KARACHI: Jamaat-i-Islami emir Senator Sirajul Haq on Sunday announced that his party would hold a ‘historic’ march on Shahrah-i-Quaideen on Sept 27 for the rights of Karachi. He demanded an empowered city government for the metropolis.

Speaking at a press conference at the Idara Noor-i-Haq here, he pointed out that all major opposition parties had actually supported the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government and argued that it was only the JI that was the real opposition party in the country.

Senator Haq said that collapse of the national economy, a worst price hike, increasing sense of deprivation among provinces and cities was only because of the incompetence of the incumbent government that failed to provide any relief to the people in the 870 days of its rule.

Excluding the JI from the rest of the opposition, he said: “During the 870 days of the PTI government, the opposition supported the government. Corrupt elements are present both in the opposition and government’s ranks,” he said.

The JI leader, who was not part of Sunday’s multi-party conference of other opposition parties in Islamabad, said that the moot should have taken up the issue of Karachi as well.

He said both the federal and provincial governments did nothing for Karachi and people were facing hardship and mental agony because of numerous civic issues.

He said that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had been ruling Sindh for the past 12 years and it was its responsibility to resolve basic issues of Pakistan’s commercial capital. “The whole city is on the verge of destruction ... it is facing crises of gas, electricity and water.”

He said that in addition to the PPP, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and PTI were also equally responsible for Karachi’s problems.

“These three parties have not resolved any problem of Karachi. Even the prime minister visited Karachi many days after rain devastation to announce a Rs1,100 billion package,” he said, adding that any package would be a waste without establishing actual population of Karachi.

He said that it was promised that a five per cent audit of census blocks would be conducted in in the mega city to know whether there were any discrepancies in the results of the population census. “This promise has not been fulfilled,” he added.

He said the JI was going to hold a “Huqooq-i-Karachi March” on Sept 27. “I appealed to all citizens to come out of your home on September 27 and join the struggle for their rights.”

Senator Haq said that the country would never progress without an empowered election commission, independent judiciary and transparent elections.

He said there was a need to improve the electoral process in the country and a national dialogue should be held on election reforms.

The JI chief also slammed the National Accountability Bureau and said that even chief justice of Pakistan had remarked that NAB was working beyond its mandate.

He said that the current government made the army controversial as they claimed to have full support of establishment in their every wrong move.

Other JI leaders including Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman and Dr Osama Razi were also present.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2020