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April 6, 2017

‘PPP has plundered Sindh, divided its people, murdered concept of merit’


April 6, 2017

MQM-Pakistan issues 79-page white paper on provincial government’s performance

Shambolic governance, systemic corruption, violence and discriminatory policies that have furthered a potentially ruinous rural-urban divide in the province; these have, unfortunately, been the major takeaways from the past eight years of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s rule in Sindh.

With these words, Dr Farooq Sattar, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement – Pakistan (MQM-P), set the tone for his party’s press conference convened on Wednesday to issue a 79-page white paper on the PPP-led provincial government’s performance.

One of the aspects heavily criticised by the MQM-P chief was the quota system and the consequent imbalance between urban and rural Sindh. “This institutionalised divide between the urban and rural population is present in no other province. To this day, it remains a cause of friction among the inhabitants of Sindh,” said Sattar.

“What else could be expected of the party which, during its first tenure in the 70s, laid the foundation for a permanent rural-urban divide between the people of Sindh.”

Expanding on this view, Sattar spoke of the disparities prevalent in affairs of the provincial civil services. “The PPP is a murderer of merit. Apart from discriminating against urban dwellers, their government even forced people from rural areas to buy jobs. They have been exploiting the system to its very limit.”

“The quota system is outdated; it has been 40 years since it was introduced and it is high time to change things. This system and the 60-40 rural-urban ratio has contributed to actual merit becoming secondary for professional success,” said the MQM-P chief.

Lamenting that the provincial government lacked sincerity of purpose, he alleged that it was the feudal class in Sindh that was exploiting the situation at the cost of society's marginalised sectors.

The opposition party, which also used yesterday’s presser to issue a 10-point charge sheet against the PPP government, presented a demand for the formation of a judicial commission to evaluate the pros and cons of the quota system. 

It also called for a judicial commission to probe reasons for the lawlessness and violence that remained rampant during the PPP’s consecutive tenures.

The MQM leader also extensively discussed as to how the Sindh government allegedly failed to share federal funds with the local governments at urban centres in the province. He said Karachi hardly gets a two to three percent share from the federal government and about seven to eight percent from Sindh, adding that the benefits of the 18th Amendment, particularly empowering provinces to levy sales tax on services, have been denied to the people of urban cities that contribute more than 90 percent to the total tax generated under this head.

Sattar contended that in its 2008-2013 tenure the PPP government allocated only Rs28 billion to urban areas of Sindh, the measly portion coming from a provincial development outlay of Rs700 billion.

He alleged that the PPP had misappropriated billions of rupees on development schemes and projects, with the latest example being the misuse of funds in Larkana.

Another important point raised by the MQM was the manner in which power devolved to local governments was usurped by the PPP-led provincial government.

“From 2009 till 2016, we witnessed an open display of defiance of constitutional provisions. Over this time not only was the edifice and spirit of participatory democracy overlooked, but the reformatory mould of 2001-2008 was also razed to ground,” said the MQM-P chief.

With Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar by his side, Sattar spoke of the manner in which the PPP government took vital civic functions under its control after the local government polls.

“The authorities which should have been an integral part of local governments but are now under the absolute jurisdiction of the Sindh government include the Sindh Building Control Authority, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, Karachi Development Authority, Lyari Development Authority, Malir Development Authority, Hyderabad and Sehwan Development Authority, and departments working on master planning, mass transit/transport and municipal taxes.”  

The MQM-P chief concluded with a comment on the importance of yesterday’s event, stating that it was a reminder of the days of a united MQM and the first time since Altaf Hussain’s August 22 incendiary speech that the party’s entire leadership came together for a show of strength.

“Come 2018, the MQM will rise to power in Sindh. We will do everything in our power to bring back the wealth plundered over the years and put Sindh on the road to sustainable prosperity and development.”

Along with Mayor Akhtar, MQM leaders in attendance included Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hasan, Amir Khan, Faisal Sabzwari, Amin-ul-Haq, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Kunwar Naveed Jameel, Ali Raza Abidi, Rauf Siddiqui, Saif Yar Khan and Heer Soho.

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