KARACHI: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Sunday announced a countrywide movement to build momentum for the rights of Karachi and warned that the existing policies of the federal and provincial governments for the country’s business capital would cause suffering to the masses and could lead to a national disaster.
JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq made this announcement at the party’s big rally titled ‘Huqooq-i-Karachi March’ on Shahrah-i-Quaideen.
“The movement for rights of Karachi is not for and from the people of this city alone,” said Senator Haq at the end of the rally to receive a roar from the crowd. “Now the people of Karachi will see that their voices and slogans would be raised and heard from Badin to Khyber and Kashmir to Gwadar. We will mark Yaum-i-Yakjehti Karachi (Karachi Solidarity Day) on October 14 from Karachi to Chitral. This is not going to stop here.”
The march came following a month-long campaign by the party that demands a range of measures for Karachi and its people especially in the aftermath of the recent rains that played havoc with the city’s infrastructure and exposed the performance of the local and provincial administrations.
‘True’ census of Karachi demanded
Among several other demands, the party strongly pleaded for a “true consensus of Karachi” saying the actual population of the metropolis was around 30 million.
Siraj ul Haq vows to turn the JI drive into a nationwide movement, plans solidarity day on Oct 14
Riding motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks and carrying placards, banners and party flags, the participants in the rally were calling for an independent and empowered local government for the city.
“Isn’t it an irony that a city that generates employment for the people of every district and town of the country is never owned by rulers,” said Senator Haq. “Isn’t it a tragedy that this city that deserves to become the world’s centre, is pleading for its due rights from its very own rulers? From Ayub Khan to the present day, this city has never been given its due rights and share. But enough is enough. This city has always been deprived of its true leadership through rigging, violence and conspiracies. Now we are here to fight the case of this city.”
Earlier, speaking at the rally, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rahman stressed the need for an empowered city government for Karachi and demanded that all civic departments working in the metropolis be placed under the umbrella of one unified system.
“No city in the world could make progress if its city government lacked resources,” he said. “Former Karachi nazim Niamatullah Khan had executed record development works in the city,” he said, adding that after him, the people of the metropolis were facing water, electricity, transport and sewerage problems.”
Quota system extension slammed
Hafiz Naeem also condemned the extension of the quota system for an indefinite period by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government calling it the ruling party’s betrayal with the people of Karachi who chose it for protection of their rights.
“Our party would not stop now. We would expose individuals who are responsible for the devastation of this city. We will single out every party and leader who sold out the people of Karachi for their interests,” he added.
He also warned against any conspiracy to trigger violence on ethnic lines in the city.
“Let me tell everyone. We will not let a Mohajir-Sindhi fight for your political interests. If you keep igniting hatred in the name of ethnicity, you will find us on roads and streets of Karachi to expose your hidden agenda,” he warned, without naming any leader or entity.
“The people of Karachi don’t want to fight each other in the name of ethnicity and sects. They are peace-loving people. They have suffered a lot due to personal agendas of parties and their leaders. The Jamaat would hold a ‘referendum’ on October 15, 16 and 17 across the city for the rights of Karachi and to make a verdict against all these forces,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2020