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September 25, 2020

MQM-P won’t withdraw demand for separate province, rally told


September 25, 2020

Launching its province-wide protest campaign for the ‘rights of urban Sindh’, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leaders on Thursday lambasted the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government for ruling over the province for the last 13 years on the basis of an ‘artificial majority’.

The MQM-P held a rally that started in Karimabad and ended at the Mazar-e-Quaid. A large number of people, including women, joined the rally in the form of convoys arriving from various neighbourhoods of the city.

Reiterating the demand for a separate province comprising the urban parts of Sindh, the MQM-P leaders said Karachi had been destroyed in the past few years. Addressing the rally, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, the party’s convener, said the creation of a separate province was a constitutional demand of the people of the urban areas of Sindh.

“Sindh has a strong case for forming a new province,” he said. “It is not wrong for residents of urban areas of Sindh province to demand a separate province under the current circumstances.”

He said that the calendar of Pakistan starts from migration and Mohajirs. “We are the sole owner of evacuee lands in Sindh called Matrooka Sindh,” he said. He added that “today’s public meeting in Karachi would silence the party’s opponents and critics who were hatching up a conspiracy against the MQM-P”.

Without naming the Jamaat-e-Islami, a party that has announced a rally for the rights of Karachi on Sunday, Siddiqui said that the religious party used to criticise us by terming the MQM-P an ethnic party for organising such rallies. “But now, it is also carrying out rallies for the rights of the metropolis.”

The MQM-P leader said that the 18th constitutional amendment remained an unfinished agenda if the Article 140-A was not implemented. He said that in the civilised countries, local police looked after the law and order of cities and being the economic hub of the country, Karachi needed an effective system of community policing. “If the MQM-P came in power, local police would be deputed in Lalukhet [Liaquatabad], Lyari and Malir.”

Siddiqui said that the population of the urban areas of Sindh, particularly Karachi, was deliberately underreported in the last census and the practice had been continuing for the past several decades.

He claimed that development work from funds allocated for the metropolis under the Karachi Transformation Plan, a financial package worth Rs1.1 trillion, were not seen anywhere. Unrest and resentment prevailed within the people of Karachi because of appointment of non-resident policemen and government officials from the interior of Sindh in the city, the MQM-P convener remarked.

Aamir Khan, MQM-P’s senior deputy convener, said the presence of a large number of residents of Karachi in the rally was proof of their demand for carving out a separate province in Sindh.

"We [MQM-P] won't withdraw the demand for a separate province,” Khan said. “If the people of urban Sindh are denied their rights and local government is deprived of its authority, they will demand a new province.”

He said more than 100 activists of the party were still missing. “The government should clearly decide whether it wants the party which was before August 22, 2016, or after that,” Khan stated, mentioning that after August 22, 2016, the MQM was split into its London and Pakistan factions following the party founder Altaf Hussain’s anti-Pakistan speech. “If the MQM-P was to be treated as a proscribed outfit, the authorities should openly announce it.”

Faisal Subzwari, another MQM-P leader, lashed out at the Sindh government for appointing ‘non-local officers’ as administrators in cities across the province. He said the deputy commissioners were making fake domiciles and snatching employment and education opportunities of the youth of urban Sindh.

He said Karachi, a city that was paying the highest amount of taxes, was not getting its due share in the provincial budget which was a continuation of the PPP’s policies of overlooking urban centres of the province.