KARACHI -  The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) on Sunday staged a rally against the Sindh government over non-provision of civic facilities to people of the province.

The rally was taken out from Liaquatabad. After passing through its route, it reached Mazar-e-Quaid. A big number of MQM workers and supporters participated in the rally.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Farooq Sattar said that on August 23 “we gathered people on a platform and moved on with the agenda that the MQM will restore its image, which it had in 1986”. “Today’s rally is the proof that we have achieved that goal,” he said.  He said this movement is in progress for the provision of due rights to the citizens. The MQM-P would not leave the rural people of Sindh alone and free them from the feudal mindset, said the MQM convener. The MQM marked the historic victory in the by-polls in NA-246 and it would clean sweep the next general elections, claimed Sattar.

He said the Sindh government led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) robbed the urban areas of their due rights and illegally transferred them to rural parts. He said that powers were taken away from local bodies, leaving them unable to do anything. The world is progressing and it is unfortunate that people of Karachi are still asking for drinking water. “We are loyal to our nation and we are loyal to Pakistan,” said Khawaja Izhar, adding that the party was holding a peaceful protest and it believed in politics of non-violence. He said the PPP systemically deprived the urban areas of the province – Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas and Nawabshah –of their due rights and fair share in funds and resources.

Speaking on the occasion, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar said the PPP had ruined the entire province and it was not interested in providing any relief to the people of Sindh. The PPP is responsible for the destruction of Larkana, Sukkur, Mirpurkhass and other key cities of Sindh. Incompetent rulers have done nothing for Hyderabad, Karachi and other parts of the province and this led these cities into destruction. He said the Sindh government had been controlling the district municipal corporations for the past eight years and it should be held accountable for huge funds released for cleanliness of storm-water drains. The PPP leadership is advising us to work with the current powers but what powers have you left for the Karachi mayor? he asked.

MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui accused the PPP of massive corruption during its nine-year rule in Sindh and claimed that it brought destruction to the province, particularly its capital Karachi. He said that Benazir Bhutto used to say, “Democracy is the best revenge,” and former president Asif Ali Zardari proved it by taking revenge on the people of Sindh, said Siddiqui. “Whatever you have done during the last eight years, we have tolerated it in the name of democracy, but from now, no comprise on people’s issues,” he said.

Siddiqui pointed out that the Sindh government claimed to have spent billions of rupees in interior Sindh but despite a massive spending there in not even a single union committee in Larkana, Shikarpur, Khairpur or Dadu where garbage has been lifted or clean drinking water is available to people.

Deputy convener Amir Khan said that in year 1973 founder of PPP Zulfikar Ali Bhutto passed a controversial bill dividing the Sindh. The rural and urban division was made for personal gains and the feudal lords made these attempts for personal gains. The population of Karachi was decreased, which was later admitted by then Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo, said Amir. “We would not tolerate if the figures were shown less in the census currently under way in the province. Baloch, Punjabis, Pakthuns, Sindhis, Mohajirs and other entities are the residents of Karachi and if the old practice is repeated, these people will initiate a movement against the feudal policies,” he said. He alleged that it was the feudal class in Sindh that was exploiting the situation and the marginalised segments of the society.

It is worth mentioning here that workers raised slogans in favour of MQM founder Altaf Hussain at Guru Mandir. The MQM-P had disassociated itself from Altaf Hussain last year in August after he delivered an anti-state speech.

On the occasion, MQM-P leadership seemed hopeless. Furthermore, the graffiti against deputy convener Amir Khan and other leaders at the MQM-P camp increased the tension.

Responding to the incidents, opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan termed it an act of an individual, not the party. He said that MQM-P does not believe in violence and individual voices cannot be suppressed.