‘New political contract, fair elections required’

Bureau Report

KARACHI: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Friday said a new political contract should be done followed by free and fair elections to solve the national issues.
The erstwhile premier held a press conference along with PML-N delegation after meeting Farooq Sattar in Karachi and maintained that dialogues are not being held among political parties for the first time and the incumbent government is responsible for that.
He said, “Pakistan will not make progress without Karachi which is its heart. PML-N started development projects in the metropolis during its tenure. We do not crave power; we only highlight issues of common people.”
Talking on the occasion, Farooq Sattar said PML-N’s previous tenure was better than the current term of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) if comparison is drawn between both.
He said, “The incumbent government has badly failed in resolving people’s issues. We do not want package and donation for Karachi. The importance of this city cannot be neglected and it should be given at least Rs 300 billion annually.”
PML-N leaders, who are currently in Karachi on a two-day visit, met with senior politicians from the city to chart a consensus for Pakistan’s political future.
A PML-N delegation, under senior party leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal, met estranged MQM leader Farooq Sattar at his residence to extend a conciliatory hand.
On the occasion, Abbasi recalled that party leader Nawaz Sharif had asked Sattar to join the PML-N, and said the invitation stands till date.
“We haven’t extended an invitation to Sattar today, but continue to hope he will join the PML-N one day,” said Abbasi.
Abbasi said Sattar has made a major contribution to the country’s politics and his addition to the PML-N will fortify the cause of democracy.
“We will also learn how to do politics from him,” the former prime minister said in a lighter vein.
Abbasi said that for the first time, political parties are not holding any talks, adding that the ruling party is generally expected to extend an olive branch to rivals.
‘Consider Shahid Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal my seniors’
Sattar also spoke to media, saying he was glad to receive the PML-N delegation, noting that he has previously worked with them in parliament.
“I consider Shahid Khaqan and Ahsan Iqbal my seniors,” said Sattar, adding that everyone should be on the same page for the issues faced by Karachi.
The federal government should give jobs to the people of Karachi and Hyderabad, he said.
PML-N delegation meets JI leaders
The PML-N delegation later arrived at the Idarah Noor e Haq, where they met with Jamat-e-Islami leaders.
Hafiz Naeem, who welcomed the PML-N delegation, said that the party’s leaders had visited the institution to condole the death of former Karachi mayor Naimatullah Khan.
During the visit, Abbasi said the PML-N delegation came to meet the JI leaders and offer condolence upon the direction of their party President, Shehbaz Sharif.
“The work late Naimatullah Khan did for Karachi is exemplary,” said the senior PML-N leader.
Abbasi said that every stakeholder needs to unite for the betterment of Karachi.
Criticising the government, he said that the people of Pakistan need fair and transparent elections.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, while speaking to media said that the party had worked a lot for Karachi’s issues during its tenure.
“We are ashamed to see the state Karachi has been reduced to,” Iqbal said.
Urging the masses to vote for the PML-N, Iqbal said that if voted into power again, the party will turn Karachi into “the most beautiful city of Pakistan”.
Former prime minister Abbasi, who is facing a NAB investigation like other party members in different cases, said that they have asked the government to broadcast their interrogation to the world.
Abbasi said that the investigation should be broadcast so that the nation knows how corrupt everyone really is.
The senior PML-N leader said that his party had worked for Karachi and initiated cheap power projects.
Elaborating on the statement, Abbasi said the PML-N government installed coal power plants, the Bin Qasim and Hub plants, adding that they also completed the Lyari Expressway in their tenure.
The PML-N delegation — comprising former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Miftah Ismail, Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Musadik Malik — earlier met with the MQM-P.
Referring to the meeting with the MQM-P on Wednesday, Abbasi said the meeting had aimed to explore ways to “strengthen democracy”.
It was held “not with a coalition partner of the government but with our political colleagues, who have been with us for 32 years now,” he said.
The PML-N leaders also went to the Quaid’s Mausoleum on Wednesday to pay their respects to the country’s founder.
When asked whether a grand alliance was being formed to remove the government, Abbasi said there was no need for one. “We came to Karachi to meet everyone. Our doors are open for everyone.”