KARACHI: Former president and co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, while addressing a rally in Lyari’s Kakri ground said Lyari had always been a PPP stronghold and remains the party’s bastion till date.
Talking about the importance of Lyari for the PPP, Zardari said, “Some of our rivals may not remember, but I was elected to the National Assembly from Lyari for the first time ever; Benazir had herself asked me to contest election from Lyari.”
“Lyari is the place where I was married to Benazir Bhutto; this is the place we began our marital life from,” Zardari reminded the crowd.
The PPP co-chair said the people of Lyari had rendered countless sacrifices for the party; “the list of martyrs is too long,” he said.
“Sometimes Bilawal comes to Lyari without telling me,” said the former president.
Zardari said today’s rally in Lyari was the beginning of PPP’s journey for the next election. “We have initiated our election campaign from Lyari. This is the first in a series of rallies we will hold across Pakistan.”
“I request all of you to strengthen your party. It is time we transfer the reigns to the younger generation so that new leaders are groomed.”
Zardari also announced a development package for the people of Lyari. “Sindh Chief Minister has sent gifts for Lyari in the form a Rs1 billion fund including the Bilawal Bhutto Engineering College and a low-cost housing scheme that will comprise flats,” said Zardari.
“The CM has also promised that daily wages workers will be made permanent.” We know that water is a major issue in the area and I have told Shah sahab to resolve the issue in three months.”
Talking about the recent development projects announced during Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan, Zardari said his party will not politicise the investment. “We will take our Baloch brothers on board and address their problems,” said Zardari.
The foundations of a solid Pakistan-China relationship were laid by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto along with Mao Zedong, he said.
In a warning to the Indian leadership, Zardari spoke up for the Muslims in Indian-held Kashmir.
“I know all that is happening in Kashmir. I want to tell the Indian leadership to stop treating our Kashmiri brothers unfairly; you may awaken the rising Muslim population in India.”
The PPP’s rally at Lyari’s Kakri ground is seen as a bid to reject the impression that it has lost favour in the Karachi locale.
Lyari has long been a stronghold of PPP supporters. Since the 1970 general election, the Karachi locale has been an unbending vote bank of the PPP. The PPP has won every national and provincial election that it has contested from Lyari from 1970 right up till the 2008 election.
It is also the venue of the first large rally that Benazir Bhutto held in Karachi ─ and the venue of her marriage to Asif Ali Zardari in 1987.
Tight security measures were taken for the public meeting, which was organised by the party’s Karachi division, and policemen and women were deployed at key points in Lyari to prevent untoward incidents.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah and Sherry Rehman also addressed the rally before Asif Ali Zardari.
The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily