KARACHI: Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday announced that his party would organise a big protest rally on Jan 17 (Sunday) against the recent decision of the federal cabinet to approve the controversial National Census-2017.
Speaking at a press conference at the party’s Pakistan House headquarters, the PSP chief gave a new date for his party’s protest that was earlier scheduled for Jan 10 but postponed due to citywide sit-ins over the Mach tragedy.
Mr Kamal not only lashed out at the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, but also targeted the Pakistan Peoples Party for causing a growing sense of alienation among the people of Karachi.
“By approving the controversial census of Karachi, the PTI-led federal government is causing a sense of deprivation, which is paving the way for the MQM and PPP’s agenda of hate politics on ethnic grounds,” he said.
About the rally, he said that the event would begin at Nursery and end at the Karachi Press Club via Sharea Faisal.
CJP requested to take notice
Flanked by PSP president Anis Kaimkhani and other leaders, Mr Kamal disclosed that his party had written a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan asking him to take notice against the “wrong” census and its subsequent approval by the federal cabinet.
He said that the real population of Karachi can easily be known if the CJP summoned the record of the National Database and Registration Authority.
He asked Prime Minister Imran Khan that there was no need of approving the controversial census results without conducting a five per cent audit of census blocks in Karachi as the upcoming local government elections could be organised in the same manner as the 2018 general elections were held.
“You [PM] have been fighting for the eradication of dynastic politics for the past 22 years, but today when you got the chance you are strengthening the so-called ruling families,” he said, adding that if PM Khan was really sincere about ending dynastic politics he should create a new leadership by holding the LG elections and empowering the local governments across the country.
Threats to 18th Amendment
He said that efforts were being made to repeal the 18th Amendment, but the people of the country were not interested in saving it because provincial government occupied all resources and refused to devolve them at the grassroots level.
“If the rulers of all the provinces want to save the 18th Amendment they should empower the common man and in return they would protect their own rights,” he said, adding: “Now it is up to the provincial governments to decide whether they will empower the people and devolve power and resources to the lowest level or give it back to the federation.”
On Dec 22, the federal cabinet had approved the census results and decided to send a report to the Council of Common Interests for according formal approval.
The MQM-P had dissociated from the cabinet’s move by writing a dissenting note and all major parties of Sindh including PPP, PSP, Jamaat-i-Islami are opposing the move and demanding a fresh census.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2021