LAHORE - PTI Chairman Imran Khan Tuesday dashed to Lahore to meet the rain-stricken people here after the heavy downpour caused innumerable problems to the public at large.

It was his unscheduled visit to the City as he was to be in Karachi on Tuesday morning to run his party’s election campaign. But the unusual rains brought him to Lahore apparently with the intent to listen to the people’s grievances and concerns about the inadequate drainage system and the resultant problems they faced after the rain.

Accompanied by senior party leaders including Jahangir Khan Tareen, Aleem Khan and Dr Yasmin Rashid, Khan visited rain-affected parts of the City and blasted the previous Punjab rulers for their misplaced priorities and penchant for erecting huge structures ignoring the basic needs of citizens.

Lahore received over 230 millimeter of rains early Tuesday in three hours. It was a record downpour in decades that resulted in the killing of six persons, besides inundating most parts of the metropolis.

Addressing his supporters at the GPO and the Lakshmi crossings, Khan said that rains had exposed the false claims of the PML-N leaders about making Lahore just like Paris, the capital city of France. He emphasised that the streets of Paris would not sink due to heavy rain fall. While making such a statement, Khan was unmindful of the fact that had it rained so heavily in Paris and that too in a short span of three hours, the situation would not have been much different there as well.

Not long ago, the streets of Paris were presenting the scene of ponds in January this year after record-breaking rainfall paralyzed life in the City. For days, parts of Paris submerged due to an unrelenting downpour that also caused the River Seine to overflow. While the past rulers may rightly be criticized for not investing in projects of public utility like the drainage and sewerage systems, Imran’s utterance on this occasion was clearly an attempt at political point scoring in a situation when the people were facing hardships due to inundated streets. He seemed more to be on a mission to ‘fish in the troubled waters’ of Lahore than sympathizing with the people in distress. His unscheduled presence here on a rainy day was only reflective of his motive to fuel his party’s election campaign over people’s agonies.

In his address, Imran also stressed that his party did not believe in executing ornamental projects but the Sharif brothers focused more on receiving kickbacks and looting the national wealth heedless of the national priorities and public sentiments. He also took jibes at ex-chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying that a few hours of rainfall had washed away the so-called development mantra of Sharifs, thereby exposing their true face to the people. “A person who ruled over Punjab for 10 consecutive years could not give a reliable sewerage system to its capital city,” he said, adding that Shehbaz was directly responsible for the damage caused to the infrastructure and property since his arrogance and pride preceded the ground realities.

SLUGGISH CAMPAIGN AMID HEAVY RAIN

Though the electioneering was largely marred by the heavy downpour on Tuesday, candidates belonging to the PML-N and the PTI continued their election campaign in areas least affected by the rain.

PTI’s Aleem Khan addressed two corner meetings in NA-131, the National Assembly constituency from where party chief Imran Khan is contesting against Khawaja Saad Rafique of the PML-N. He also had door-to-door campaign in areas along Walton Road.

PTI’s candidate from NA-125, Dr Yasmin Rashid was also seen campaigning in her constituency. She did canvassing while standing in knee-deep water in various streets.

Senior PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif had meetings with party candidates from Lahore to chalk out strategy for the election campaign. Hamza also reiterated that he would be running the election campaign of his cousin Maryam Nawaz in NA-127 since she was taking care of her ailing mother in London.  Former provincial minister Imran Nazir visited a few rain-hit localities in his constituency and pledged his cooperation to redress their grievances.

PTI SEEKS QADRI’S SUPPORT IN NA-133

PTI’s candidate from NA-133 Ejaz Ahmad Ch went to see PAT Secretary General Khurram Nawaz Gandapur to seek his party’s support for the coming elections. Though PAT has announced not to contest the July 25 elections, Allama Qadri’s party has a significant vote bank in NA-133 which comprises the localities of Township, Kot Lakhpat and parts of Johar Town.

Gundapur reportedly told Ejaz Ch that he would consult Dr Tahirul Qadri and then inform him about PAT’s decision about supporting any party in the elections.

PPP’s Aslam Gill and PML-N’s Pervaiz Malik are also in the run from this constituency where the vote bank of Dr Qadri’s supporters may prove decisive in case there is a close contest among the three candidates.