Post-election promises: PTI MPA-elect aims to solve key issues of Pindi

Basharat Raja slams opposition parties for refusing to acknowledge public’s verdict


Jamil Mirza July 30, 2018
PHOTO: EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI: As the PTI scrambles to secure enough lawmakers-elect to ensure it forms the government in Punjab, one lawmaker-elect from the party has come out to present the party’s plan for the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The former provincial law and local government minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA-elect Basharat Raja has said that their party will, unlike the outgoing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), prioritise development projects relating to water supply, education, health and modern graveyards in the city.

“The PML-N failed to address these core issues of Rawalpindi despite having served in the federal government for five years and the Punjab government for the past ten years,” Raja complained as he vowed to speed up the pace of developmental projects across the city.

Speaking to Daily Express in an exclusive interview, he added that the process of development in the city, which had started in 2002 but then fell by the wayside, will be revived.

The PTI had nearly swept most of the 13 seats up for grabs in Rawalpindi, save for PP-7 and PP-10.

The former was clinched by independent candidate Raja Sagheer Ahmed while the latter was clinched by the former interior minister and PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Raja, who had been contesting Punjab assembly seat PP-14 on a PTI ticket, won the seat after securing 54,098 votes in the July 25 elections.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), PML-N’s Usama Chaudhry was second with 32,837 votes, while Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) candidate Muhammad Waseem Farukh was third with 6,761 votes.

Dismissing claims from losing candidates of rigging in the general elections, Raja said that the results were merely reflective of the negligence of the outgoing PML-N government towards the key sectors of health, education and availability of clean drinking water.

“This accountability by the public is clear from the results of the polls,” Raja said, adding, “it is for this reason the people reacted with their vote and elected the PTI over the PML N.”

“The claims [of development] made by the former PML-N government have proved to be false as indicated by the public mandate in favour of the PTI,” he said, noting that the people had fully responded the PML-N’s slogan of ‘respect the vote’ by handing it to the PTI and in turn indicting the PML-N for its poor performance.

“The performance of the district government has also been quite dismal during the PML-N tenure,” Raja said, noting that through their vote on July 25, the residents of the city have also delivered an indictment of the local government’s performance.

“Those who have had been making tall claims [of development] are nowhere to be seen now,” the MPA-elect said, adding that the former rules had been handed a tough lesson in politics through this defeat.

Raja assailed opposition politicians for closing their doors to the public in wake of the general elections, while he has been engaged with his constituents in the good and the bad times even when was not in government.

This, he said, is something that his political opponents must learn as he vowed to always keep the doors of Dhamial House open for the public regardless of the fact that he is in government or in opposition.

As soon as the party forms a government in the centre and in Punjab, Basharat said they would kick-start work on development projects including provision of water for the residents of the city through the Ghazi Barotha project.

“We would be quick in bring relief to the public,” Raja vowed, adding that the government would try to win back the trust of the citizens.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2018.

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