KARACHI: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Sunday announced that it would protest against the recently passed Sindh Local Government Amendment Bill 2021 and stage a sit-in outside the provincial assembly on Dec 31 in an effort to compel the Pakistan Peoples Party ‘dictatorship’ to reverse the ‘black law’.
The announcement came at a JI rally titled ‘Karachi Bachao March’ staged against the LG bill on M. A. Jinnah Road by the JI Karachi chapter and participated by top JI leadership. A large number of people, including women and children, turned up to express their “anger against PPP government and its policies”.
Addressing the participants, JI chief Sirajul Haq expressed the resolve that a countrywide movement would be launched to build momentum for the rights of Karachi.
He warned that the existing policies of the federal and provincial governments for the country’s business capital would cause suffering to masses and could lead to a national disaster.
“The Karachi is not run by any administration but a mafia,” he said. “Here you will find [water] tanker mafia, land mafia, arms mafia, education mafia, builders mafia, gas and petrol mafia. And every mafia is backed and supported by federal and provincial governments. But we want to make it clear that we wouldn’t tolerate it anymore. This movement would end only after achieving its desired results,” the JI chief declared.
He added that the movement for the rights of Karachi was not for or from the people of this city alone. “Now the people of Karachi will see that their voices and slogans are raised and heard from Badin to Khyber and Kashmir to Gwadar.”
The march has come following a month-long campaign by the Karachi chapter of the JI that demands withdrawal of the recent LG bill calling it against the spirit of Article 140-A of the Constitution.
The party also demands a number of measures for Karachi and its people ranging from status of mega metropolis to infrastructure development and autonomy in local governance to authority of city mayor in law enforcement and revenue generation.
Among several other demands, the party also seeks holding of a ‘true’ census for Karachi, saying that actual population of the metropolis is more that around 30 million.
Riding motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks and carrying placards, banners and party flags, the participants in the rally were calling for an independent and empowered local government system for the city.
“Isn’t it an irony that a city that generates employment for the people of every district and town of the country is never owned by rulers,” said Senator Haq. “Isn’t it a tragedy that this city that deserves to become the world’s centre, is pleading for its due rights from its very own rulers? From General Ayub Khan to the present day rulers, this city has never been given its due rights and share. But enough is enough. This city has always been deprived of its true leadership through rigging, violence and conspiracies. Now we are here to fight the case of this city.”
Earlier, speaking at the rally, JI leader Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman demanded that all civic departments working in the metropolis were placed under the umbrella of one unified system.
“We have made enough appeals,” he said. “We have made enough requests. But the PPP government has proved that it only talks about democracy, but it actually believes in feudalism. But we won’t give up...we will stage a sit-in outside the Sindh Assembly building on Dec 31 in line with our ongoing movement.”
Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2021