PML-N kicks off election campaign with tall promises for Karachi

Shehbaz pledges to turn port city into another 'Lahore-style' Paris

Our Correspondents June 25, 2018
Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI: [fbvideo link=""][/fbvideo]

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) formally kicked off its campaign for the 2018 general elections with its chief Shehbaz Sharif promising to cure the city of lights of all ills.

Addressing members of the business community at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) on Monday, Shehbaz hailed Karachi as the city that generated the highest revenue.

"Karachi is the biggest port city - it is the financial hub, the nerve of exports; yet [previous] political and military governments have failed to give the city its due status." He added that were the PML-N to be elected to power again, they would transform Karachi into the most developed city in South Asia.

"When we came to power [in 2013], Karachi was facing challenges of terrorism, extortion and targeted killings," he said. "We have resolved at least 90% of the problem. There's no denying that there are street crimes, but those can only be controlled by creating jobs."

The former Punjab chief minister pledged to resolve the city's water crisis within the next three years. He gave an even shorter timeline for the resolution of sanitation issues, promising to fix it within six months, besides developing a reliable public transport system and infrastructure for the citizens.

Amid the promises and political rhetoric, one participant took a jibe at the PML-N supremo regarding his party's earlier slogan of 'breaking the begging bowl' and not going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the run-up to the last general elections. Sharif reasoned that the begging bowl couldn't be broken when there were several loss-making enterprises in the public sector that drained billions of rupees each year. The business community is wary of the government knocking on the IMF's door, which besides giving extensions to loans also enforces several conditions including increased taxation.

Another businessman criticised the PML-N for investing in roads instead of building small dams, when the biggest impending crisis was water scarcity.
Shehbaz Sharif to start election campaign from Karachi

Shehbaz said the immediate solution for water shortage was Bhasha Dam. "The government invested Rs1 billion in the project," he claimed. The former chief minister added that his party would not compromise on "national unity" over Kalabagh Dam.

Chiding Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for its "politics of sit-ins", Shehbaz said the Imran Khan-led party had derailed democratic dispensation through its demonstrations. "Our agenda is to develop the country while PTI seeks to destablise the economy to appease hidden forces."

The PML-N chief, who is contesting from Karachi's NA-249 seat, said he wanted to contest the polls based on performance and would develop the whole province just like Punjab. "Water is the next biggest challenge," he said. "I do not want to make tall claims but we will develop the city's infrastructure and resolve civic issues."

Rally in Baldia Town

The PML-N chief, in his maiden address to a rally in the NA-249 constituency, announced to build a 500-bed hospital and a technical training centre in the area as well as bring the metro bus and orange train to Karachi.

Addressing a packed Football Ground in Baldia Town, the PML-N chief said his party had fulfilled all the promises made before the last general elections. "We have resolved the energy crises and brought the law and order situation under control," he said, adding that they would not rest until they made Pakistan a welfare state as envisioned by the founder of the nation.

He referred to his statement in 1997 when he had announced to turn Lahore into Paris and said, "I ask the people of Sindh to visit Lahore. I have lived up to my promise. Now it is time to make Karachi the most beautiful city of South Asia - no less than Paris," he pledged.



Kick-Ass | 5 years ago | Reply Noon League will get a slap on its face.
Muneer | 5 years ago | Reply Half empty ground is not packed.
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