KARACHI: Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal has asked the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, to play his role and save the province of Sindh from complete destruction.
He criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government over the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
“Is it justified that the chief minister of Sindh occupies all resources in the garb of the 18th Amendment? General Qamar Bajwa, you are doing everything for security and economy [of the country]... do something for the people of Sindh,” said Mr Kamal while addressing a big public meeting held at Bagh-i-Jinnah in the shadow of the Quaid’s mausoleum on Sunday evening.
A large number of party workers and supporters, including women and children, converged on the venue to attend PSP’s show of strength in Karachi after the July 25, 2018 election.
Carrying new tri-coloured PSP flag, they repeatedly punctuated Mr Kamal’s speech by their full-throat slogans. The participants reached the venue in the form of big and small rallies taken out from different city areas.
‘PPP itself plotting against 18th Amendment by usurping LGs’ powers’
Outside the venue, PSP volunteers were seen controlling the vehicular traffic along Peoples Chowrangi and adjacent roads.
Speaking to the rally participants, Mr Kamal urged the army chief to persuade the prime minister and chief minister to sit together for the solution of the problems of Karachi and Sindh.
“I am not asking for overthrowing anyone from power. [I am saying because] no one is listening to our grievances,” he said, explaining as to why he was seeking help from the army chief.
‘18th Amendment is not a holy scripture’
About the 18th Amendment, he said that he was more than happy when the landmark legislation was carried out since it contained devolution of powers from the Centre to the province and from provinces to the local governments.
“But now it [the amendment] has become a nuisance. I was not against it but in Sindh, corruption is rampant from Kashmor to Karachi and no one knows where the huge sum of money the Sindh got under the NFC had gone.”
Declaring that the 18th Amendment was not a holy scripture, he said that Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had repeatedly been saying that his party would not tolerate any conspiracy against the 18th Amendment.
“Mr Bilawal, you are talking about saving the 18th Amendment when your own chief minister in Sindh has occupied powers to collect and dispose of garbage by himself. It is your own provincial government which is conspiring against the 18th Amendment,” he said.
The PSP chief said that he did not accept any constitutional amendment that could not provide education, health and basic facilities to the people.
“The 18th Amendment itself needs amendment since the provincial governments are not ready to devolve the functions of lifting garbage and providing water,” he said.
Mr Kamal said that the country needed a system in which all provinces should have equal representation in the parliament otherwise the sense of deprivation in smaller provinces could never be eliminated. “I am not talking about presidential system but we need a system in which the prime minister of the country needs votes from all four provinces and not only from the 90 seats [belonging to the constituencies falling] along GT Road.”
Expressing his concern over a surge in street crimes and robberies, he said that it was beyond anyone’s comprehension as to how criminals had been freely using arms despite years-long operation by law enforcement agencies.
He said no one could be able to curb crime if transfers and postings in the police department were made without merit. He demanded that local people be recruited in the Sindh police.
The former Karachi mayor said that if voted to power, the PSP would abolish the ministry of local government and mayors would directly be answerable to the chief minister.
He warned that the people of Karachi would take to street if their problems would not be solved at the earliest.
Senior PSP leaders, including party president Anis Kaimkhani, also spoke.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2019