Karachi cannot be a separate province, says Imran

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Politics on Friday, September 4, 2015

SUKKUR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan while speaking to the press on Friday said that Karachi could not become a separate province.

The PTI chairman said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement supremo Altaf Hussain and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari had "divided the province among themselves and pitted Urdu-speaking and Sindhi people against each other," receiving votes on the basis of this hatred.

"After getting the votes, they both collaborated in money laundering and now have money in foreign countries," he said.

"How else is Altaf Hussain surviving abroad for so long?" he questioned. "Who will catch him? Zardari's money is lying abroad. And now Nawaz Sharif can't say anything to Zardari because his own money is lying abroad."

The PTI leader was of the opinion that the "collusion for common interests occurred in the name of democracy."

He said that all the top politicians have corruption cases against them, adding, "The top two politicians who take turns in Sindh ─ one in London, the other spends his time between London and Dubai ─ have property in billions and large bank balances. How can they spend so much time in London? Ask me. I have lived there and played professional cricket in England for 18 years ... Where does the money come from? It is Sindh's money, it is Pakistan's money," he said.

He said 70 per cent of the nation's gas and revenue comes from the province, and yet the Rs900 billion spent on 'development' in the last five years of governance was nowhere to be seen.

He lamented his absence from the province earlier, saying, "Sindh is in greatest need of change," and recounted an earlier visit to the province. "The poverty I saw in Sindh, there has been no improvement from when I last saw it 19 years ago. The biggest reason for this is corruption."

"Who is paying the price of corruption?" he asked, adding, "The people of Sindh."

"Where there should be progress, there is none ─ and the biggest reason for this is corruption. Corruption exists because there is no law. There is no law because the powerful don't want there to be any law ─ he holds himself above the law. The powerful are unjust towards the common man. That is why there is a need for a campaign for justice," Khan explained.

He spoke of the need to ally with the common man. "In 1988, all the big leaders were on one side and the common man on the other. They helped Benazir Bhutto win. That's why the people of Sindh can be confident that the PTI has come to do what Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did at one time by standing up for people's rights."

Khan was optimistic that once they were given reason for this confidence, the people would stand with the PTI.

He gave instances in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where power was devolved to the people by means of local governments, and spoke of a safety commission to overlook police operations to avoid exploitation of the common man by means of the police.

"Why is the state of roads [in Sindh] this way? Because the people at the top get money and it never reaches the bottom. It goes straight to Dubai," he said.

"The people of Sindh are like slaves ─ they have no authority. If they are looted, they have nowhere to turn. We will provide a system with an unbiased police force. We will strengthen institutions and empower the people ... We will give those rights to Sindh that the rulers of Sindh have not given," he said.

He said the people of Sindh faced problems similar to those of KP. "What do the people of Sindh want? That the centre does operate against their interests, that their water is not stolen. This is also an issue of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. KP doesn't get it's full share of water, power or gas. In KP, they can't get their allocation of water because a stream ─ which has been in the pipeline for over 20 years now ─ has yet to be constructed, so all their water goes elsewhere."

Speaking about the police force in Sindh, the PTI leader said the force had deteriorated because it had not been left apolitical. "Whatever wrongdoings they need done, they do them through the police."

"People had hopes [from the PPP], but Zardari did what a military dictator could not do ─ he harmed the PPP in ways others could not achieve," he said.

Speaking of the need to rid the province of corruption, Khan said "The country will reach a point where it will no longer be viable ─ in a sea of poverty, there will be an island of rich people. Corruption is a tax on the poor and the common man. Money is stolen from the common man ─ money that should be spent on schools, hospitals and roads. This money goes into the hands of a few, and then it goes to Dubai," he said.

"Why are people in Sindh happy with the Rangers? Because there is peace, target killing has been reduced and for the first time, someone is going after big corrupt personalities," the PTI Chairman said, adding "But this is what politicians should be doing."

"Now that Nawaz Sharif is coming after Zardari in corruption cases through Dr Asim, Zardari is making a noise," he said.

When asked about who the party will be campaigning with in Sindh, Imran Khan said "We will pick those who want to make a change with us, not those who will become a hindrance. It is the first time an Ehtesaab Commission arrested its own sitting minister ─ people who are corrupt will be afraid of siding with us."

"The people of Sindh have been watching [the party in KP], they know what is happening. Corruption has decreased, the Ehtesaab cell is working, police is apolitical, powers have been devolved to the local governments, schools are being fixed ... now we are fixing hospitals. There has been change."

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