KARACHI: More than two months after its unification, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan on Saturday staged a ‘power show’ at the sprawling Bagh-i-Jinnah to mark its 39th foundation day.
In January, the Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party and a faction led by Dr Farooq Sattar had merged into the MQM-P a few days before the Jan 15 local government elections.
The unified party, which is an important part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led coalition government at the Centre, tried its best to get the LG polls postponed, but failed. Later, the party boycotted the municipal elections after which the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Jamaat-i-Islami grabbed maximum seats in the metropolis.
Against this backdrop, the new entrants, especially the erstwhile PSP, which brought with it a large cadre in the MQM-P, wanted to demonstrate their street power to show that their party still enjoys public support despite their boycott.
Finally, they got the chance to stage a public meeting on the party’s foundation day.
Fair census, empowered local govt demanded
A large number of workers and supporters, including women and children, took out small rallies from their respective localities to reach and converge at the Bagh-i-Jinnah in the shadows of the Quaid’s mausoleum.
Party workers from other parts of the province also attended the event. They were chanting slogans and carrying tri-coloured party flags and placards inscribed with demands, including of a fair census.
Senior MQM-P leadership, including Anis Kaimkhani, Nasreen Jalil, Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Kamal and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addressed the gathering.
Speaking on the occasion, MQM-P convener Dr Siddiqui said that today’s gathering had representation from people of all walks of life.
He vowed to launch a new struggle to what he called ‘save the nation from a new kind of slavery’.
“We have to provide constitutional protection to the poor of Pakistan.”
He said that his party would support every movement that would aim at getting rights of the oppressed people.
Dr Siddiqui congratulated the people of Karachi for participating the event in a large number.
Speaking on the occasion, former Karachi mayor Kamal said that it was a rebranded MQM which included people from all areas of the metropolis.
“Pakhtun from Sohrab Goth, Baloch from Lyari and people of all ethnic origins are present in this mammoth gathering,” he added.
He criticised the PPP-led Sindh government and said that it had deprived the people of Karachi of their basic rights.
Demanding an empowered local government system from Karachi to Kashmore, he said that general elections in the country should not be held until all provinces hold municipal elections.
Dr Sattar, on the occasion, said that over 80 per cent people of Karachi had boycotted the local government elections on MQM-P call.
They demanded that the true population of Karachi be reflected in the ongoing digital census.
He said that the party would bring young leadership in the next general elections. He asked the K-Electric and Sui Southern Gas Company to stop carrying out unjustified loadshedding.
Addressing the workers, Nasreen Jalil said that the MQM-P had proved that it united on one platform. She said that there was a plethora of problems in Karachi, but despite having 14 MNAs, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had failed to raise its voice for the problems of Karachi.
Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2023