Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses the crowd and (right) Muttahida supporters pack Nishtar Park on Thursday evening. — Shakil Adil/White Star
Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addresses the crowd and (right) Muttahida supporters pack Nishtar Park on Thursday evening. — Shakil Adil/White Star

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan staged a power show at the historic Nishtar Park on Thursday where it reiterated the demand to create more provinces in the country and called upon the government to declare void the controversial population census held in 2017. 

“The strongest demand is for the creation of an urban Sindh province,” said MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui while addressing a public meeting to celebrate the party’s 37th foundation day.  

A large number of people, including women and children, reached the venue in the form of rallies from different parts of the metropolis. Carrying MQM-P flags and shouting slogans, the participants filled the venue to capacity before the start of Dr Siddiqui’s speech. 

Scores of people were also present outside the venue in nearby streets. MQM volunteers were seen distributing masks to those who were not wearing one. They frisked everyone before allowing them entry inside the park. 

In his address, MQM-P convener Dr Siddiqui said that in view of increasing population of Pakistan there was a need to create more provinces and the same should be created where necessary. 

Since last year, the MQM-P has been vigorously raising its voice for a separate province to be carved out from Sindh and in his speech Dr Siddiqui repeated the same demand when he said that the case of people living in urban parts of the province was strongest among all the demands for new provinces. 

Calls for a new national census at party’s 37th foundation day event

He also spoke about the controversial results of National Census 2017 and asked the federal government, of which his party is a coalition partner, to announce a time frame for a new headcount in the country and allocate a substantial sum for the exercise in the budget. 

The MQM-P convener asked the government to cancel the results of the 2017 census. He also demanded that a fair and transparent exercise to delimit electoral constituencies and make voters’ list be undertaken. 

Dr Siddiqui said his party was told to change the date of its foundation day programme earlier planned for March 18 because of “a threat to the peace of city and solidarity of the country”. He said if March 23 was Pakistan Day then March 18 was “Pakistan Solidarity Day”.  

He congratulated the workers and supporters on the 37th foundation day. 

Earlier, senior deputy convener of the MQM-P Amir Khan said that over a hundred political parties had been working in the country but no other political workers had faced such “injustices and atrocities” like the Mohajir youths had been facing since long. “Our only crime is to raise voice for the oppressed and poor segment of society.” 

Deputy convener and MQM’s parliamentary party head in the Sindh Assembly Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that former military dictator Gen Yahya Khan was going to create a separate province for Mohajirs but “our elders chose to stay with Sindh”. He said that the ‘biased’ Sindh government was not even ready to provide potable water and employment to the people of urban areas. 

Senior party leader Senator Faisal Subzwari said that the MQM-P was the only party which had approached superior judiciary against the controversial census results of Karachi and urban Sindh. He demanded that a new census be conducted if the government was not going to carry out a five per cent audit of census blocks in Karachi. 

He strongly condemned those who recently raised Sindhudesh and anti-Pakistan slogans. 

Former Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar said that seven months had passed since the dissolution of local governments in the province and the civic problems of the urban areas of Sindh had increased manifold.  

Former leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izharul Hasan said that the MQM-P’s struggle against feudal system, honour killing, Sindhudesh, quota system and enemies of urban Sindh would be intensified. 

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2021

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