Among the 14 MNAs of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that were elected from Karachi in the last general elections, Abdul Shakoor Shad’s victory was one of the biggest surprises, since he managed to defeat nothing less than the Popular Party of Pakistan (PPP)) the young supreme, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in the constituency of Lyari, which had been the stronghold of the PPP since the beginning of the match.
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The Lyari people voted for the PTI as they thought the PPP had failed to solve their problems. However, one year after the general elections, Shad is of the opinion that the PTI, which the federal government could form after the polls, has continually ignored him and his constituency.
Speaking to The News, he said he was not invited to the Sindh Infrastructure Development Committee meeting on Monday, although he was its member. Governor Imran Ismail, Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakhtiar, and others, attended the meeting to discuss the development of the city.
“I and my constituency are continually being ignored,” said Shad, the elected MNA of NA-246, a constituency comprising the Lyari and Old City areas of Karachi. “Residents, political and civil society activists and community organizations helped me win the polls against the PPP president just for generating changes and prosperity in the region affected by the conflict in the city. But now, I feel pressure from them because I don’t have teeth and the federal government is not helping me address civic problems. “
Shad, who remained associated with the PPP as his youth leader for several decades, had also played general elections from the seat of the Lyari National Assembly as an independent candidate, but could not win. After a decade, I arrived at the National Assembly after obtaining 52,750 votes in NA-246, defeating the president of the PPP who took third place after accumulating 39,325 votes.
He was supported by many political workers, civil society activists and community organizations in Lyari while seeking votes under the motto “Lyari Lyari walon ka [Lyari belongs to the people of Lyari]”.
Nasir Kareem Baloch, PTI candidate for the constituency of the Lyari PS-108 provincial assembly in the 2018 general elections, also left the party and joined the PPP after experiencing a similar apathy on the part of the PTI leadership towards the problems from Lyari.
Shad said there was now a common perception among Lyari residents that after the defeat of the PPP president of an area that was considered a PPP stronghold in Karachi, the provincial government had been ‘victimizing’ the area by not resolving their water, sewer and other civic issues. .
“In such a situation, I feel pressure from the residents to solve the civic problems of the area and, therefore, I have been seriously thinking about giving up the seat of the National Assembly due to that pressure,” said the MNA. However, he added that some PTI leaders had contacted him and assured him that his reservations would be addressed soon. He said he had been living in Lyari for years and understood the seriousness of civic problems in the area. “K-Electric, the Water and Sewer Board of Karachi, municipality of the Southern District: no department is interested in solving Lyari’s problems.”
Many residents and activists in the area agree with Shad regarding the apathy of the PTI towards Lyari. Zahid Barakzai, leader of Lyari Awami Mahaz (LAM), a group of local social activists, said the people of Lyari had voted for Shad and the PTI because they were frustrated with the PPP for their involvement in gang violence. “But now the residents, and even the young supporters of PTI, have been expressing their discontent with Shad over his inability to solve their problems.”
A LAM team had a meeting with Shad last week to discuss Lyari’s civic issues. Barakzai recalled that six months ago, Shad had brought the Minister of State for the Interior, Shehryar Khan Afridi, to Lyari, who promised to establish a mega NADRA center in the area, but the federal government had so far not started any work. PTI workers in the Southern District are also angry at the party for ignoring Shad. “The PTI has lost a great opportunity to keep its support intact in the city, especially Lyari,” said Shahzeb Mehmood, a supporter of the PTI in the Baghdadi area. I added that if the situation did not change, the party could not win a single seat of Lyari in local government polls.