KARACHI: Accusing the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party of using the controversial Census 2017 as a pretext to avoid local government elections, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan demanded on Wednesday that LG polls be held immediately in Sindh.
Speaking at a press conference here at its temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that the biggest beneficiary of the Census 2017 was the ruling PPP as it provided it a reason to avoid holding LG elections in the province.
The MQM-P was reacting on a meeting of the Election Commission of Pakistan held earlier this week in which the PPP-led Sindh government had informed the ECP that the provincial government could not hold the LG elections as it had reservations over the 2017 census results and it wanted to make changes in the Sindh LG law which could take around six months.
Dr Siddiqui said that the “biased” government of the PPP had expressed its inability to hold LG elections despite passing of one year since the tenure of the previous elected local governments was completed.
Warns against pushing urban areas towards ‘civil disobedience’ movement
He said that today PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was presenting the controversial census as the reason for not holding the LG polls but he should explain why his party did not hold the local government elections even once in its previous tenures.
He demanded that the LG election be held forthwith across the province on the basis of the population census conducted in 1998.
The MQM-P leader said his party felt that the urban areas of Sindh were being pushed towards a civil disobedience movement.
He said the MQM-P had knocked at every door against the policies of the PPP government but it seemed that the people of urban areas of Sindh were being forced to launch a struggle.
He said it was unfortunate that the “worst government in history” was ruling the province. “This government is claiming that the MQM is stopping it from launching development works in Karachi. Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari should tell whether the MQM is also stopping them from carrying out uplift works in Larkana, Dadu and the rest of Sindh,” he said sarcastically.
He said although the MQM-P had supported the government in its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the PPP government had been “deliberately” destroying education and businesses of urban areas on the pretext of the pandemic.
Dr Siddiqui claimed heavy bribes were being demanded from private educational institutions. “We demand the superior judiciary order an inquiry into these allegations and take action,” he said.
He said the PPP’s “anti-people” policies in the name of the coronavirus pandemic were actually an attempt to economically destabilise Pakistan.
Administrative division of Sindh
Answering a question about the creation of more provinces in the country, Dr Siddiqui said that if talks can be held on the division of Punjab on administrative lines then there should be no harm in carving out a new province from Sindh purely on administrative lines.
He said a province on an administrative basis in Sindh had become a matter of life and death for the people of urban parts of Sindh.
Without naming the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, he said the rulers should take a principled stand on the issue of more provinces in the country. “When a struggle can be launched for the creation of a south Punjab province then they should also support the creation of new provinces in Sindh on an administrative basis.”
Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM-P leader Amir Khan said that Bilawal Bhutto should answer the allegation of corruption against his government as the report of the auditor general clearly mentioned that Sindh got Rs25 billion to fight the coronavirus pandemic and so far “corruption worth Rs9bn” had come to light.
He said that it was ironical that Bilawal had blamed the MQM for the poor governance of his party in Sindh. “Bilawal Bhutto should tell whether the MQM stopped his government from providing rabies vaccine in the interior of Sindh and whether the MQM is stopping the Sindh government from treating patients of AIDS,” he said.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2021