Monday October 02, 2023

MQM-Pakistan’s massive rally ‘proves vote bank still intact’

April 24, 2017

Party chief warns PPP to get ready to face consequences of ‘corrupt policies’

The city was abuzz with political activity on Sunday as major parties of the province gave vent to their frustrations with the government by staging rallies for the rights of urban Sindh.

The biggest gathering was organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P). Titled ‘Huqooq-e-Karachi’ (Rights of Karachi), the rally commenced from Liaquatabad and culminated at Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s mausoleum.

Passing through Liaquatabad, a stronghold of the then unified MQM, proved to be quite a challenging task. Supporters of MQM founder Altaf Hussain shouted slogans against MQM-P chief Dr Farooq Sattar, terming him a “traitor”. However, there was no retaliation from MQM-P supporters.

The entire route of the rally was covered with the MQM-P’s tricolour flags. The Jamaat-e-Islami’s flags were hoisted alongside the MQM-P’s. There was also wall-chalking in favour of Hussain, and songs were also played at some camps set up for the rally.

Interestingly, the then MQM’s rival factions, the Afaq Ahmed-led MQM-Haqiqi and the Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party, endorsed the MQM-P rally because they wanted to back any party that spoke for the city.

‘Defining moment’

Addressing the massive gathering at the Quaid’s mausoleum, MQM-P chief Dr Farooq Sattar said his party and the voters of Karachi were inseparable. “Any conspiracy to snatch the MQM-P’s mandate will be foiled.”

Satisfied with the turnout, Sattar said the people’s participation in the rally proved that the MQM-P’s vote bank was still intact. “We have arrived at a defining moment. Everyone can witness today that we have revived our party. It’s time for a decision.”

He said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) should get ready to face the consequences of its “corrupt policies”. “The Waderas and the mafias of the PPP will soon be held accountable.”

He stressed that the local government system was the future of the country, and demanded that the local bodies of the province be empowered in accordance with the Constitution.

He also called upon the Sindh government to hand over the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board, the master plan department, the building control authority and the solid waste management board to the city mayor so he could serve the people better.

On the subject of population count, the MQM-P chief said that if the exercise was conducted in a transparent manner, then the next provincial chief minister would undoubtedly be from their party. “We have created awareness in the people, our voters have stood against malpractices and corruption, and nobody can dare steal our mandate.”

He assured the gathering that the party’s detained workers would soon be released. “I shall take up the issues of the people of the urban areas at every level, and very soon people will hear the good news of recovery of our missing people.”

He reiterated that the MQM-P’s decision to distance itself from Hussain should not be taken lightly, because the Sattar-led party was patriotic. He also announced opening of the party’s offices in Hyderabad and Larkana.

MQM-P senior deputy chief Amir Khan said the party would ask for creating a new province if the Urdu-speaking community was deprived of its rights. “We were behind the creation of a separate homeland for Muslims but, unfortunately, we are being pushed to the wall.”

Mayor Waseem Akhtar said the people gave the MQM-P their mandate and it must be respected. He also demanded powers for the LG setup. “The rights of the city must be handed over to its elected representatives.”