KARACHI - Thousands of people took to the street in Orangi on Sunday, demanding civic facilities for Karachiites.

The city, particularly the Orangi Town area, is facing several issues such as heaps of solid waste, chocked sewerage system, ruthless use of force by police to extort money, incompetent staff of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), shortage of potable water, unavailability of mass transit system, frequent power outages, overbilling and tumbling transport system.

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has been highlighting these issues for long, but the provincial and local governments continued to give a cold shoulder to people’s demands. Sunday’s rally was also organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Karachi chapter.

A large number of people from all walks of life participated in the rally taken out from the Shah Waliullah Nagar area in Orangi Town. As an expression of solidarity, the rally was showered with rose petals at several points.

Addressing the rally, JI Karachi chief Engineer Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman said that the people of Karachi in general and Orangi Town in particular had been deprived of their due rights. He said that Karachiites were betrayed by those who claimed to be the representatives of the city. Instead of uplifting the status of the city and the citizens, the so-called leaders only raised the living standards of their own families. He added that the city was a victim of the divide-and-rule policy.

Engineer Naeem further said that now the time had changed and there was no room for politics of ethnic divide in Karachi. He said that all burning issues of Karachi could be resolved only through unity and a joint struggle under an honest leadership. He said that the rally was an evidence of the fact that Karachi had rejected the politics of fear and threat.

He criticised the provincial police department for harassing innocent people on the pretext of ongoing security operation. He said that police arrested scores of people and then released them after receiving hefty amounts in bribe. This situation is unacceptable, he said.

Criticising the policies of the federal and provincial governments, he said that rulers had been sowing the seeds of unrest among the masses. He said that Nadra blocked millions of computerised national identity cards in recent months and the authorities were now reluctant to unblock these cards. The affected people are being threatened and forced to accept illegal demands. He urged the Nadra authorities to shun corrupt practices. He warned Nadra that the JI would besiege their offices as well as government offices, including the Sindh Governor House, if people’s identity cards were not unblocked.

JI District West chief Abdul Razzak Khan, deputy chief Fazal Aahad and others also addressed the rally.