KARACHI: Awami Tehreek President Ayaz Latif Palijo has claimed that Sindh is changing and the effects of this change will be visible during the upcoming general election in the country. He feels the National Assembly should have at least 1,000 seats so that people from poor and middle class segments of society could also contest the elections.
He believes the PPP-led government may hand over charge to anyone to prolong its rule. He regrets that the government has not implemented even a single part of the Supreme Court verdict on the Karachi law and order situation.
He says Pakistan has become a target of the world powers after it conducted nuclear tests back in 1998. Ayaz Palijo was replying to questions by anchorperson Iftikhar Ahmad and the audience in GeoNews programme “Awam ki Adalat”.
Palijo claimed that the PPP government and President Asif Zardari were ready to go to any extent to prolong their rule, even if it was extended by only three days. He said his party wanted to empower the people, and not any particular group or party. He said in a local government system, the mayor should be elected directly by the voters. In this way, the elected person would be representative of the entire city and not only of Defence, Clifton, Gulshan-e-Iqbal or Lyari.
To a question, Palijo said his party had no objection to the powers given under the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012. However, he added, he believed that the new law was a conspiracy to divide the Sindh province. He alleged that a new province was being created in Sindh through this law. Palijo said it was written nowhere in the Constitution that two systems would be run in one province; one system for one city and another system for the other city. He said there should be no discrimination amongst different cities of a province.
To another question, the Awami Tehreek chief said various world powers and some neighbouring countries wanted to destabilise Pakistan. They had opened various fronts in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, they were pitting the Seraikis and Punjabis against each other in the Punjab, and they have nefarious designs to attack Karachi and create another Israel on this land, Palijo warned. Pakistan has become a target of world powers after it went nuclear in 1998 and since then it has been facing various problems, he added.
Ayaz Palijo said Sindhis were being victimised to make them leave democracy for arms with an objective to destabilise the country, adding that the Awami Tehreek was a hurdle to this scheme as it supported peace. He said the party would continue its struggle in this regard and it would not allow disintegration of Sindh and Pakistan.
About extortion in Karachi, Ayaz Palijo said the real faces behind the menace could be exposed if the people from Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, transporters or those who lost their Nato supply containers were asked about it.
When asked why he did not share the information with Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who called him (Palijo) his son, he said the CJ was supportive only in legal matters and he would not take any illegal course. He never acted on the advice of the son and he would not do it in the future as well, he added. Palijo said the CJ took suo motu of Karachi situation and gave three verdicts in this regard, but none of them was implemented by the PPP government. He said the CJ had ordered the government to deweaponise Karachi and do away with the no-go areas there, but the government did not implement the orders.
When asked why people did not respond to his protest call and why they did not cast vote for him, Palijo said there was no one replacing the feudal class and Rs20 million were needed to contest a provincial assembly seat. He said the election results could be manipulated at gunpoint. However, he expressed the hope that the coming elections would make a significant difference, adding that Sindh was changing. He said his party was mobilising people, adding that the rural areas of Sindh had become no-go areas for the PPP and its leaders had taken shelter in Clifton to save themselves from the public wrath. He said at the moment, Rs20m were spent on a provincial assembly seat and Rs40 million were needed to contest a National Assembly seat. However, he claimed that his party would change the system with the public support.
Calling for an increase in the number of National Assembly seats, he said the population of Britain was one third of Pakistan’s but the number of its Legislative Assembly seats was twice that of ours. He said the number of the National Assembly seats should be at least 1,000 so that the poor and people from the middle class could also contest elections.
He said whosoever supported the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 would commit treachery — be it his brother, uncle or he himself. He said no feudal lord should fool the people in the name of Sindhi Topi (cap) or Ajrak, in the name of Sindhi nationalism.
Stressing the need to safeguard the rights of labourers and farmers, he said the basic problems of the poor, like price-hike, loadshedding and unemployment, should be solved. He said the rulers created issues out of non-issues — like Malala and drone attacks — every fortnight, just to divert the attention of the people from the real problems of the masses. To protest against the problems facing the poor, he said his party members marched on foot from October 8, 2010 to November 20, covering a distance from Kandhkot to Karachi in 46 days.
When asked if it was true that Awami Tahreek became the target of criticism after all nationalist parties united against the Local Government Act and started a joint struggle against the government, he agreed saying the Sindh chief minister and other ministers had spoken against him at a rally in Hyderabad.
To a question about the social evils, like violation of the rights of women, children and minorities prevalent in the society, he said Awami Tehreek was struggling to uproot the evils. They had saved many girls from becoming victims of Karo-Kari, he said and added that they still needed to do a lot in this regard.
Courtesy: The News