitted that other parties were more experienced and knew the ground realities better than PTI but he stuck to his claim of PTI taking everyone by a storm in the upcoming elections. “This election Pakistan is in for a surprise,” he said. He reminisced about Pakistan’s past glory when the ‘extensive planning’ used to be emulated by other countries, such as Korea. “Look at the dismal state of our country now,” he said. “The politicians should be elected to serve the people not to rule them.”
Attempting to play his hand as well in the nationalist game, he said that although Sindh contributed most to the national economy, only 50 per cent of people in the province had electricity. He compared it with other provinces – electricity was present in 85 percent of the areas in Punjab, almost 80 percent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhua and 42 per cent in Balochistan.
He revealed that his party was designing ‘scientific’ strategies for development in Sindh. It was working on sea intrusion, repair of Left Bank Outfall Drain, disaster preparation, need for motorways and economic growth.
The PTI is talking to the nationalist leaders and Imran Khan planned to come to Sindh himself to ‘establish relations with a Sindhi’. However Leghari carefully navigated through the questions about revealing the names of nationalists leaders whom the party had approached.
Leghari said that all this was in preparation for the new social contract which the party wished to sign with the people. “We will adopt people’s problems and make short-term, middle-term and long-term policies to achieve them.” He claimed that PTI will introduce 60 more policies which will be made public to invite debate whether the party comes to power or not.
He said that PTI had devised a ‘revolutionary’ programme for local governance which will have equal representation of the people from rural and urban areas. “We are the only democratic party which has come up with a local-governance plan,” he said. “All the previous systems were brought by military governments. It’s not the job of an MPA and or an MNA to look after the construction of a road. They are there to make laws.”
Toeing the party’s ideology of a corruption-free government, Leghari said that the members of PTI’s central executive committee members were also asked to declare their assets.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2012.