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July 22, 2019

PSP seeks more revisions in 18th Amendment

Top Story

July 22, 2019

KARACHI: In a move clearly aimed at exhibiting its political strengths in Karachi, the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) on Sunday held a successful rally, where party leaders, especially party Chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal, spoke about the city’s civic issues and said that the Sindh province needs decentralisation and devolution of powers under the local government system.

In the Bagh-e-Jinnah, a barren piece of land adjacent to the Quaid's mausoleum, the PSP managed to attract a large number of people to its rally that was with theme “Karachi Ab Nahi to Kab” (Karachi Now or never).

Terming the rally the biggest political gathering in the city’s history, the PSP Chairman Kamal in his speech said that his party’s message has been spreading across the country.

He said that attendance of people from all ethnic, sects and class backgrounds clearly show that the PSP is the only national-level party in the country. “The PSP is there to bridge the ethnic divide,” said Kamal, who has also previously served as the mayor of the city.

He said that no one was ready to take responsibility for Karachi’s problems despite having representatives in the federal, provincial and local governments. Demanding more revisions in the 18th Amendment, Kamal said that the amendment was meant to devolve powers to union committee level and the money of the National Finance Commission should be given to district and cities to resolve the civic issues at grassroot level, but unfortunately it is not happening.

“We were happy for the passage of the 18th Amendment and supported it on every forum. But after it, the Sindh province has been receiving 799 billion rupees, but no one knows where is it going and spent,” Kamal said.

He said that the Sindh government has made Karachi’s elected city government dormant and toothless. “We demand that there is no need for the local government minister and powers should be given to elected city mayor.” He suggested that the chief minister should be above the mayor, not a local government minister.

He said that residents have to stand up against the failed leadership which is turning the city into a garbage dump, and responsibility for decaying infrastructure and no education and health facilities.

He said that the prime minister does not invite the Sindh chief minister in the meeting. “So who will resolve the issues of the city,” he asked. “People of Karachi should have to decide whether they want to die or to fight for their rights.” He said that seven million children are out of school in Sindh province.

Kamal said the narratives that the past governments were to blame for the current situation in the country would not work any longer. He said that all the three governments -- federal, provincial and city -- have badly failed to resolve the city's issues.

"Today Karachi has stood against all these governments and their future is PSP," he said. He warned that he will wait for a few days for a response from the federal and Sindh government and then he will take to the streets with the residents.

He also questioned law enforcement agencies about the presence of weapons that have been used in street crimes and suggested recruiting local residents in police force in order to curb street crimes in the city. He also said that the PSP had become stronger after losing the 2018 general elections.

The party's key leader, Anis Qaimkhani, said that the country would not move on the path of progress and prosperity in the current political turmoil. He said today's successful rally shows that residents of the city are with Kamal and development. “Today change and ethnicity-based politics have failed."

Without naming the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Arshad Vohra, former deputy mayor and a PSP leader, said that that who are sitting with the prime minister are showing banners inscribed with the demand “give money for K-IV project” in the city.

The party’s spokesperson, Asiya Ishaq, said that the people who had been dreaming that the PSP would finish after last year’s general elections had been humiliated because of their cruelties and injustices with the people. She warned that the government should improve its performance or the people would reject them outright.

Prominent among other speakers included Bilquis Mukhtar, Shamshad Siddiqui, Ataullah Kurd, Syed Hafeezudin, and Ashfaq Mangi.