KARACHI: Rejecting the provisional results of the sixth population census, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan chief Dr Farooq Sattar on Sunday demanded that a new census be conducted to ensure justice to the people of Karachi, whose “15 million people have been missing in the census results”.
The demand was made at a public meeting held at the Liaquatabad flyover in protest over the census results that showed the population of Karachi a mere 14.91 million.
A large number of MQM workers and sympathisers, including women and children, attended the event. They were carrying tricolour party flags inscribed with ‘MQM-Pakistan’ and shouting slogans against the census results.
The show of strength has boosted the morale of the beleaguered MQM-P leadership, which has been struggling hard to overcome its organisational shortcomings, including intra-party rifts, defections.
‘It appears they counted only women in the city’
The party’s decision to hold the event on the Karachi’s longest flyover, which was filled with the people before even the key speeches, is seen as a clear message to its opponents that compared to them it still enjoy more support of the people of Karachi.
The participation of a good number of people helped Dr Sattar in telling his opponents that “MQM is still a force to reckon with” and its popular support must be accepted and acknowledged.
About the census, he said that the actual number of people of Karachi was not reflected in the census results.
He said that only 15 million of population was counted in the census as the remaining 15m people were “missing” from the census results. “It appears that they counted only women in Karachi,” he said in a lighter vein.
Terming the census result “unjust”, he said that it was equivalent to pre-poll rigging for the 2018 general election.
Dr Sattar said that if this census results was accepted then the people of urban areas of Sindh would not get their due share of water, employment and other resources.
He clarified that it was not only the issue of Mohajirs but it was the collective issue of every Karachiite irrespective of their ethnic origins.
In a veiled reference to those who switched their loyalty to the Pak Sarzameen Party, he said that if the MQM-P was given due space all those who left the party would come back to it.
Without naming the MQM-London, he also criticised those who gave a call to boycott the MQM-P’s event.
Speaking on the occasion, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said that the party would never change its name. “Our workers have sacrificed their lives for this name.”
MQM leader Faisal Subzwari made it clear that the party’s event was not in favour or against any group or party but for the sake of the people of Karachi.
The participants in the MQM rally demanded that a new census be conducted to show true population of Karachi.
It also asked the state institutions that the over 150 “missing” persons be recovered immediately.
The gathering also demanded that the authorities provide the party a complete political freedom and return its sealed office.
The participants also warned that they would expand their protest if their demands were not met.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2017