KARACHI: A day after the Pakistan Democratic Movement staged a successful anti-government show at Karachi’s Bagh-i-Jinnah, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) slammed the 11-party opposition alliance for what they called neglecting the plight of Karachi’s citizens over the around 13 years of rule by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which hosted the event.
Both the parties held separate press conferences at their respective headquarters situated in Karachi’s East district. However, the PSP took a step forward in its criticism and announced holding of its own ‘power show’ on Nov 8 at the same venue where the PDM held its public meeting.
Another common feature of both the press conferences was their criticism against a senior figure of the PDM who, they said, spoke against the country’s national language during his speech.
PSP rally at Bagh-i-Jinnah on Nov 8
“We will alone demonstrate people’s power on Nov 8 at the same venue where PDM’s 11 parties held their public meeting to show the world if we can change Karachi then we can also transform Pakistan,” said Mr Kamal while addressing a press conference at PSP’s Pakistan House headquarters here on Monday.
Both parties flay the alliance over remarks against Urdu
Lashing out at the PDM for not talking about the problems of Karachi and its residents during their Sunday show, he said that the opposition alliance’s platform was used to malign the armed forces and security institutions.
He said that on the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan was also defaming state institutions by repeatedly claiming that the government and the establishment were on the same page. He said this mantra gave rise to an impression as if the establishment was responsible for price hike, poverty and unemployment.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan must stop defaming the armed forces and state institutions to hide his sheer incompetence,” he said.
Rejecting Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s slogan, Vote ko izzat do slogan, he said the ongoing power struggle between the government and opposition had nothing to do with the well-being of a common man.
He said it seemed the opposition and the government had taken the people of Karachi for granted. He said that the people of Karachi and the whole country had rejected the blame game between the government and the opposition.
He said that the PDM meeting was hosted by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which had been in power in Sindh for the past 12 years. In the last six months, more than 100,000 people had been bitten by stray dogs and there was no vaccine for dog-bite victims anywhere in the province, he added.
The doors of employment are already closed to the youth of Karachi and the city’s population has been reduced in the census.
“Today, the PPP acts as the champion of democracy but it’s the same party which has deprived the people of Sindh of their basic human rights,” he said.
Mr Kamal also condemned what he called an attempt to ridicule Urdu language at the PDM rally, and appealed to Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the president of the alliance, to take notice of it.
MQM-P reaction to PDM meeting
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Monday criticised leaders of the PDM for not raising their voice for the people of Karachi.
The party also slammed an opposition leader for making a statement against Urdu language and Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s decision to make Urdu as the national language.
Senior PDM leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai in his speech during Sunday’s public meeting had said “though Urdu is lingua franca, it’s not our language”.
Speaking at a press conference at MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, senior party leader Faisal Subzwari said that the silence of all opposition parties against the anti-Urdu statement seemed to suggest that it was the collective narrative of the opposition.
“Rejecting Urdu as the national language and that too from a place located under the shadow of Quaid’s mazar is a matter of serious concern,” he said, adding: “The leadership of opposition should have demonstrated responsibility.”
He said that the MQM-P believed that holding public meetings and rallies was the right of every political party, but “unfortunately leaders of the opposition alliance say nothing for the people of Karachi except giving racist and biased statements”.
Mr Subzwari said that the previous government of the PML-N had introduced metro services in major cities of Pakistan, but the PPP despite ruling over Sindh for the past 13 years did not bring even 13 buses in Karachi.
He questioned as to why the combined opposition remained silent over the policies of “biased” Sindh government.
He said that everyone was talking about a Pashtun belt in Balochistan, creation of Hazara and Seraiki provinces in Punjab but as to why the opposition maintained a criminal silence on the issue of a province for the people of urban Sindh.
Speaking at the press conference, senior leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan said that creating new and smaller provinces was necessary for a strong Pakistan and to end corruption.
He said that neither the host nor the guests of the Sunday public meeting belonged to Karachi.
Khawaja Izhar said the people of Karachi were asking the question that what was the objective of PDM’s public meeting.
He said the Quaid-i-Azam had said that whoever talked against the national language was an enemy of Pakistan. He demanded registration of a case against PDM leaders for rejecting the philosophy of Quaid-i-Azam.
Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2020