KARACHI: Making progress in its campaign for the forthcoming by-election for PS-114 Karachi, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has managed to convince the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) to support its candidate Najeeb Haroon.
PTI General Secretary Jehangir Tareen met PML-F senior leader and former MPA of the constituency Sardar Abdul Raheem at the latter’s residence on Wednesday. Later, Raheem announced that his party would support the PTI candidate.
Raheem told reporters that he had received a call from Pir Pagara, the PML-F president, on Tuesday night. Pagara directed Raheem to meet PTI leaders and assure them that the PML-F would support their candidate.
Raheem further said he had decided it was the right time to meet the PTI as Tareen was also present in the city.
“We trust the PTI candidate and believe that he will serve the constituents. All other parties in the race for the seat have done nothing in the past,” he said. “Voters should definitely consider Najeed Haroon as their representative.”
Raheem criticised the provincial and federal governments for not giving Karachi its due share in the budget.
“The government prepared the budget without considering the NFC Award and neglected Karachi,” he added.
The PML-F leader lamented the lack of development in Karachi for the past years in terms of mass transit, infrastructure or additional water supply.
“People are now fed up with the existing leadership and they seek someone who can bring a positive change into their lives,” Raheem maintained.
Speaking to reporters, PTI’s Tareen said with the PML-F’s support, the party’s campaign in the constituency will become even stronger and that would help his party win the seat.
Tareen said he had visited the constituency on Tuesday night and was disheartened to see the state of civic affairs in the area.
“The local government system there is a fraud. The real local government system is the one in which affairs are dealt with at the local level instead of the provincial government exercising all the powers of the local government,” Tareen said, taking a jab at the Sindh government.
He added that the city needed a local government system such as the fully-empowered system of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (where his party rules), otherwise the state of Karachi will turn from bad to worse.
Tareen said if the past governments had given budget funds to the city regularly, it would not be in such a pathetic state now. “I urge voters to support the PTI to get rid of the problems they have been facing for the last 40 years,” he said.
The PTI leader also spoke about the ongoing probe into the Panama Papers case, saying that the joint investigation team had presented evidence in the Supreme Court that showed that the government was involved in tampering with records.
He further said that although the party had decided to accept the decision of the court in the case, it would still be better for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down until the investigation was under way.
Electioneering in PS-114 is in full swing, with the election scheduled for July 9. Just a few days ago, the PTI had also succeeded in convincing PS-114’s ousted MPA Irfanullah Marwat to lend his support to PTI’s Haroon in the by-election.