KARACHI: In a shift of its blame from the Election Commission of Pakistan to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Tuesday accused the ruling party of Sindh as main factor behind the recent “unjust and illegal elections” as it deliberately avoided implementing the agreement they had signed in April 2022 when it decided to quit the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government that led to vote of no confidence against the then prime minister, Imran Khan.
The MQM-P leaders blamed the PPP leadership and even named its supremo Asif Ali Zardari who “promised” to ensure implementation on the accord as he didn’t want so many challenges to be handled by his son, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. They called the PPP mandate “fake” and another attempt to “occupy Karachi and Hyderabad” like other parts of Sindh.
“Do you [PPP] even think that the people of Karachi and Hyderabad would vote for you,” asked MQM leader and former Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar.
“Do you even imagine that people of Karachi would even consider you as an option. Never. It can never happen. Look at your performance and your policies. Not only this population of Karachi, the generations to come of the Karachiites would never vote for you. This is unjust, fake and illegal mandate which you have snatched,” he said.
He said that the people of Karachi had rejected all the parties that had contested the local government elections.
Says collective number of votes obtained by PPP, JI and PTI is less than votes MQM got in 2015 polls
He said that in the local government elections held in 2015 the collective votes of MQM in Karachi were more than 1.1 million. He said today the collective votes of PPP, Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf were less than those obtained by the MQM in 2015.
He said that the JI obtained 0.3m votes followed by the PPP that bagged 0.25m votes in Karachi.
Mr Akhtar appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of “depriving the people of Karachi and Hyderabad” of their democratic rights.
Only couple of days ago, the MQM-P was found in agreement with the Sindh government of PPP and even gave it credit for its attempts to delay the local government elections in Karachi on the party’s demand for fresh delimitation before the polls. They were of the view that the PPP government had made its efforts to fix the flaws, but it was the ECP which violated the defined rules and held elections despite request from the provincial administration for its delay.
“The party with feudal mindset made the same moves here in Karachi to ensure its majority where it can never win through fair voting,” he said. “So they started pre-poll rigging couple of years ago. They finally tested its windfall in these elections. We trusted them when we signed the agreement, but the PPP did the same thing for which it’s known for. The party has in fact attacked on the mandate of people of Karachi.”
The fresh presser from Mr Akhtar with party colleagues at its temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad, however, focused more on performance of the PPP as government in Sindh and as party which had signed “Charter of Rights” more than nine months ago, but never implemented it.
He then showed the document which “proved” the “gerrymandering” of PPP government which was admitted by every legal forum and even endorsed by those parties which contested the Jan 15 polls.
He questioned the authenticity of the local government system which came into through “illegal delimitation”.
“In areas which is known for MQM strongholds, a UC was carved out on population count of 75,000 to 95,000 and those neighbourhoods which have history of voting for PPP has a UC over population of 29,000 to 48,000. The fair delimitation would increase the number of UCs in Karachi by more than 70, and in overall polling, the PPP would not be able to win more than 25,” added Mr Akhtar.
Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2023