Zardari for use of carrot and stick in Lyari
KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday called for reorganising the Pakistan People’s Party cadre in Lyari — the party’s bastion — and implementing various projects there ahead of his intended visit to the area.
Presiding over a special meeting held at Bilawal House to review the law and order situation and a development package for the strife-torn area, the president emphasised that law and order be maintained without fear or favour with the help of the law-enforcement agencies. He also asked party workers to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.
The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, PPP lawmakers and local party leaders, including Faisal Raza Abidi, Nabeel Gabol, Rafique Engineer, Mohammad Saleem Hingoro, Ismail Brohi, Shakoor Shad, Arshad Naqvi, Kausar Aamir, Ghulam Mohammad, Khalil Hoth and Taimour Siyal, besides the president’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar.
President Zardari expressed concern over recurring violence in Lyari over the last few months and said that residents of the PPP bastion were peace-loving people but some elements were out to disturb the peace.
According to sources, the president remarked: “Lyari is the bastion of Jiyalas of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, and those who believe they can conquer Lyari live in fool’s paradise”. He said the people of Lyari had rendered great sacrifices for democracy and for the rights of the downtrodden, and expressed his confidence that they would again frustrate the designs of anti-PPP forces.
Senator Babar told the media after the meeting that the president ordered addressing the situation in Lyari both by use of force against criminal elements and by removing genuine grievances regarding development of the area.
The president said that maintaining law and order was a shared responsibility of the political forces, which must join hands to maintain the peace in Karachi.
Participants of the meeting gave their perspective on the reasons behind the volatile situation in Lyari and gave suggestions on how to tackle it.
The president asked the chief minister that the Rangers and Frontier Constabulary be directed to assist the police in maintaining law and order in the area.
The meeting also reviewed progress of various developmental projects in Lyari and the chief minister gave a briefing in this regard.
The Lyari Package, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Lyari Medical College, Kakri Ground development scheme and construction of the Lea Market flyover also came under review.
The president reiterated his call for innovative development plans for Karachi towns, especially the densely populated ones with limited and insufficient infrastructure, and directed that provision of educational and recreational facilities be prioritised.
He also directed the elected representatives from Lyari to hold open kutchehries at least once a week.
The volatile situation in Lyari has become a cause of serious concern for the party, which has been facing erosion of support at the grassroots level after use of force by the law-enforcement agencies for quelling recurring violence there. A large number of people have been killed and many more forced to migrate to safe places while criminals have been ruling the streets of Lyari for months.
President Zardari has already hinted that his son and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto may seek a National Assembly seat from a Lyari constituency. However, the ongoing battle between the (now defunct) People’s Amn Committee comprising pro-PPP workers on one side and the mainstream PPP group as well as some other parties on the other side has pushed the PPP in Lyari on the defensive.
Party sources say that many PPP leaders and activists believe that the use of force to address the situation in Lyari was harming the party’s own interests.
Order to start work on M-9 project
President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday ordered immediate convening of a special meeting of the National Highway Authority and the contractors and consultants of the Karachi-Hyderabad (M-9) highway project.
He was reviewing the progress of road projects in the province at a meeting held in Bilawal House.
The meeting was attended by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, the chief secretary, the NHA chairman and other senior officials of the departments concerned.
According to the president’s spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar, the president said that roads and infrastructure projects in Sindh could be profitably undertaken on a public-private partnership basis.
He also suggested construction of a highway connecting Karachi with Thatta on the same basis. The officials concerned were told to work out modalities in consultation with the NHA.