ISLAMABAD: Lashing out at the opposition parties for agitating over the recently passed Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2021, provincial Minister for Information and Broadcasting Saeed Ghani on Thursday alleged that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had planned bloodshed in the province through ethnic violence.
Speaking at a news conference with media coordinator of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Nazir Dhoki here, Mr Ghani alleged that the urban Sindh-based MQM had hatched a conspiracy to create unrest in the province on the issue of the local government law as it wanted to “revive its old politics”.
“By making the LG law as the ground, the MQM wants ethnic riots in the province so that its old politics is revived,” said the Sindh minister, while justifying the recent changes made in the LG law by the provincial government last week.
Mr Ghani criticised the MQM for hanging banners across Karachi streets inscribed with controversial slogans like Karachi ke hospitals par gher maqamion ka qabza namanzoor (Say no to occupation of Karachi hospitals by non-locals) and Karachi shehr par Sindhi dehi ilaqon ka qabza namanzoor (Say no to occupation of Karachi city by rural Sindh people). He asked the MQM to define and explain the term “locals and non-locals”.
Sindh minister claims the government has heeded all recommendations of governor in the amended local govt law
“This is a dangerous thing. This is a poison which is being intentionally poured into the minds of the people. They [MQM] want ethnic riots and want to see people dying from both the sides so that they can again start their politics by telling the Urdu-speaking people that look, we are here to save you,” said Mr Ghani, alleging that the MQM was still following the philosophy of its founder chairman Altaf Hussain.
The PPP minister said the MQM had never been sincere to the people of Karachi and it had always exploited their sentiments.
Mr Ghani recalled that when the MQM was a coalition partner of the PPP at the Centre in the past, it had quit the ruling alliance four times over the issue of increase in oil prices. On the other hand, he said, the MQM has now kept a mum despite repeated increases in the prices of oil, electricity and gas by the present coalition government under the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
“Why they [MQM] have now sealed their lips?” asked Mr Ghani, who also criticised the PTI for opposing the Sindh LG law which, he said, had been amended on the recommendations of the opposition parties.
Mr Ghani claimed that the Sindh government had accommodated all objections and recommendations of Governor Imran Ismail in the amended law and now the governor had no right to oppose it.
He also accused the Sindh governor of “playing politics” over the issue, saying the latter had sent the recommendations to the government after discussing the matter only with the opposition members.
The minister dispelled an impression that the law had reduced powers of the local government institutions. Instead, he said, at least 10 major subjects had been handed over to the local governments. He said that under the new law, the mayor would now head the Karachi Sewerage Board and Solid Waste Management.
He, however, said it was true that the Sindh government had taken control of a few hospitals, dispensaries and educational institutions, but the main purpose of the move was to improve facilities for the people. He said the Sindh government would have to spend huge money on improving the condition of these hospitals and schools which had been running under the Karachi Municipal Corporation.
He said the Sindh government believed that Karachi Institute of Heart Diseases could be brought on a par with NICVD by improving its conditions. Similarly, he said, the condition of 750-bed Abbasi Shaheed Hospital would also be improved.
The PPP leader alleged that the PTI and the MQM were making a hue and cry over the LG law because they knew that the people would reject them in the upcoming elections.
Mr Ghani said two major incidents — separation of East Pakistan and terror attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar — had taken place on December 16 which could not be investigated.
He also expressed concern over non-availability of gas to the people of Sindh, especially Karachi. He said the industries had closed in Karachi.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2021