Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Monday rejected the by-election scheduled for Sindh's local body elections, drawing criticism from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) which demanded the foreign minister "accept the reality".
Bilawal, while speaking at the ceremony for laying the foundation stone of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Cardiovascular Disease at Karachi's Korangi, recounted his government’s efforts to upgrade healthcare facilities in Sindh.
Countering those who said that his party had done nothing for people in the province, Bilawal said: “We have made a network of hospitals across the province. This network of hospitals provides world-class healthcare free of cost.”
Sindh’s NICVD can compete against any hospital in India, US, or UK, he said.
The PPP chairman alleged that the "health card" being offered in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) was nothing but a fraud.
“In the name of the health card, people's money was being given to private insurance companies instead of hospitals.”
Furthermore, he said: “I appeal to a certain political party to leave behind its extremist ideologies and its politics of hate.”
Speaking on the matter of by-elections in the metropolis, he said that they were supposed to take place around a year ago.
“While the first phase was carried out time; however, seeing that PPP was winning the second phase, they delayed the second phase consistently, citing various excuses.”
For the first time, PPP swept through the Hyderabad and Karachi divisions, the PPP chairman said.
He said that the local body elections have been held but there are no representatives. If the elections were held on time, the elected representatives of the people would have been there to help them in the flood situation.
“Who is stopping people from having their representatives come to power?” he asked, adding, “We reject this joke of a schedule.”
He requested the Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Law Minister Murtaza Wahab to challenge the schedule in the Sindh High Court.
“These powers cannot tolerate the mayor of Karachi will be from PPP. However, soon the Karachi mayor will be a jiyala.”
It must be noted that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has recently announced the schedule for polls for 93 local government seats in different categories in Sindh.
Due to the demise of candidates, the elections could not be held in constituencies across the Karachi and Hyderabad divisions, where the LG polls were held in January.
According to the schedule, candidates may submit their nomination papers between March 20 and 22, and the scrutiny of the nomination papers would be done by March 28.
In response to Bilawal's statement, JI leader Hafiz Naeem criticised the PPP leader. “Bilawal sir, accept the facts,” Hafiz Naeem said, adding that even after doing everything in their power, the PPP could not get majority votes.
He took a jab at Bilawal saying: “Do not be afraid of the by-elections.”
He further said: “If you were in such a rush, why did the local body elections get delayed for two and a half years?”
Hafiz Naeem concluded by saying that the mayor of Karachi would be from his party.