SHAHEED BENAZIRABAD / HYDERABAD: As the car of Pakistan Muslim League’s leader, Marvi Memon, wove through the roads of the city, scores of supporters joined along to reach the party’s rally venue in Shaheed Benazirabad.
The rally was the first in an upcoming series of events geared to young PML-N supporters in Sindh. Memon was accompanied by the party’s Sindh youth wing organiser, Raja Ansari.
When asked why kick off events from Shaheed Benazirabad, Memon replied, “Because the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) tyrannical rule starts from here”.
President Asif Ali Zardari belongs to the district, but the city of Nawabshah was ringing with ‘Jiye Nawaz Sharif’ slogans on Friday, as PML-N continued its campaign in PPP strongholds in Sindh.
Hazed but not fazed
The event suffered a setback early in the morning when the police disrupted arrangements at the initial location of the rally, the Public Heath Department’s ground in Shaheed Benazirabad.
“This is condemnable,” said the PML-N Sindh general secretary, Saleem Zia. “Using the police as a tool reflects the government’s frustration and an undemocratic attitude.”
Saying that the party did not have the permission to hold the rally, the policemen pulled apart the stage and overturned chairs arranged at the ground. However, the PML-N youth wing general secretary, Agha Asim, showed the media a letter allowing the party to organise the public gathering and a new venue for the rally was announced.
PML-N’s message to PPP
The event started with the national anthem and a series of poems pointing out inflation during the current PPP-led government’s tenure.
Ajraks and shawls were presented to the PML-N leaders, including the Karachi youth wing president, Asif Khan.
Banners strung up on nearby houses called for an end to the destruction of merit, the sale of jobs and for the education minister to be fired. “There’s a message for the PPP – we’ve started from Nawabshah and whether you lock it up or release water at our rally venues, we will go to every goth and gitti asking for prosperity in Sindh which can only be achieved with Nawaz Sharif,” declared Memon, among chants of “goth goth, gitti gitti”.
Memon said that the daughters of Sindh were being dealt with in an unjust manner which was “shameful” on PPP’s part.
Focusing on education, merit and jobs as themes, while mentioning the number of ‘ghost schools’ in Sindh, she said that Punjab was better off than Sindh.
“Nawaz Sharif has a message for you – Latif sarkar’s message,” she said, referring to the iconic Sindhi poet, Shah Abdul Latif. “This message is a big deal for us, the people of Sindh.”
She also blamed the PPP for the current state of affairs in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
“This is a rally for the youth who continue to face unemployment,” said Ansari. “Jobs have become impossible without references and bribes. Sindh’s youth, tired of being unemployed, has resorted to committing suicide.”
He announced that the Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, will distribute laptops to Sindh’s students, replicating a model adopted in Punjab.
Targeting the education minister, Pir Mazharul Haq, Ansari alleged that millions had been looted in the name of education in Sindh.
A prayer was also offered at the end for the recently deceased leader of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Bashir Qureshi. Speaking to journalists afterwards at the Nawabshah Press Club, Memon said that the party believes that voters in Sindh will not make the mistake of electing the ruling party again.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.