PPP preparing to deal with blowback of Afghan situation in Karachi: Bilawal – Pakistan

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Thursday that the political party was preparing for and devising policies for Sindh — particularly Karachi — to deal with any “blowback” from the worsening Afghan situation.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting at the Chief Minister House in Karachi, Bilawal said Pakistan would have to face tests in the coming days and the PPP was the only political party that could handle them.

“Pakistan will face a loss from the situation developing in Afghanistan and there will be a severe blowback. If anywhere the blowback and reaction will be felt and seen, it will be in Karachi which is home to one of the largest populations of Pakhtuns in the world.

“If the situation in Afghanistan worsens then there will be effects on our environment. We are doing our preparation and making our policies on how to do the kind of development and ready the kind of system in Sindh and our capital Karachi to deal with the coming influx and blowback,” said the PPP chairman.

Bilawal stressed that there was a heavy responsibility to not only find solutions for the basic problems of the people but to deal with the “difficulties we are seeing in the coming tomorrow”.

“God forbid we will have to see the time of extremism and terrorism again which we had gotten out of. So we will only be able to confront it when the PPP has a stake, has a government and representation.”

Bilawal’s comments came the same day as Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah chaired the 26th meeting of the apex committee where the Afghan situation and its potential fallout were discussed.

CM Shah ordered law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in the meeting to tighten security across the province and enhance their coordinated intelligence to deal with any fallout.

The chief minister said that the withdrawal of US troops and Taliban advance was likely to lead to a rise in insurgency that “may affect Pakistan, particularly Karachi in terms of terrorism and influx of illegal immigrants, therefore we have to be prepared to control the situation”.

Additional Inspector General-Special Branch Ghulam Nabi Memon too informed the meeting that clashes between the Afghan government and Taliban could bring illegal immigrants to Sindh, particularly Karachi.

CM Shah directed law enforcement agencies to speed up their targeted operations against terrorists. He also gave instructions for a close watch on banned organisations and unruly elements.

Additionally, the chief minister ordered for hateful content and suspicious activities on social media to be monitored. “Some elements will try to incite sectarian hatred, which should not be tolerated under any circumstances,” CM Shah said.

Problems of Karachi

Bilawal noted that there had been an improvement in administrative and development works but more political ownership and checks and balances were needed.

“I have given a special task to the chief minister to find a solution for all of Karachi where we can solve problems of people with all checks and balances,” Bilawal said.

He added that a political representative should be selected in every city district who was familiar with the people’s problems, could monitor the local administration and serve as an access point for the public.

Bilawal said the issues of water supply, transport and trash collection were the “most important targets” for Karachi’s administration. He mentioned the various developments taking place to resolve the aforementioned issues.

“You and the Sindh government have to deliver on these three issues.”

Predicting that the PPP would form the next government, Bilawal said Karachi’s seats and its ownership were necessary for that to become reality. “This is a prime opportunity for the PPP,” Bilawal stressed.

“It is very necessary for the country that a PPP [majority] government is made but also for Karachi that the PPP comes in front from this city so we can defend it and deliver its rights to its citizens.”

Bilawal said injustices had been meted out against the city in the past and were still continuing, with the PPP the only political party to talk about them.

The PPP chairman called upon members of his party to stop their squabbling on a “war footing” for six to eight months. He said the general elections could happen at any time and the PPP had to start its preparations for them from today.