Musharraf taps Pakistani- Bengali voter base in Karachi rally

Karachi, Jan 9(ANI): Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf sought to tap the Bengali vote during his telephonic speech to a Karachi rally over the weekend.

Musharraf raised the issues confronted by Bengalis residing in Karachi.

"I believe the Bengalis living in this country are patriotic Pakistanis and whatever issues they are facing regarding their citizenship [eg ID cards] will be resolved," The News quoted Musharraf, as saying.

A Pakistani-Bengali association, Ittehad claimed that over 15,000 Bengalis participated in the rally but independent observers said that maximum 20,000 people were present at the rally.

"This was the first time a Bengali actually spoke from the podium at a mass rally in the city. It is a matter of great honor. Bengalis are mostly poor daily wagers; all we want is to live with dignity in this city. We are living in this country for the past 40 years," a rally participant said.

A majority of the participants at the rally said inflation was relatively less daunting and employment prospects brighter during Musharraf's tenure.

Musharraf said the rally "was not a tsunami but an earthquake". n estimated population of over 2.5 million Bengalis live in Karachi who are mostly employed as menial labourers or micro-entrepreneurs. (ANI)