MQM renews demand for ‘South Sindh’ province in fresh show of strength

25 Sep 2020

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AN MQM caravan passes through Liaquatabad on Thursday evening on its way to the Quaid’s mazar.
—Shakil Adil/White Star
AN MQM caravan passes through Liaquatabad on Thursday evening on its way to the Quaid’s mazar. —Shakil Adil/White Star

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan flexed its political muscles at a big rally on Thursday and challenged its detractors that no “threats” would deter it from raising the demand of a new province in Sindh.

Terming a new province “unavoidable”, MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui while addressing the participants of the rally said: “Don’t threaten us ... we have crossed rivers of blood for Pakistan ... your threats cannot deter us [from a new province].”

MQM workers and supporters took out small rallies from all over the city and converged at Shahrah-i-Pakistan near Karimabad Jamaatkhana, the starting point of the main rally which aimed at highlighting the rights of Karachi and other urban areas of the province.

Waving tri-coloured party flags and shouting slogans, participants of the rally began moving on motorbikes, cars and buses towards the culminating point before sunset. They included a good number of women and children as well.

The rally also caused a serious traffic mess at Ayesha Manzil and adjoining arteries.

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui asks army chief to ‘please embrace the children of Karachi’

Senior party leaders, including Dr Siddiqui, addressed the participants of the rally from a stage made in the shadow of the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Dr Siddiqui said that all the demands of the MQM had been merged into a one single demand. “We want a province for ourselves. The biggest demand is of South Sindh province that should be comprised of urban areas of Sindh,” he said.

He said that a new province in Sindh was “unavoidable”.

“You should not make us afraid that what will happen with the Mohajirs living in interior of Sindh [if we demand a new province],” he said in a veiled response to Pak Sarzameen Party’s Mustafa Kamal.

However, he told participants of the rally that they would have to ga­t­her again in October-November for taking a decision about the province.

Promises broken?

Talking about the prime minister’s Rs1.1 trillion plan for the metropolis, he said that promises had been made in the name of Karachi package but implementation was nowhere to be seen.

He said that half of the population of Karachi was not even cou­nted in the 2017 population census.

He said that Article 140-A of the Constitution had decided the rights and powers of the local governments. “Every civilised country has local policing. We will appoint locals in police in Liaquatabad, Lyari when voted to power,” he said.

Without naming the Jamaat-i-Islami that is going to stage a rally for the rights of Karachi on Sunday, he said that even those were taking out marches who earlier believed that talking about Karachi was racism and against the spirit of Islam.

Earlier, senior MQM leader Amir Khan challenged all those opposing new provinces in the country and Sindh and said that the people of urban areas would get their province soon.

“We have gathered here for our province. Kill how many you want but we will not rest till getting our province,” he said.

Highlighting the issue of missing persons, he said the youths of Karachi were not being pardoned and treated at par with those of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan who were often dubbed as ‘our misled youth’.

Addressing the army chief, he said he was holding meetings with everyone but ...”Bajwa sahib, please also embrace children of Karachi”.

Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM leader Faisal Subzwari said that it was the gathering of taxpayers and not defaulters as the income tax paid only by Liaquatabad alone was more than what had been collected from Islamabad and Lahore.

He said that the chief minister of Sindh was made on the basis of a “fake” majority and in the absence of a transparent population census.

He said that the biggest issue of Karachi was lack of a transparent census. “We are 30 million people and the population of Karachi is more than the entire population of interior Sindh,” he claimed.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2020