Karachi - PML-N will revolutionise Karachi, which had been treated like a colony by the PPP, says Miftah Ismail who is contesting election from NA-244.
The former finance minister said this on Wednesday while speaking to notables of the area at the election office of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. People were flocking to his office in hundreds as he kicked off his election campaign.
Talking to The Nation the PML-N heavyweight said he desires significant transformation of Karachi – the city of his birth and brought up. He said he was quite sure about his victory in NA-244 as “Karachi is now open to all.”
Miftah had joined PML-N in early 1990s and he served as head and vice-chairman of Punjab Board of Investment and Trade. Later, he became the director of PIA and chairman of Privatization Commission. He was chief of staff of former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi, before taking oath as federal minister for finance on April 2018.
The PML-N leader firmly believes that the city is headed for a period of prosperity as a major political shift has happened. “People of Sindh do not want Pakistan Peoples Party anymore as they have seen their corruption and misadministration.”
He said he wanted progress of not only Karachi but the whole country and “this is the reason for my support to PML-N” despite being a member of Urdu speaking community.
“We all know that it is the PML-N that empowered the Rangers and took other measure which brought peace to Karachi,” he said, adding that peace is a prerequisite for progress.
“The residents of Karachi have taken a sigh of relief after successful operations of law enforcement agencies which eliminated different mafias and curtailed crime,” he pointed out.
The ex-minister said that in 2013, it was very difficult for PML-N and many other parties to run their election campaign. “Karachities are free to choose their representatives now and no one can dare stop them.”
Miftah is an economic and financial expert. The ongoing tax amnesty scheme, which has proved to be most successful in terms of tax collection, is also his brainchild.
The former minister said he’s good at calculation, be it mathematical or political; so, he would not let anyone mar the peaceful environment of the city or hoodwink the electorate.
He said PPP has been treating Sindh as a fiefdom while the MQM has too bad an image throughout the country, and PTI’s victory would be a disaster for Sindh politics. So, PML-N is the only hope for the masses of the province.
Though Miftah has begun a vigorous campaign and is holding corner meetings in the area, he believes that social media is best tool to navigate through the election and convince youth to support his party.
“We also have friends in different political parties including MQM and PSP who have assured us of their support,” he revealed.
He said the constituency comprises different ethnic communities including Hazara, Pasthuns, Sarikis and a significant number of Punjabi Christians.
“But more than 50 percent of population in the constituency is Urdu speaking and most of them have already put their weight behind us,” he claimed.
Asked about the main civic problems in his constituency, he said they are almost same as in other areas of the city and “definitely, I would improve the services” when elected.
He said they would not rely on Sindh government in future and run public projects and civic services with the help of federal government.
“I wish the people elect more than five PML-N MNAs in Karachi, so we can put our weight for further development of the city,” he added.
As for his party’s plans for the port city, he said the PML would install water distillation plant of 50 million gallon per day capacity to provide potable water to the whole city.
On setting the country’s economy straight, he suggested pursuing privatization with the consensus of all political parties and stakeholders.
On the issue of separating Karachi from rest of the Sindh, he said, “I will support Karachi province when elected. In my view, Karachi should be apart from Sindh; even all divisions of Sindh should be administratively separated so as to make distribution of funds easier.”
Talking about political engineering, Ismail said the establishment is not involved in political engineering in Karachi. “It is actually the PPP which is trying to manipulate the election through pumping funds into different constituencies,” he claimed.
“Everyone can visit the constituency of Saeed Ghani where development projects are still being carried out (by the caretaker government) through the funds of the Sindh government,” he claimed.
He also alleged that the demarcation of constituencies was done in a way that it benefited the Peoples Party the most.