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Qaim takes credit for restoration of peace to Karachi

Qaim takes credit for restoration of peace to Karachi

KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Wednesday sounded a little annoyed at the prime minister’s statement that all credit went to the federal government for restoration of peace in Karachi, and recounted the Sindh government’s steps to maintain peace in the city.

“The law and order is a provincial subject and we have never been negligent towards our responsibilities. If law and order does not improve, people will not criticise the prime minister but they will hold the provincial government responsible,” he said.

The chief minister was speaking at a press conference at Chief Minister House where he announced the Pakistan Peoples Party’s plans to organise a large public meeting at Kakri ground in Lyari on April 26 to stage a comeback to its traditional stronghold which had shortly been badly scarred by gang warfare.

He said in answer to journalists’ questions that the Sindh government was bearing all expenditures of the ongoing targeted operation in the city and complained that it did not receive any help in this connection from the centre.

“We have sought Rs10 billion from the federal government to equip police force and other law enforcement agencies (LEAs) with modern weapons and equipment but have not received so far even a vehicle,” he said.

He believed the situation started improving in the city after the Sindh government took a number of steps to equip the LEAs with modern technology and weapons and raised the amount of compensation for the law enforcer who fell in line of duty from Rs200,000 to Rs2 million.

About the PPP’s planned show of power at the historic Kakri ground, he said the public meeting would be addressed by central leadership of the party including the party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari who would make important announcements about the advent of ‘a new era of development’ in Karachi from Lyari to Malir.

Mr Shah, who is also president of PPP’s Sindh chapter, said: “The public meeting will prove once again that Lyari was, still is and will remain a stronghold of the PPP.”

Lyari, the old city, has witnessed many important events of the PPP since the party was founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1967 and the Kakri ground served as a venue for historic wedding ceremony of Benazir Bhutto with Asif Ali Zardari in 1987.

But the party has not been able to hold any public meeting in the area since the rise of criminal gangs and their internecine wars to occupy and secure their turfs.

The chief minister said the government had spent Rs3.5 billion on development projects over the past seven years of PPP rule in Sindh. The party co–chairman was taking a keen interest in developing all backward areas of Karachi, particularly Lyari, he said.

He said the Sindh government had not only set up a general university in Lyari but also reserved 200 acres of land to construct its new campus. A medical college had been established and 14 schools had been renovated in the area under the public-private partnership, he said.

“We are trying to bring overall improvement in Karachi. District-wise budget has been allocated in the next budget to begin a new era of development in Karachi, starting from Lyari,” he said.

About Nabeel Gabol’s advice to PPP leadership to purge the party of rotten eggs, Mr Shah said that he did not like to make any comment on Gabol’s remarks but wanted only to ask him where he had been all that time. He, too, had enough material to talk about him but he did not consider it appropriate, he said.

In reply to a question about NA-246 by-polls, he said the entire constituency was a sensitive area where arrangements were being made to hold election in a free and fair manner.

He said the Rangers had pointed out some things to ensure peace on the day of polling and hoped the election would turn out to be a peaceful affair.

The chief minister was accompanied by PPP leaders Sharjeel Inam Memon, Javed Nagori, Syed Waqar Mehdi, Mian Rashid Rabbani, Najme Alam, Sardar Ahmad, Farzana Baloch, Ejaz Durrani, Latif Moghal, Mirza Maqbool Beg, Manzoor Abbas, Qasim Baloch and others at the news conference.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2015

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