KARACHI: In a sign of much-propagated merger of its factions, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) staged a power show on Wednesday to protest against the holding of Jan 15 local government polls on current delimitation and threatened to leave the ruling coalition if its demands were not met.

Almost all estranged leaders belonging to different factions participated in the demonstration outside the provincial headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan against the LG elections being held in Karachi and Hyderabad.

The MQM-P leaders warned Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to take a clear stand if he had any respect for the rights of the people of urban Sindh or let the party “decide about its future” as a member of ruling PDM coalition.

The MQM-P leaders along with the representatives of Pak-Sarzameen Party (PSP) and MQM Organisation Restoration Committee described the protest demo as the beginning of their “united movement” for the rights of urban Sindh while reiterating its rejection of “unjustified delimitation, fake voters’ list and less count of population in the National Census 2017”.

Party’s various factions may merge today; MQM-P rejects ‘unjustified’ delimitation, voter list

Though they didn’t make any announcement about their parties’ participation in the upcoming exercise, they did declare that the Jan 15 vote would be “sheer injustice” to the people of urban Sindh.

“It’s the beginning of our united movement against injustice and exploitation,” said MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi to the roar of crowd. “We have learnt that only unity can save us, our people and our city. Now I want to tell the prime minister that it’s not blackmailing but a struggle for rights. Now you have to decide what you actually think about this city and its people. Otherwise, we would be free to make our decision about our political future.”

 Supporters of MQM-P and PSP attend a protest demonstration outside the offices of Election Commission of Pakistan in Karachi on Wednesday.—PPI
Supporters of MQM-P and PSP attend a protest demonstration outside the offices of Election Commission of Pakistan in Karachi on Wednesday.—PPI

He then shared the details of “unjustified delimitation and fake voters’ [list]”, alleging that the population of Karachi was halved in the 2017 census.

He went on to remind the PDM that it was the party’s seven seats in the National Assembly that had ensured majority for PM Sharif’s government.

Former Karachi mayor and PSP leader Syed Mustafa Kamal in a strong message to “state powers” warned that those who ran Pakistan needed to understand that they cannot succeed if Karachi and its people continued to suffer.

“Let me tell you that you can’t run Pakistan, if this city and its people are exploited. You would not get sustainable peace in any part of the country if this business capital of Pakistan isn’t given what it deserves,” he said.

Mr Kamal even had a piece of advice for former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

“Zardari Sahib, you can’t make your son Bilawal [Bhutto-Zardari] prime minister if you keep ignoring Karachi. Your dream for your son would never materialise if Karachi keeps suffering.”

Former federal minister and founder of MQM Organisation Restoration Committee Dr Farooq Sattar said that holding of elections in the presence of “unjustified delimitation and a fake voters’ list” is the outcome of an “under table deal” between the ruling PPP and some political parties to keep Karachi’s “true representatives” out of the democratic process.

“You would have already seen how the PPP and Jamaat-i-Islami are seen on one page these days,” he said. “It’s clear evidence that these two in collusion with some other parties have cut deals for these polls which would never reflect the true mandate of Karachi and Hyderabad. You cannot fool people through media gimmicks and fake news. The people are aware and they are seeing who is with them and who’s there with a feudal mindset.”

Merger in the offing

Later, PSP and the group led by Dr Sattar decided to join MQM-P and a formal announcement in this regard is expected on Thursday (today).

MQM-P sources said Mr Kamal along with supporters would visit MQM-P’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad on Thursday.

Mr Kamal and MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui will hold a joint press conference to announce the merger, they added.

Dr Sattar, who heads his own Organisation Restoration Committee, would also announce his return to the MQM-P on Thursday.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Time for dialogue
24 Jun, 2024

Time for dialogue

IN the tumultuous landscape of Pakistani politics, the call for dialogue among political forces has never been more...
Property taxes
24 Jun, 2024

Property taxes

ACCORDING to reports in the local media, along with the higher taxes imposed on real estate in the recent budget, ...
Fierce heat
24 Jun, 2024

Fierce heat

CLIMATE change is unfolding as predicted by experts: savage heat, melting glaciers, extreme rainfall, drought, ...
China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...