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Zardari set to return to Karachi amid fanfare

Party supporters have started arriving at Karachi’s old Jinnah terminal in small groups in anticipation of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s return to Pakistan after 18 months.

A tweet sent out by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari shows Zardari preparing for his departure from Dubai to Pakistan with a ceremonial blessing.

Former president Zardari is returning to Pakistan after abruptly leaving the country in June last year following a hard-hitting speech in which he lashed out at the military establishment for overstepping its domain.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had welcomed the announcement of Zardari’s return.
Photos released prior to Zardari’s departure from Dubai.

“Frankly, I am happy on his return. He should come and take over the reins of his party,” the premier said.

PPP supporters, some of whom have travelled from cities across the province, are waiting at the old airport hours ahead of Zardari’s expected landing.
Photo released prior to Zardari’s departure from Dubai.

According to reports, people have travelled on buses from Larkana, Nawabshah and Jamshoro. Some have also arrived from Karachi’s Orangi Town, Malir and Lyari areas.

Zafar Cheema, a resident of Gujranwala in Punjab, said, “This the PPP is the oldest party, this is our party,” while speaking to DawnNews.
Zafar Cheema holds a poster of Benazir Bhutto with her son Bilawal Bhutto.

“No matter what problems we have, we will support this party,” he added.

Mohammad Sharif, who has travelled from Kotri, Jamshoro to be part of the celebrations, told DawnNews, “I’m here to attend the jalsa because my family always voted for the PPP.

“This party is the only one representing us right now. They built roads in our area and reduced electricity shortage,” he said.
Mohammad Sharif, a party supporter from Kotri, Jamshoro holds up a poster welcoming former President Zardari.

However, when asked if he had any expectation from Zardari’s speech today, he replied: “We don’t have expectations from anyone anymore.”

Mohammad Nattha, a resident of Safoora Goth, expressed his support for the party while speaking with DawnNews.
Mohammad Natha from Safoora Goth expresses his support for PPP. ─DawnNews

“I have nothing to do with Zardari. I’m here because of my affiliation with the flag and party.”

“I have never asked the party for anything. And I won’t. I believe they’ll take care of my needs,” he added.

Gamraj Narayan, a guitarist by profession, said, “I want the party to start thinking of the poor.”

“People like us who only have their support to give to them but mostly get ignored when it comes to their needs.”
Gamraj Narayan talks about his expectations from the PPP

Stringent security measures have been taken in preparation. Party workers are providing the bulk of the security, but between 5,000 and 6,000 police officers have also been deployed in the area.

Officers of the Special Branch and Bomb Disposal Squad have also been engaged.

The crowd at the airport is expected to grow, and media reports have said that the celebrations may continue into the evening as party workers have been spotted putting up lights.

courtesy : dawn news

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