Lyari is the old part of Karachi where the leaders of Pakistan movement including Founder of the country Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah used to visit frequently. Even, ex-Commissioner of Sindh Sir Bartle Frere during British rule used to visit famous Khadda (Lyari) on weekly basis to meet an old lady of fisher folk as he used to describe her “mother”. For Pakistan Peoples Party, Lyari has served as a veritable fortress since its inception and its poor people have equally supported the founder of Pakistan Peoples Party, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, ex-Prime Minister Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, President Asif Ali Zardari and their nominees by rendering unprecedented sacrifices.

Under a conspiracy hatched by an ethnic group, a bad impression was widely created for Lyari for the last many years that it was only a haven for criminals in Karachi and no peace loving and law-abiding people are living there. This is totally wrong and unacceptable. For example, I have spent about 35 years in Lyari and found that overwhelming majority of the residents are peace loving like other areas. For example my neighbours in Lyari were; Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah, ex-chief Justice of Pakistan and his great father late Syed Roshan Ali Shah, ex-Registrar Sindh High Court, former City Mayor of Karachi Abdul Sattar Afghani for the years.

It is an undeniable fact that no development project was launched in Lyari for the last many years including periods of two City Nazims namely Maulana Naimatullah (Jamat-i-Islami) and Syed Mustafa Kamal (MQM) including full tenures of ex-military dictator General (r) Musharraf and also Nawaz Sharif’s both governments in order to victimise poor people of Lyari who otherwise were deprived of remaining basic amenities with the passage of time, for supporting PPP.

No doubt, a small part of Lyari is centre for illegal activities but that is only a small part of the entire equation. Nonetheless, there is need to take ruthless action equally in the entire city. Limiting the operation to only one area i.e. Lyari is unjust. This is categorical discrimination that cannot be tolerated. It was also on record that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah stated sometime back that the operation in Lyari was launched without his prior information. It appears that some influential people in present government who are not genuine well wishers of PPP government want to eliminate PPP support from the traditional constituency of Lyari. And if the prevailing situation persists a little longer, it would not be possible for the PPP to win the National Assembly seat from Lyari this time.

I appeal on behalf of peace loving residents of Lyari to President Asif Zardari to discourage the elements trying to sabotage PPP’s political base in Lyari.

MOHAMMAD KHAN SIAL,

Karachi, April 6.