• Shouldn’t Karachi’s administrative control be given to Centre, asks MPA Hussain
• Says seeking Centre’s help for basic need like water shows failure of PPP’s 15-year rule
• Saeed Ghani urges MQM-P to present itself before people for accountability

KARACHI: A fresh war of words between leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that began over the groundbreaking of the K-IV water supply project intensified on Monday when the former questioned the 15-year performance of the ruling party in Sindh.

The latest episode of rage between the two parties, which are coalition partners of the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led federal government, began over the weekend following the groundbreaking ceremony of the K-IV project when senior MQM-P leader Mustafa Kamal blamed the PPP for failing to complete the crucial water supply scheme only due to its “anti-Karachi mindset”.

Mr Kamal’s statement attracted a strong reaction from Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon who declared all his allegations as baseless.

Unfazed by Minister Memon’s rejection, the MQM-P held a press conference on Monday and shared with the media facts and figures to boost their claim about the “poor performance” of the PPP government during the past 15 years.

“When even the basic need like water has to be fulfilled by the federal government after your 15-year rule, shouldn’t the administrative control of Karachi be given under the federal government,” asked senior MQM-P leader MPA Muhammad Hussain.

He was referring to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah’s address at the K-IV groundbreaking ceremony where he had warned that any delay in funding of the mega water supply project by the federal government would further delay its completion and increase the cost.

Accompanied by his fellow legislators Jawed Hanif and Rana Ansar, he said the K-IV project was initiated by the MQM and after 19 years it’s still under development. “The PPP government now needs more money from the federal government for its completion only because it’s a project for Karachi and its people,” he said.

‘Working relationship with PPP’

In response to a question, he ruled out any concession to the PPP government in Sindh only because the two parties were partners in the PDM-led federal government.

He argued that the MQM-P was still an opposition party in Sindh and it had only maintained a “working relationship” with the province’s ruling party.

“If they [PPP] think that we will spare them only because we are allies in the Centre, then they are mistaken. We only have working relationships with the PPP, said Mr Hussain.

Referring to the Charter of Rights his party had signed separately with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and PPP in March 2022, he said that the PPP had even failed to meet any of its commitments.

“The PPP even failed to carry out fair census in Karachi and other urban areas of Sindh. We trusted them when we signed the agreement but the PPP did the same thing for which it’s known for,” he added.

Ghani asks for MQM-P’s accountability

The press conference by the MQM-P leaders attracted immediate and strong reaction from the PPP which sought “accountability” of their coalition partners in the Centre.

“Gone are the days of the politicians who had treated Karachi as their fiefdom,” said Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani in a statement. “MQM should present itself for accountability before the people of Karachi instead of unduly criticising the PPP and its chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.”

He said that it was the MQM which ruled Karachi through the local government system for years.

“I ask my MQM friends to give one reason as to why they opted this time to stay away from the local government elections in the city,” he said, adding: “No genuine political party can ever choose to run away from any electoral contest.”

Mr Ghani, who is also the president of the PPP’s Karachi chapter, said that the Sindh government had served well the people of Karachi “who in return voted in favour” of its candidates in the local government polls.

“The era of the political party that treated Karachi as its property has long gone,” he said, adding: “We avoid criticising MQM on the directives of our leadership but this shouldn’t be seen as our weakness.”

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2023

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