KARACHI - Former prime minister and PML-N President Nawaz Sharif Thursday said the people were well aware of the sanctity of vote and his party would change the shape of the port city as well as Sindh if it was voted to power once again.

Nawaz expressed these views while addressing PML-N workers after chairing a Sindh chapter executive committee meeting of the party at a local hotel in Karachi.

Earlier, Nawaz reached Karachi for the first time after his disqualification by the Supreme Court on July 28 last. Nawaz who is on a two-day visit to the port city reached here early afternoon and was received by Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair, Federal Minister Abid Sher Ali and other party leaders. A number of PML-N workers were also present at the Jinnah International Airport to receive the former PM. They showered rose petals on his car and raised slogans in his favour.

According to a PML-N spokesperson, Nawaz will hold his party’s Sindh chapter meeting to make a comprehensive policy for the next general elections, including an electoral alliance with other political forces of the province.

Addressing the party workers, Nawaz promised to change the shape of the port city and asked the people to give him another chance. He said there was a big difference between Karachi of 2013 and that of 2018. He said Karachi was very important to him and it was his desire that it should progress and develop faster as compared to other cities. Inviting the people of Karachi to visit Lahore, Nawaz said the provincial capital of Punjab had won the race of progress, development and attraction.

On the occasion, Nawaz repeated his question “Mujhay Kyun Nikala”. “First, I was disqualified and now tactics are being employed to keep me away from the next general elections. Was a prime minister ever dismissed over not receiving an imaginary salary?” he questioned. Nawaz said democracy and rule of law is the only way to put the country on path of progress. “A verdict removed me from the slot of PM, so I could not complete my tenure. The people have rejected this verdict as they know I had spent more than half of my life in serving them.

Talking about the current situation of Sindh, Nawaz Sharif said the province should have emerged as an outstanding part of the country, but it was still facing poverty. The education system had collapsed and there was no infrastructure in Sindh to create job opportunities for the people of the province. PML-N was moving with the agenda of bringing the real change and would change the entire shape of the province if it came to power, Nawaz Sharif promised. Karachi would again become the city of lights if PML-N took the charge of the city, the former premier added.

Criticising his political opponent, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, he said there was no sign of progress in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PTI-led provincial government had not produced a single unit of electricity to eliminate loadshedding in KP, he asserted. He also came down hard on Khan over his claim to have planted two billion trees in the province.

Later, holding a meeting with traders, Nawaz Sharif said terrorism was the major challenge which the federal government had to face after coming to power. “We rooted out terrorism not only from Karachi but also from the entire country. It was our effort to restore peace in Karachi despite the fact that the port city witnessed numerous strikes and business closures. There was a time when Karachi was known as the city of lights. It is my promise that PML-N, after coming to power, will bring back its beauty,” said the former prime minister. He criticised Pakistan People’s Party’s provincial government over its failure to provide basic facilities to the people of Sindh.

He averred it was the responsibility of the provincial government to provide better transport system to the people, but nothing had been done in this regard.

He claimed PML-N’s federal government had brought improvement in every part of the country. He further claimed his government had ended loadshedding and improved the law and order situation.

Nawaz Sharif is also scheduled to meet the business community of the province on Friday (today). He will attend a seminar on the future of democracy in Pakistan. He is likely to visit the construction site of Green Line Project to review its progress.

The party leadership revealed Nawaz Sharif would meet a delegation of Pakistan Bengali Association besides addressing a lawyers’ gathering on Friday.