MQM warns of reviewing decision to participate in Sindh LG polls

Published August 20, 2022
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui address a press conference in Karachi on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui address a press conference in Karachi on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

KARACHI: In a strong message to “state powers” while reiterating its protest over “unjustified delimitation, fake voters’ list and less count of population in the National Census 2017,” the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) on Friday warned that it would review its decision to participate in the upcoming August 28 local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad.

The partner of the ruling alliance at the Centre went on to say with a caution that the party could even boycott the electoral process if the people of urban Sindh were left with a feeling that their original mandate was being stolen only to impose the “fake municipal leadership”, mainly in Karachi, the business capital.

The fresh thoughts in the party ranks were shared by the top leadership during a press conference at its temporary headquarters in Bahad­urabad where they were convinced for a “final move” despite repeated appeals to the power corridors.

Protests ‘unjustified delimitation, fake voters’ list and less count of population in 2017 census’

Without naming any individual, institution or organisation, the MQM-P apparently, along with the president and prime minister, also addressed the powerful establishment for their role in addressing the grievances of urban Sindh.

“I am here to ask the president, prime minister and those who are guardians of law and Constitution to suggest to us where we should go for justice,” said MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.

He then shared the details of “unjustified delimitation and fake voters”, alleging that the population of Karachi was halved in the 2017 census. Explaining the reasons behind his presser only days before the local bodies’ elections to raise the same old issues the party has been protesting over for the past many months, the MQM-P leader came up with a direct warning that suggested the party was still indecisive about the August 28 polls.

“After the by-election in NA-245 on August 21, we would go to the people of Karachi,” he said. “We would seek their opinion. We would ask them whether it would be beneficial for us or for our people to participate in an election in which their representation has been restricted to 25 per cent [of the total population], their population has been halved and voters’ lists are fake. We are not sure whether participation in such elections would strengthen or weaken democracy?”

In reply to a question about the fate of “Charter of Rights” the party had signed with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in March 2022 to strike a deal with the Sindh’s ruling party on almost all of its years-old demands, which would be agreed under a guarantee offered from the leadership of the opposition alliance, Dr Siddiqui admitted that “nothing has been achieved” and made it clear about the future stance of his party on the agreement.

“There are several issues on this particular agreement,” he said. “We have suggested several things and similarly they [PPP] have forwarded their proposals. That’s true the progress has not been made so far. But we believe this cannot go a long way this way. They have to make things happen, otherwise we would decide about this from our side.”

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2022

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