MQM-P is facing undeclared ban on it, says convener

Published July 22, 2018
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui speaks at the press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday.—Dawn
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui speaks at the press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday.—Dawn

HYDERABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Khalid Maq­bool Siddiqui has said that his party will get 85 per cent mandate [in urban Sindh] although only 50pc population in Karachi was counted [in census] and then delimitations came as the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

Speaking at a press conference in the Bhai Khan Ki Chari area here on Saturday, he claimed that the MQM-P was facing an undeclared ban. He urged the Urdu-speaking people of Sindh to come out of their homes on July 25 to respond to such things with ‘ballot’ to those forces that were trying to thrust outsiders on them.

MQM-P candidates Salahuddin, Sabir Kaimkhani, Rashid Khilji, Younus Gaddi and Nasir Qureshi, as well as other activists including Rashid Khan and Rana Siddiqui were present at the press conference.

Dr Siddiqui said he was to address public meetings on Friday in Hyderabad and in Mirpurkhas but his party was denied the mandatory permission.

Explaining his allegations, he said that pre-poll rigging had already taken place as urban population was under-reported by 50pc in the recent census and then delimitation was carried out in a biased and partial manner. “These factors cut the urban rep­resentation by 75pc so only 25pc representatives of the Urdu-speaking community will reach the elected houses,” he said, adding that a correct census would put the urban population figure at 60pc.

Regarding his claim of an undeclared ban on MQM-P, he said it was quite reflective from the freedom enjoyed by other political parties in their electioneering. “Banners and flags of MQM-P are being removed by the administrations of urban centres,” he alleged, and said that such complaints were made in writing to the Supreme Court, Election Commission of Pakistan and caretaker government at the Centre and Sindh.

Dr Siddiqui said that his party’s candidates in Hyderabad kept waiting for the permission to hold their public meeting [in Pucca Qila or some other suitable place] till late Friday evening but it was not given.

“Steps are being taken to force MQM-P to boycott the election but we will not take such a decision because we know that a conspiracy is afoot to thrust outsiders on Sindh’s urban centres,” he said.

The MQM-P convener also claimed that a group created artificially which appeared to be a political non-entity was being backed.

“The way people are participating in the electioneering in Karachi and Hyderabad manifests what will be the outcome of these elections. Despite questionable census and delimitations, the powers that be must understand that the mandate of urban centres is not going to change as MQM-P will Insha Allah retain it,” he said.

Dr Siddiqui was of the view that if polls were held in a transparent manner, many candidates would have their guarantees forfeited. “Everyone asks what the Muttahida has done over the last five years but nobody is asking what has happened to it in this period,” he said, and claimed that 75 activists were killed in extrajudicial actions, another 150 were still missing and around 10,000 were arrested while raids were conducted on the houses of around 30,000 party workers during this period.

“The MQM Hyderabad zone office stays sealed although it is a private and legally acquired property,” he pointed out.

“Under these circumstances, the only option [open to the MQM-P] is to demand creation of more administrative units in the country because existing pro­vinces denote ethnicity. Political parties support [demand for a] South Punjab province but oppose administrative units in Sindh which is strange. This will be resisted,” said Dr Siddiqui.

He demanded a local gov­ernment system that was in line with Article 140-A of the Constitution which enshrined financial, political and administrative autonomy, and claimed that the Sindh Local Government Act introduced by the PPP was in conflict with the article.

Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2018

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