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July 2, 2018

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Will provide desalinated water to Lyari: Bilawal

KARACHI: The Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday said he would undertake desalination projects to address the water scarcity in Lyari. Bilawal was addressing the party workers in Lyari’s Chakiwara area during the launch of his electoral campaign, Geo News reported. “We will ensure water provision for all,” he said, adding that the party will also give interest-free loans to women from underprivileged backgrounds.

Bilawal will contest the upcoming general elections, the first of his political career, from his party’s traditionally dominant National Assembly constituency in Lyari -- NA-246. Later on, while addressing workers at Ghaas Mandi, he said his political struggle is starting from Lyari, adding this is his first election but it will be the last for many politicians. “We have to save Pakistan. We will work together to save Pakistan,” he remarked.

Earlier, the Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, had to face a difficult situation when his rally met with protests and violence in Lyari that is otherwise considered as the stronghold of the party.

The violent incident involving stone pelting between opponents and supporters of the People’s Party disrupted routine life in entire Lyari and caused fear among its residents. Reportedly, six people sustained injuries in the violence, which took place near Juna Masjid at Shah Abdul Lateef Road when the rally led by PPP chairman was going to the Agra Taj Colony. Glass windows of some of the vehicles of the PPP’s cavalcade were smashed due to the violence in which sticks and stones were used. The police were largely seen helpless in containing the situation. The rally stopped due to stone pelting and protest by the residents of the area and remained stuck there for some time. The incident generated fear among the law-enforcement agencies and the security detail of the party about the safety of the PPP chairman.

The area people were protesting against serious shortage of water in the area that has persisted in the locality throughout the 10-year of PPP’s rule in the province. Some of the residents also registered their protest by carrying empty pitchers as they stood on rooftops of their houses. However, Bilawal once again returned to Katchi Para where his rally had met commotion and was once again pelted with stones. According to some eyewitnesses, the residents protested by raising slogans against the PPP and by pelting stones at Bilawal's convoy due to which the cavalcade sped away.

Meanwhile, the PPP chairman held rallies in other parts of Lyari and the adjoining old city areas also addressed at several spots. In his address, Bilawal said this will be his first election and he is sure to count on the support of people of Lyari. He said the newly-launched electoral manifesto of PPP focuses on issues of the people. Bilawal said he could not be harassed by the pelting of a few stones. “The miscreants believe that I would be terrified with a few stones but they grossly misunderstood. I’m the heir of martyrs and I will continue with their mission,” he said. He said the people of Lyari had rendered tremendous sacrifices for peace and democracy. “You people could never be terrified. We were not frightened by the gallows of Ziaul Haq, then how come we be deterred by your stones,” he said. “As Shaheed Benazir was not terrified by the (bomb) explosions, then how come we would be frightened by stone pelting? It is a sheer misunderstanding of some people that the son of Shaheed Benazir would abandon Lyari,” he said.

Dubbing the MQM as the “Mustaqil Qaumi Museebat” (constant national agony) as the people associated with the MQM are busy in infighting and they lacked the ability to resolve issues of the people. He said his party would continue to expand schemes like the Benazir Income Support Programme for poverty alleviation and would also enable the youth of poor communities to achieve economic self-reliance. He said the martyred leaders of the PPP struggled to resolve the problems of the people of Lyari.

The PPP chairman, who is contesting the poll from NA-246 comprising Lyari and adjoining areas, faced a similar situation on Saturday when he inaugurated the party's election office in Lyari. Video clips went viral on social media showing residents sloganeering against the PPP chairman as his convoy passed from the area. Very few people had turned up to welcome Bilawal in the area.

In his reaction, the PPP spokesperson termed the Sunday's incident highly unfortunate saying a handful of miscreants were involved in the incident who do not want peace and development in Lyari and for that very reason they colluded with the opponents of the People’s Party. Speaking to the media, the PPP leader and former MNA from the area, Nabeel Ahmed Gabol, said around 20 to 25 miscreants tried to disrupt the rally of PPP chairman. He said Lyari being the stronghold of PPP is full of die-hard supporters of the party and they could have reacted to the incident, but the PPP chairman counselled them to exercise restraint and not to resort to violence. He said despite the unfortunate incident, the PPP chairman would continue to visit the locality.

The spokesman for PPP chairman, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, said political parties, which believed in politics of violence, could not deter the PPP and it would respond to violence through politics. He said the police, Rangers, and the district administration should fulfil their responsibilities to prevent any violence while the Election Commission should also take serious cognizance of the matter.

The Leader of Opposition in the Senate, Sherry Rehman, said a bunch of around 25 people protested near the Rangers’ checkpost during the PPP's rally. “We reject this act of negative politics,” said the PPP’s senator. She said the opponents of PPP are upset with the rising popularity of Bilawal Bhutto among the masses. “People know how to protect themselves and their leader from those doing politics of hatred,” she said.

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