PARTICIPANTS in the rally pass through Sharea Faisal on Sunday.—Photo by Shakil Adil / White Star
PARTICIPANTS in the rally pass through Sharea Faisal on Sunday.—Photo by Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal on Sunday warned that his party would lock down Karachi if a fair census was not conducted in the city.

“We have never been fairly counted over the past 70 years as the state is afraid of counting us correctly. You are creating tomorrow’s terrorists by increasing the sense of deprivation in Karachi. But I refuse to step back and will fight till my last breath,” vowed Mr Kamal while addressing a big rally in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC).

“Today’s protest is just a trailer. We will shut down the city if census is not conducted fairly. We will stage sit-ins all across the city until the acceptance of our demand,” he said, adding: “Count us before we will make you count us correctly.”

He demanded that the 2017 census be declared controversial because if it did not happen “our next seven generations” would not be counted correctly.

PSP holds rally against ‘undercounting’ of Karachi population

The rally began from Nursery and a large number of people, including women and children, on motorcycles, in cars, buses and trucks marched through Sharea Faisal towards the KPC, the culmination point of the rally, where a big protest demonstration was held to record their protest against the acceptance of the controversial National Census 2017 by the federal cabinet.

Shouting slogans and waving PSP’s tri-coloured flags inscribed with its election symbol, Dolphin, the participants in the rally carried banners and placards inscribed with certain demands such as ‘Stop legalising controversial census’, ‘Count actual 30 million not just 16 million people in Karachi’, etc.

The central leadership, including Mr Kamal and PSP president Anis Kaimkhani, were on a truck that was leading the rally, which took five hours to reach in front of the KPC.

PM asked to take ‘positive U-turn’

Speaking at the demonstration, Mr Kamal asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to withdraw the decision of accepting the 2017 census results.

“Imran Khan Sahib, take a positive U-turn in favour of the people and they will forgive all your previous U-turns,” he said.

He reminded the prime minister that his party had not carried out any development works in the city but the PSP never called him “selected” or “incompetent” and it did not side with the opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Mr Kamal said that it appeared that the local leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was not loyal to the prime minister.

Heaping scorns at the rival Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), he told PM Khan that he had made an alliance with “thieves” who would take no time in aligning with the Pakistan Peoples Party the day Asif Zardari came to power.

He claimed that both the PTI and the MQM-P had struck a deal at the cost of the people of Karachi to approve the census results.

The PSP chief said that the census results suited the PPP because if the census was carried out correctly then the PPP government would never come to power again in Sindh.

He said 30 per cent people of the province lived in rural areas and 70pc in Sindh’s cities but around 80pc of the MNAs and MPAs used to win from the constituencies designated to the rural parts of the province.

“Karachi will no longer sit in silence on this issue. Thirty million people of this city will go to any length and make sure they will never be undercounted again,” he said, requesting the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the unfair census.

Later, the participants of the rally dispersed peacefully.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2021

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