Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan says that by selecting Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to be the new prime minister, the president has further strengthened his resolve to fight the government out of power.
“I don’t just have to defeat you alone, Zardari, but the whole political mafia directly or indirectly supporting you in power,” said Imran, addressing his debut public meeting in Hyderabad, considered a gateway to Sindh’s politics, on Friday.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief urged the people of Sindh to join his “tsunami march” to Islamabad which will begin from Faisalabad on June 27. He promised emancipation of the people from the feudal system. He also gave his word to stand in the way of Sindh’s division.
The PTI public gathering drew a crowd of tens of thousands of people from districts as far as Mirpur Khas, Badin and Naushero Feroz. People from all ethnicities and walks of life made up the crowd.
“I have come here (in Sindh) to meet the people and garner their support for the change, not the waderas (feudal lords) whose clout needs to be broken to empower the people,” Imran declared.
According to him, the PTI’s envisioned local government system will provide a remedy to end feudalism. Under the system, the elected representatives will not be given the development funds but only the local bodies’ leaders at the union council levels will control the purse strings, he explained.
Imran omitted mention of issues which traditionally appeal to the province’s electorate, such as the water dispute between Sindh and Punjab, control of the province over its natural resources and the port, and the national status for Sindhi language.
The PTI chairman said the ruling politicians foment divisions among the people on ethnic bases. “While their coffers swell, the innocent are killed on ethnic basis.” Khan regretted that the elected representatives only pretend that they are moved by the killings in Karachi.
PTI’s entire top leadership spoke at the event.
Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said the mood of the participants attending the event shows they are fed up with the 65 years of misrule and insincere rhetoric of development and prosperity.
Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi in his speech recalled the centuries-old friendly relations between Sindh and Multan saying the two people shared common culture, traditions and history.
The PTI’s Sindh chief Nadir Akmal Laghari said the people in Sindh are ready for change, “they vote for the PPP as they have no alternative leaders to support.”
Azam Khan Sawati welcomed the people of his community in Pashto and Hazara languages.
People attending the jalsa expressed diverse views. “I would still die for Bhutto, but there is no Bhutto left in PPP,” said Abdul Majeed from Talhar.
To the commentators, the jalsa was not as elaborate as those of the MQM and Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party, but was definitely successful, as people flocked in anticipation to see the leader.
Yaseen, who had come from Mirpur Khas with supporters in four buses, said that his generation was moving towards PTI. “Our elders were forced by the landlords to support them, but we (younger generation) are out of their clutches now,” he said.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.
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