KARACHI: The Jamaat-i-Islami on Sunday stage a protest rally on New M.A. Jinnah Road as part of its ongoing campaign for the rights of Karachi.

The rally was largely attended by party leaders and workers.

Addressing the protesters, JI-Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman said they were protesting for a ‘correct’ population census and resolution of basic civic issues being faced by the people of Karachi.

He said that the JI movement was not for point-scoring, but it was aimed at provision of water and power, reversal of price hike, end to unemployment, repair of damaged roads, streets and sewerage system.

Hafiz Naeem announces a rally from Quaidabad to Governor House on March 14

He said that Balochistan was considered to be the most deprived province, but actually Karachi was the most deprived city in the country.

He accused the provincial governments and ruling parties of having pushed the city of 30 million people into a quagmire of problems.

PPP, PTI & MQM slammed

The JI leader said that it was right to say that Balochistan, rural areas of Sindh and districts of south Punjab had been subjected to injustices and these injustices should be ended “but the city which generates 70 per cent of the country’s revenue and 90pc budget of Sindh has been subjected to continuous injustice and deprivation of rights”.

He said the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement did nothing for the betterment of Karachi.

“The ruling parties are on the same page against the interests of Karachi,” he said, adding: “The PPP, PTI and MQM have established an alliance against the rights of Karachi as they all want to deprive the people of the local government system.”

Hafiz Naeem strongly slammed the PPP government in Sindh and said that the party had been ruling the province for the past 12 years but it had done nothing for Karachi, rather looted its resources.

He said the PPP was not willing to give rights to the city and was demonstrating a biased attitude.

He said the PPP was also against JI’s ongoing Karachi rights movement and was trying to give it a colour of ethnicity.

The JI leader also criticised the PTI government and said that the federal government had first announced a Rs162 billion package for the city’s uplift but without giving any project, and later it announced a Rs1.1 trillion package for the metropolis.

He pointed out that metro buses were being plied in Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Multan but no such facility had so far completed for the people of Karachi.

Fresh census in Karachi demanded

Hafiz Naeem demanded that a new census be conducted in Karachi to ascertain the actual population of the country’s largest city.

He said an ‘injustice’ was meted out to the citizens of Karachi by the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in the population census.

He said the PPP had raised objections over the census results but in practice it was not doing anything.

He said the PTI and MQM-P had also declared that the population of Karachi was not shown correctly in the census, but they were the ones who approved the results of the census at a meeting of the federal cabinet.

The JI leader also demanded abolishing of the job quota system, provision of employment to youths in Karachi, an empowered LG system, 15-year audit of the K-Electric, uninterrupted gas supply to citizens, early completion of the Green Line bus service and an effective solid waste management system for the city.

He announced that his party would take out a ‘Karachi rights’ rally on March 14 from Quaidabad to Governor House, where the party’s future line of action would be decided.

JI leader Dr Osama Razi said no one was willing to talk about the basic issues of the city. He demanded an empowered local government for Karachi.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2021

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