KARACHI: Rejecting an impression that his party was consulted before the appointment of a local government caretaker set-up, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui on Tuesday accused the Pakistan Peoples Party government in the province of appointing bureaucrats of a particular ethnic origin as administrators of Karachi and other urban areas, saying by doing so the PPP itself endorsed the division of Sindh.
The Sindh government had appointed deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners as administrators of all local governments in districts, towns and tehseels and just a day before, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail had said that the appointment of Iftikhar Shallwani as Karachi administrator was a consensus decision of all stakeholders.
Speaking at a news conference here at the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui asked the federal government how it had accepted the decision to appoint bureaucrats of a single ethnic background as administrators. “Is there no competent Urdu-speaking, Punjabi or Pakhtun officer for the post of administrators?” he asked.
Party fears KTP funds will make their way ‘to real estate market of Dubai’
He said his party was told that the authorities felt that instead of appointing other people it would be better to appoint commissioners and deputy commissioners as administrators of local governments in Karachi and other parts of the province.
“If this was the case then why the commissioner of Karachi was not appointed as administrator,” he asked and said that the PPP did not consider him worthy of the coveted post since he did not belong to a “certain ethnic background”.
Dr Siddiqui was referring to Karachi Commissioner Sohail Rajput, a grade-21 PAS officer, who had been posted a week before the completion of the four-year tenure of local governments. However, the Sindh government did not appoint Commissioner Rajput as administrator and posted Mr Shallwani, the additional chief secretary local government, as the city’s administrator.
He demanded that “locals” be posted as administrators of Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana and Sukkur.
‘Opposing new provinces tantamount to treason’
He said that provinces should also be divided on the basis of population and the “biggest and legitimate” demand of a new province across Pakistan existed in urban Sindh.
He said that those opposing new provinces were actually opposing the Constitution of Pakistan in which a procedure to create new provinces was clearly mentioned.
“Those calling the MQM-P traitor for talking about division of the province are themselves the biggest traitors as they do not consider the province an administrative unit but a separate country or [are] plotting to make it a country,” he said.
He said that it was the PPP which laid the foundation of the division of Karachi. “Now, there are two Sindhs ... one is urban and the other is rural. One Sindh earns while the other Sindh spends ... you have divided Sindh on ethnic and linguistic grounds and by appointing administrators of a particular ethnic origin you have endorsed this division.”
The MQM leader said Seraikis became chief ministers of Punjab and so did politicians belonging to Hazara division become CMs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but no Urdu-speaking person can become the chief minister of Sindh.
He said that the PPP had divided Karachi into seven pieces despite the fact that the party did not get any mandate from the metropolis for the past 50 years.
Fears PM’s package won’t be spent on Karachi
Talking about the ambitious Rs1.1 trillion Karachi Transformation Plan announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said the MQM feared that the massive amount would not be spent on Karachi and instead it would make its way to the real estate market of Dubai like before.
He said he did not want to dissect the package, but it was certain that the plan contained aid from the World Bank, loan from China as well as funds through public-private partnership.
“Some amount is deposited with the Supreme Court ... but we know it is the money of Karachi whether federal government is providing it in the form of a loan,” he said in a veiled reference to the billions of rupees being deposited by Bahria Town Karachi in the SC for the lands it occupied in the metropolis.
However, he said that his party would support the development plan despite its reservation on giving the PPP-led Sindh government and its bureaucrats a lead role on all spending.
He asked the authorities to keep an eye on development spending. “We have confidence on the armed forces and the federal government that they would manage to solve the issues of Karachi to a certain extent.”
Senior MQM leader Faisal Subzwari said that the PPP had given around 275,000 government jobs during its 12-year rule and “fake” domiciles were made by the same deputy commissioners appointed as administrators under the patronage of the provincial government.
He said “if a transparent census takes place in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur, Nawabshah, you will see PPP, and not us, demanding a separate province.”
Senior leader Khwaja Izharul Hasan said that Mohajirs were the second biggest entity of Sindh, but it appeared that they had been left abandoned without fulfilment of the promises the authorities made regarding uplift of Karachi.
Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2020