The Sindh Governor-designate Imran Ismail has rescinded his statement about dismantling the encroaching walls around the Bilawal House, Karachi, but it has not soothed the former president and now a member of the National Assembly Asif Ali Zardari’s nerves.
He has arranged yet another meeting, but this time at his Bilawal House in Karachi. Present are his children Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa, his sisters, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuhu, provincial minister of Sindh for health, population welfare, and Sindh assembly member Faryal Talpur. Also present are Sindh chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, and advisors, former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, party secretary-general Farhatullah Babar, who was press secretary during Zardari’s presidency, and Sen. Sherry Rehman, leader of the opposition in the Senate.
After duly flashing his trademark grin, the former president speaks grimly, “None of us … I says none of us should rest on their oars thinking the threat is gone and vanished only because Imran Ismail has issued a statement to pacify us about not flattening or bulldozing the walls erected around our Bilawal House.
“You know even in that quote unquote clarification, he again repeated that locals face immense problems due to the walls erected around our house.
“We should not be lulled into complacence that he gives due honor to this house, the residence of Pakistan’s former prime minister … our great martyr Benazir Bhutto … and that it is the primary residence of Asif Ali Zardari, the first president to fulfill the five year term.
“No, we cannot rest … we cannot let anyone touch the grandeur and the authority that is our right and indeed the birthright of my children, because no other family but this family has offered the greatest sacrifices to Pakistan. The nation has to continue acknowledging us forever in kind for these sacrifices … the ultimate sacrifices of our Great and Revered Leader and Martyr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and our beloved BB … our Pinky … our Benazir!
“We have to be on the watch. I heard that this person who calls himself a social activist, Jibran Nasir bleating about the loss to business at Boat Basin. So some teeny businsses are more important than the ones in whose veins runs the blood of the Bhuttos?
“You remember after his 2013 win, Dr. Arif Alvi, who is now trying to become president of Pakistan, had staged a protest right in front of our house that during his election campaign he had promised to the people in the constituency that he would make every effort to get all roads reopened. He had even called it a ‘illegal encroachment’.
“One cannot predict when some smart guy will dig up the Supreme Court order that validated the September 2013 Sindh High Court order that this wall was illegal and had asked for its removal but the Sindh government had not acted on this order. Of course it was our Sindh government.
“You know with Imran Khan is power in Islamabad, Lahore, and Peshawar, with good influence in Balochistan, someone is going to bring up the issue that we have usurped public property for our personal use.
“It is just the residents of Block 2 of Clifton, especially those living opposite our house along the main road who consider these road barriers are an irritant for them. They allege that the service road is not inadequate for the traffic, especially in the afternoon and evening hours.
“So … why don’t they just stop using the service road! Who asked … who authorized them to build and live in our neighborhood? We did not. Period.
“There is the old saying that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. I have been told that some people are saying that the high walls along the main road are an eyesore and give an ugly look not only to the locality but also to our house itself. Does anyone agree … no … never … our authority over everything is more sacred than anything or anyone? We own Sindh!
“I should have asked Malik Riaz to build and gift to us this Bilawal House too. The Bilawal House in Lahore is bombproof and we don’t need protective walls like we have here.
“Syed Murad Ali Shah … Murad you being the chief minister and Sindh under our control, you must act more firmly in every manner you can. To start, you should make all textbooks in our province teach that our family… my family has the right to anything we desire. They should be taught to reject the notions such as the so-called public inconvenience or what when it comes to serving my family.
“I want everyone in Sindh, whatever language they may speak, to know that our family has contributed not one but two martyrs, and we have the right to own everything,” the former president concluded.