ISLAMABAD: The electioneering for the July 25 elections has finally started to gain momentum as heads of some big parties spent a busy Sunday outside their hometowns addressing gatherings at different places across the country, highlighting their priorities after coming to power and attacking their political rivals in their speeches.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari travelled to southern Punjab in connection with their election campaign. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan addressed public meetings in Haripur and Abbottabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa before visiting an election camp office in Islamabad. Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) emir Sirajul Haq visited a number of places in Karachi in connection with the election campaign of the recently-revived Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA).
Shahbaz, Bilawal visit southern Punjab; Imran addresses rallies in Haripur, Abbottabad; Siraj claims MMA will give surprising results in Karachi
The PPP chairman, who had faced an ugly situation on Saturday night when his convoy was stopped from entering Uch Sharif near Bahawalpur, arrived in Khangarh near Muzaffargarh on Sunday and visited the grave of Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, who had headed two historic alliances against military dictators Gen Ziaul Haq and Gen Pervez Musharraf — the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) and the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD).
The young leader offered Fateha for the departed soul and paid homage to his services for the cause of democracy and his struggle against military dictatorship.
In Haroonabad, the PML-N president at a rally announced that construction of Bhasha dam would be priority of the party after coming to power as water crisis was getting worst day by day.
“If people give the PML-N another opportunity, it will cope with the challenge of water crisis on war-footing basis,” he declared, claiming that the PML-N government had eliminated electricity loadshedding from the country.
The PML-N chief lashed out at those politicians who had recently quit the party, saying the PML-N government had spent billions of rupees on various development projects in southern Punjab during the last 10 years, but the representatives of this region had ditched the party.
Mr Sharif also lashed out at Imran Khan and said the cricketer-turned-politician would not be able to deceive the nation this time.
The former Punjab chief minister said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would return to the country on Friday despite deteriorating condition of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz in London.
The PPP chairman in his address at a public meeting at Khangarh Stadium said his party would introduce Benazir Kissan Card after coming to power. Vowing to continue the mission of his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said his mother wanted to see a democratic Pakistan. He said his party was fighting against poverty and injustice and struggling to save Pakistan.
He said the PPP had given preference to the agriculture sector and farmers community in its manifesto and announced that farmers would be provided interest-free loans. He also talked about the party’s plan to introduce “food cards” to the poor and needy through the Bhook Mitao Programme.
The PPP chairman reiterated his party’s support for the demand of a separate province for the people of southern Punjab.
It was the first visit of Mr Bhutto-Zardari to Muzaffargarh and he was received by the party’s divisional president Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmad Khan, the son of Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan. The PPP leader also spent some time at the residence of the Nawabzada.
Speaking at separate gatherings in Haripur and Abbottabad, the PTI chairman said after coming to power, his party would adopt austerity measures by cutting expenses of government offices.
Imran Khan said his party had a vision to help the country get out of the prevailing economic mess.
Exploiting the anti-US sentiments of the people, he said despite the fact that Pakistan had lost 70,000 lives and suffered Rs10 billions loss during the war on terror, US President Donald Trump was hurling threats at it.
Mr Khan hit out at Nawaz Sharif, saying he was trying to showcase himself as Neslon Mandela though Mr Sharif had plundered the national exchequer whereas Mr Mandela had served his nation selflessly and spent 27 years behind the bars for his people.
Commenting on the arrest of retired Captain Muhammad Safdar, the PTI chairman said the way he surrendered was as if he had conquered Kashmir.
Accompanied by local leaders, the JI chief visited Dawood Chowrangi, Majeed Colony, Mansehra Colony, Patel Para, North Nazimabad, Baldia Town and Lyari in Karachi.
Addressing election gatherings, Mr Haq said July 25 would be the day of accountability for “those corrupt rulers” who have destroyed beauty of the sprawling metropolis and consumed its vast resources for their vested interests.”
“People of Karachi will reject the corrupt individuals and groups on July25 who have ruled it for decades and brought just misery and gloom to its wretched face,” said Mr Haq, who is also the vice-president of the MMA, an electoral alliance of five religious parties.
He claimed the MMA would give “surprising results’ from Karachi in the coming vote.
Ejaz Mehmood from Bahawalnagar, Malik Tehseen Raza from Muzaffargarh, Rashid Javed from Abbottabad, Muhammad Sadaqat from Haripur and Hasan Mansoor from Karachi also contributed to the report
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2018