KARACHI: With the four-year term of the local government set-up in Sindh nearing completion, the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) is flexing its muscles for the upcoming contest in Karachi and Hyderabad, especially against rival Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, which has been of late embroiled in internal controversies.
The term of Karachi mayor and chairmen of city’s six district municipal corporations with the rest of elected LG representatives will be completed in six months (as mayoral elections were held in August 2016) and all parties, including the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, the MQM-P, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PSP, are getting ready for the electoral battle.
The PPP is holding open katchehries across Sindh to address people’s grievances, the MQM-P has left the federal cabinet to show its voters that it values solution to their problems more than ministries and the PSP is going from door to door to tell the people that traditional parties are responsible for all their problems.
On Jan 24, the PSP had organised its first public meeting in Larkana and now it ups the ante by announcing holding of a women-only public meeting in Karachi’s Central district on March 1 (next Sunday).
Earlier in July 2019, one year after facing a defeat in the 2018 general election, the PSP had proved that it was still a force to be reckoned with by staging a show of strength at the sprawling Bagh-i-Jinnah in the shadow of the Quaid’s mausoleum.
Now, many believe that by organising a women-only rally on March 1 the PSP is actually challenging its opponents, especially the MQM-P, to hold a similar event if they really enjoyed public support.
The choice of the venue — Nazimabad’s Al-Farooq Ground — in the stronghold of once unified MQM is itself a message for the MQM-P that is struggling hard to keep its support base intact without its London-based founder Altaf Hussain, they said.
Also, the local government set-up in district Central is overwhelmingly controlled by the MQM-P which has failed to resolve basic municipal issues of the people and it seems that Mr Kamal, also former Karachi mayor, is ready to exploit the situation by presenting his party as an option.
The PSP has been adorning district Central with huge banners, party flags and Mr Kamal’s portraits in view of the March 1 event. A big flag is seen fluttering in Azizabad near the Mukka Chowk, which is a few yards from the now sealed Nine Zero headquarters of the MQM.
The Altaf Hussain-led MQM had twice organised women-only public meetings in Karachi. First such meeting was held in Federal B Area’s T-Ground in 1987 and then in Feb 2012 in Bagh-i-Jinnah. Both events were hugely attended by women and till date no other party has been able to work its magic on females like that.
Meanwhile, PSP chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal said: “The event will not be a political meeting, but an opportunity for every mother to raise her voice for the bright future of coming generations.”
He said the country was at a critical juncture and it needed every citizen, including women.
He invited all females to the March 1 event and said that they would make a history by participating in the public meeting and prove that women can not only take part in the progress of the country but also firmly stand against all injustices.
Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2020