Zardari set to return to Karachi amid fanfare

Zardari set to return to Karachi amid fanfare

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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.

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.

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.

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Zafar Cheema, a resident of Gujranwala in Punjab, said, “This [the PPP] is the oldest party, this is our party,” while speaking to DawnNews.

“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.”

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

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.