Karachi leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday expressed concerns over the Sindh government’s attitude towards Karachi during the COVID-19 emergency and called for holding an all parties’ conference to evolve a joint strategy to fight the pandemic.
Khurrum Sher Zaman, the PTI Karachi president and an MPA, addressed a press conference at the Insaf House, the party’s secretariat, along with other PTI leaders and said that being as opposition party in Sindh, the PTI had been playing its due role during the time of the coronavirus pandemic.
He alleged that the Sindh government and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had been following double standards in their policy for Karachi. “The attitude of the provincial government for Karachi is outrageous and they have completely overlooked Karachi and its businesses,” he said and lamented that shops were being sealed in the city and threatening messages sent to the business community.
“The Pakistan Peoples Party [PPP] does not have any stake in Karachi because it bagged votes from other parts of the province. It is the reason that its provincial government has been exhibiting a hostile attitude towards the city, its residents and particularly its traders,” he said.
The PTI Karachi president called for convening an all parties’ conference to resolve the issues caused by the lockdown in Karachi since the ruling PPP and its Sindh government had no mandate in Karachi.
“Karachi did not vote for the PPP and therefore they are imposing their illogical decisions over Karachiites without consulting their elected representatives,” he said.
He added that the purpose of their press conference was not to criticise the Sindh government but to offer assistance. “I am Karachi’s son and it is my duty to raise issues of my people,” Zaman stated.
He advised the CM to select one union council (UC) in the city and declare it a model UC by allowing businesses to operate there after following the SOPs, and see the results in one week. He said many countries had opened routine businesses with proper SOPs. “The PTI will ensure complete support to the government for the selected UC.”
Zaman said three or four people in the CM’s team were incompetent. He urged Shah to take competent people in his people as he discussed the Sindh government's recent SOPs regarding the online businesses.
“There is no awareness of the online business among the traders,” the PTI leader said, adding that a majority of traders and people did not know how smartphones could be used. He said if shops were allowed to operate with their shutters closed, it would be severely inconvenient in the current weather.
He alleged that the provincial administration was stealing Sindh’s resources but no action was being taken. “Masks are short in the entire province but no one cares,” he said. He also pointed out that the PPP’s senior leadership, including party supremos Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari, were nowhere to be found.
Zaman asked the PPP workers to question their leaders about the rations’ distribution mechanism so that they could tell would be the process of distributing rations during Ramazan, PTI MPA Dr Saeed Afridi, who is also the party’s Karachi secretary general, said the Sindh government and PPP leadership had gone into isolation while its ministers and advisers were conducting photo sessions.
“As a major representative political party of Karachi and an opposition party of the province, the PTI has been playing its role in an effective way to highlight the problems and miseries faced by the residents and failure of the provincial government,” said Dr Afridi.
“Nobody in Karachi knows how the rations were distributed and to whom,” he said, adding that provincial ministers and advisers were taking photos with poor people after giving them merely a piece of soap. He also requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to take notice of the situation in Karachi as it was the highest tax paying city of the country.
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