KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan on Saturday rejected the Sindh Covid emergency relief ordinance, saying it lacked relief for the lockdown-hit traders and people of the province.
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said this while talking to the media at the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, where a delegation of city traders came to meet and share with the party their grievances.
Only on Friday, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail signed the Sindh Covid19 Emergency Relief Ordinance 2020 after the Sindh government had reviewed and resent the document to him after removing the objections he had raised on the first draft.
According to the relief envisaged in the Covid-19 relief ordinance, no educational institution shall charge more than 80 per cent of the total monthly fees; no employee or worker shall be laid off, terminated or removed and the employee shall be paid salary by the employers. The ordinance also suggests up to Rs1 million fine on violation of the government orders or guidelines devised to contain the spread of the virus.
Commenting on the ordinance later on Friday, senior MQM-P leader Khwaja Izharul Hasan criticised the Sindh government for providing “zero facilities following 18th Amendment” and asked in a tweet “where is the relief in this ordinance”.
Pledge to support traders if they decide to protest
Another MQM-P leader Haider Abbas Rizvi had also tweeted: “Where is the relief in the law enforced by the Sindh government in the name of a relief ordinance? [Instead of] waiving taxes, providing subsidies as government relief, here they [Sindh govt] are focusing on imposing Rs1 million fine, imprisonment and forfeiture of property.”
Against this backdrop, Dr Siddiqui announced that the MQM-P rejected the ordinance and assured the city traders that the MQM would not leave them come what may.
He said that his party would also take to street if the traders decided to launch a protest campaign.
He said that traders of Karachi were the most patriotic people and they should be given subsidies on loans and electricity bills.
The MQM-P leader said that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government would never speak for Karachi.
He alleged that the commissioners and deputy commissioners, who came to Karachi on posting, treated Karachi just as a place for minting money.
Dr Siddiqui said that the public sector hospitals of Sindh were being run on philanthropists’ donations instead of government funds.
He said it was Karachi that had given maximum donations to PM Khan’s Shaukat Khanam Hospital and Numal University projects.
The MQM-P convener demanded that the ventilators given by China and other counties would also be provided to hospitals in Karachi.
He also directed Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan and plead the case of Karachi with him.
“We are hopeful that the prime minister will soon give us time to listen to the grievances of the people of Karachi,” he added.
Deputy convener Kanwar Naveed Jameel, city mayor and other leaders were also present during the meeting and media talk.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2020