HYDERABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hopes to offer a political alternative in Sindh, in both the urban and rural parts, by challenging what it describes as the status quo playing havoc with people's lives.
According to PTI chief Imran Khan, the upcoming local government elections and the devolved political, financial and administrative authority will be instrumental in bringing about change.
Khan was conducting a dialogue with the civil society representatives of Sindh at the residence of PTI activist Zulfiqar Halepoto in Hyderabad on Wednesday. He also took some questions and suggestions from the participants representing academics, activists, agriculturists, businessmen, journalists, lawyers, and writers.
"Change in Sindh will not come [about] unless the local government system is introduced at the lowest level," he said. "Without financial autonomy at the lowest level, the money will remain centred in the upper level and there will be no investment in what is vital for the common people."
The PTI chief talked about the concerns and complaints of smaller provinces with the federation. He said that issues such as poverty, unemployment, low price of crops affecting the farmers, lack of health, education and infrastructure facilities, political influence over police and interference in the government departments were the pressing problems of this province.
"We need institutions like [National University of Modern Languages] Numl and Shaukat Khanam [Memorial Cancer] Hospital, where even my recommendation is not considered," he said. "Government departments must be freed from political interference."
As much as he emphasised the local government election, he avoided elaborating on what measures the PTI will take to bolster its weak organisational structure in Sindh.
"We will give full force to strengthen the party before the local government election in Sindh," he said.
The local government election is scheduled to be held in all the provinces in September this year, as per the orders of the Supreme Court. Besides Khan, PTI leaders Jehangir Tareen and Nadir Akmal Leghari also spoke to the audience. While Khan invited questions and suggestions from the participants, the interaction ended after only four questions from the reporters.
Unhappy local leaders
The local leaders of the PTI expressed concerns that their leader's contentions do not seem to meet his actions. "Imran Khan perhaps doesn't even know that the CBH [Cantonment Board of Hyderabad] election is taking place," said a contestant of the CBH election, who is also a local leader of the PTI. He felt disappointed that the chairperson did not take any interest in discussing the elections, which are scheduled to take place on April 25.
Another leader said that the names of 22 important persons, including politicians, academics, lawyers, agriculturists and activists, were submitted for membership. He felt displeased that, despite the submission, no announcements of memberships were made during the dialogue.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2015.
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