KARACHI - The MQM announced to end its sit-in protest outside the CM House after being assured by the Sindh government to provide potable water in Karachi.

MQM parliamentarians, representatives and workers gathered outside Karachi Press Club and chanted slogans against the provincial rulers. They were carrying party flags and banners inscribed with slogans, “Let Karachi Live”, “Give Water to Karachi” and “Complete K4 Water Project on emergency basis.”

Following the demo, barricades were placed on the roads leading towards the Chief Minister House. The routes from PIDC to CM House and Gizri to CM House were completely closed while the traffic has been diverted to alternative routes. The CM House spokesman announced that no party would be allowed to rally in red zone because of imposition of section 144. However, in the evening, the MQM protesters marched towards the CM House and after removing the barricades staged a sit-in near the CM House.

The police on the occasion did not stop the protesters due to their large number but they warned the MQM leadership that whoever would cross further limits would be arrested.

Speaking on the occasion, the MQM leaders demanded resignation from the Managing Director Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB). They said the world was making development and it is unfortunate that Karachi being a mega city was deprived of basic necessity of life. They vowed to get water for Sindh as well as Karachi.

Holding water tap in hand, MQM senior deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar said that citizens of Karachi were on roads for water but Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah statement has disappointed them.

“We are only asking water and city would be saved from civil war if the Sindh CM resolved the issue. We are here to wake up the CM from his nap,” he added.

“Give the citizens water or else we would take water by ourselves along with the province, said the MQM deputy convener and warned that further delay in taking notice of water shortage issue would force the party to initiate protest drive after Ramazan.”

Waseem Akhtar said the Sindh government is treating the city and its citizens as second-rate citizens. He said that after the passage of seven month the elected representatives of local government were not given powers and Karachiites were being wronged by not providing water. He claimed that water is being provided to the large scale projects that are being completed outskirts of the metropolis. He said that water shortage can create threats to law and order in the city. The projects worth billions were going on in the whole country with the money earned from Karachi but the citizens of Karachi do not have the basic facility like water.

Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan said that the provincial government is not paying attention despite the protest in Sindh Assembly. The provincial rulers should at least made alternative arrangements to tackle the crisis, he added. He said that CM Qaim Ali Shah is responsible to maintain peace and development of the city. The CM did not pay any tax while the M House spend about Rs5 billion annually on it expenditure, claimed the MQM leader and questioned that last year the same government did not pay any heed to the death of citizens due to power break down and heatwave.

The citizens of Karachi are protesting against the water shortage said Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui addressing the participants.

“We are the people who had earlier changed the geography of Hindustan and if attempts were made to stop us, we will change the geography of Sindh as well, warned the MQM leader.

On the other side, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah responding to the demo, and said that politics of dharna is not a solution to the problems.

"Today the MQM is staging dharna at CM House and tomorrow the people would stage dharna at their mayor's house, this is wrong tradition."

Qaim said this while talking to media men after performing ground-breaking ceremony of Karachi - Thatta Dual Carriageway at Ghaggar Phatak.

Qaim said that he was well aware of water shortage in the city.

"I had provided free of cost water tankers to the water-short areas of the city and again taking necessary measures to overcome the problem," he said and added as far as the sit-in of the MQM was concerned it is not a positive politics but they are establishing a wrong tradition.

"Today you are staging sit in at my House and tomorrow the people would besiege your mayor's," he said. He said that K-1V project has been delayed because of lukewarm attitude of the federal government.

"It is an Rs25 billion project but the Centre was reluctant to allocate required amount. Sindh has allocated more than Rs6 billion for the project and with its completion water storage problem of the city would be resolved.

To calm down the MQM and end the sit-in outside the Chief Minister House, the provincial rulers held talks with MQM delegation at the CM House. MQM delegates included Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Muhammad Hussain, Salman Mujahid while Nasir Shah, Waqar Mendhi represented the provincial government along with Commissioner Karachi Aijaz Khan and MD KW&SB Misbahuddin Fareed.

Talking to The Nation, the MQM spokesperson said that the party delegation held a meeting with the provincial government at CM House and during the meeting, the government has assured the party delegation that steps would be taken to resolve the water crisis in city. While MQM has given an ultimatum of one week to the government and after completion of given time to the government party would announce its future course of action.