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October 19, 2020

JI extends referendum for Karachi’s rights for three days

Karachi

October 19, 2020

The Jamaat-e-Islami’s Karachi chapter on Sunday announced extending its three-day Karachi referendum campaign for further three days.

The party said the decision was made in view of an overwhelming response from Karachi residents who had been facing civic issues for a long time and the rulers had failed to solve their problems.

JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said that after consultation with former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan, who is the chief of the referendum poll commission, it was decided to extend the referendum for three days.

“The referendum drive will continue till October 21,” announced Rehman, while talking to the media at the central referendum camp set up by the Public Aid Committee, a party’s wing for public issues, near the Char Minar Chowrangi in Bahadurabad.

Lashing out at Pakistan Peoples Party’s supremo Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the JI Karachi chief said if Bilawal was sincere with Karachi “why he does not announce the annulment of the repressive Local Body Act and a viable system to an autonomous city government”.

Rehman also questioned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice President Maryam Nawaz that why did she not admit “the blunder to curtailing the population of Karachi to halve in the 2017 census during the PML-N’s government”.

“If the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is sincere with Karachi, why does Prime Minister Imran Khan not revoke the so-called quota system on government jobs and also hold a fresh population census in the city.”

Decrying the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, he said that as being an ally party in the central government, it was also playing the role of a silent spectator on Karachi issues. He said it was a matter of concern that the opposition had started holding public gatherings across the country but not a single point was presented in their 26-point agenda on Karachi.

“We are ready to go hand in hand with other political forces subject to their sincerity with Karachi and its people”, he said. “This referendum drive is not restricted to any party but in fact, this movement is the voice of Karachi residents for their rights that have been usurped for long.”

He appealed to the people to come forward and bring their point of view and grievances on the city issues before rulers. He said the Centre and the provincial government should understand it had been time to give Karachi its due rights.

On the occasion, a businessman, Idrees Giggi, said the business community was standing by the JI and endorsed the party’s referendum initiative. Naeem Qureshi Advocate, a known legal fraternity leader, said lawyers were with the JI and “if we are united, we could get success”.

President Public Aid Committee Saifuddin Advocate expressed his hope that the people of Karachi would be no more under humiliation after the unification on a single platform for their rights. The commissioner of the referendum commission, Nazim F Haji, and its secretary, Najeeb Ayubi, also addressed the gathering.

The referendum campaign is part of the Karachi Rights Movement that the JI launched on September 8 to pressure the government into accepting its demand for an authoritative local government system for Karachi.

On September 27, the party organised a rally on Shara-e-Quaideen and marked Yaum-e-Yakjehti Karachi (Karachi Solidarity Day) on October 14 across the country.

Rehman said the JI demands included setting up an empowered city government, giving Karachi the status of a megacity, bringing impartiality to the distribution of resources, initiating a transparent population census, introducing an annual quota system for government jobs, holding fair and independent local bodies polls after constituting 700 union committees, and taking over control of the K-Electric and initiating a forensic audit of power entity forthwith.

“The residents of Karachi are deprived of health, education, civic and recreational facilities, and for the resolution of all issues, public pressure is necessary,” he said.