DR Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui speaks at the MQM-P’s Bahadurabad office on Saturday.—Online
DR Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui speaks at the MQM-P’s Bahadurabad office on Saturday.—Online

KARACHI: A day after Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari warned that rollback of the 18th Amendment may “disintegrate” the country, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan reiterated on Saturday its stance against the landmark legislation saying the nation had been “deceived” in the name of the 18th Amendment.

The party also demanded that the prime minister intervene in Sindh by exercising the constitutional powers conferred upon the federal government under Article 149.

Speaking at a press conference here at the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, MQM-P convener and federal minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui alleged that the party which was behind the disintegration of Pakistan in 1971 had already divided Sindh by neglecting its urban areas for decades.

Dr Siddiqui said the MQM and the entire nation was “cheated” in the name of 18th Amendment as instead of devolving powers to the lowest level according to the spirit of the legislation, provinces usurped all powers. “The resources meant for the common man have been snatched in the name of 18th Amendment,” he remarked.

The party announces a public meeting near Quaid’s mausoleum on April 27

Calling the PPP government in Sindh “a biased and corrupt set-up”, he said it had been neglecting the urban areas and also giving employments to the domicile-holders of rural Sindh on the vacancies meant for urban Sindh.

He said that out of 45 administrative secretaries in Sindh 41 belonged to rural Sindh; all commissioners of the six divisions in Sindh belonged to rural Sindh and only one of the 29 deputy commissioners belonged to the urban areas.

Likewise, he said that a majority of senior police officers also belonged to the interior of Sindh while eight of the nine members of the Sindh Public Service Commission belonged to the interior of the province.

He said that the sense of deprivation in the people had now been turned into disappointment on the system because of “injustices”.

PM asked to intervene in Sindh

Dr Siddiqui called upon Prime Minister Imran Khan to intervene in Sindh and take a “direct action” by enforcing Article 149 (directions to provinces in certain cases) of the Constitution in the province to redress grievances of the people.

Speaking on the occasion, senior leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel explained that Article 149’s clause 4 had been present in the Constitution since 1973 and it gave the federal government authority to issue directives to the provinces.

Clause 4 of Article 149 reads: “The executive authority of the Federation shall also extend to the giving of directions to a Province as to the manner in which the executive authority thereof is to be exercised for the purpose of preventing any grave menace to the peace or tranquillity or economic life of Pakistan or any part thereof.”

He said that “the corrupt and biased” Sindh government had given more than 200,000 government jobs neglecting the people of urban Sindh. He said people would be fighting only on the issue of water if the mismanagement and bad governance continued in Sindh.

Public meeting on 27th

Dr Siddiqui, who holds the portfolio of information technology and telecom in PM Imran Khan’s cabinet, announced that the MQM-P would hold a big public meeting at Gulshan-i-Jinnah near the Quaid’s mausoleum on April 27.

He said the MQM would present its case before the people and announce its future course of action in the event.

He also condemned those who “misused” MQM flags in the United States and held an anti-Pakistan demonstration. “We dissociated ourselves from the event and those who took part in the demonstration.”

Senior leader Nasreen Jalil asked PM Khan on the occasion to take care of the people of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah when it came to federal jobs.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2019