KARACHI: A huge crowd turned up at the Karachi Press Club to participate in a protest on Saturday over the recently enacted controversial local government law on the call of three major opposition political parties, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Grand Democratic Alliance.
Launching a ‘massive’ movement against the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, the parties announced that they would march from Ghotki to Karachi on Feb 27 — the same day when the PPP would start its so-called ‘long march’ on Islamabad against the PTI-led federal government.
The PTI and other opposition parties in Sindh, which are allies of its government in the Centre, in their first major power show under the province-wide campaign against the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Act 2021 made it clear that Saturday’s protest was just a ‘trailer’ of the upcoming protests and the demonstrations against the ‘black law’ were not going to end anytime soon and asked the PPP government to review its “feudal and suppressive mindset” before the people of Sindh “throw them out of CM House”.
Predicting the sunset of the PPP rule in Sindh soon, the leaders of PTI, MQM-P and GDA warned the provincial government that the ‘temperature’ of the people’s anger was not going to cool down and it was now the turn of the ruling party to respond ‘wisely’ before the next plan was announced by the opposition alliance in the province.
The protest was also participated by 14 PTI legislators — Dr Seemi Bukhari, Syma Nadeem, Ghazala Saifi, Nuzhat Pathan, Nusrat Wahid, Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak, Sajida Begum, Naureen Farooq Ibrahim, Uzma Riaz, Zille Huma, Shaheen Naz Saifullah, Munaza Hassan, Asma Qadeer and Javaria Zafar Aheer.
‘Dictatorship in garb of democracy’
MQM-P convenor Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui while addressing the demonstration of roaring crowd said that Karachi had given its verdict on Saturday.
“It’s a verdict against feudalism. It’s a verdict against the dictatorship in the garb of democracy. It’s a verdict against the illiteracy being imposed on the urban Sindh by feudal lords. And it’s a verdict against the unjust, ethnically-biased and racist PPP government. The people cannot be made peasants.”
He asked the demonstrators about the status and life in Karachi before the PPP rule in 2008 and said that the city was never like this ‘ruins’ before and questioned the performance of the PPP government in rural Sindh.
He said the PPP in fact was an anti-development party and that’s why it had never even tried to change the lives of poor millions of people living in rural parts of province.
“In Karachi they play ethnic politics, but they are not sympathisers of any community,” said Dr Siddiqui. “If they are the true lover of any community, Larkana would have been in a much better condition today. They have even not spared the hometown of Bhuttos. The rights of people and development of cities lie in true implementation of Article 140-A of the Constitution.”
Ghotki to Karachi march on Feb 27
Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs and president of the Sindh chapter of PTI Ali Zaidi announced the next plan of the joint opposition parties in the province warning that the people were so angry that they would block all major cities of the province.
Calling former president Asif Ali Zardari ‘mafia godfather’ and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah his ‘accountant’, he alleged the two were actually investing the people’s money in real estate in London and Dubai.
Mocking PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and calling him ‘baby chairman’, he warned that the opposition alliance this time was going to take every democratic step that would lead to fall of the Sindh government.
“Their baby chairman has recently announced that they are starting a long march on Islamabad against the federal government on February 27,” said Mr Zaidi. “We will show you what the long march actually is. On February 27, we all would march from Ghotki to Karachi. And don’t underestimate us this time. If you don’t withdraw this black law, we will block Larkana, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Hyderabad, Ghotki. We would block entire Sindh.”
‘PPP bulldozed all rules’
Hasnain Mirza of the GDA said the ‘champions’ of democracy, the PPP, had bulldozed every rule and regulation of the Sindh Assembly.
The assembly was the most appropriate forum to discuss burning issues of public and find out their solutions but, he added, there was the worst civilian dictatorship in Sindh, that was bulldozing pillars of democracy and the mindset was not convening assembly session.
“How interesting it is that the PPP has used illegal way to make things legal. The ruling party violated the law to make the law. But this black law is not going to be implemented. No law and tactic can afford to stand against the power of people,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2022