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Karachi

November 6, 2017
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MQM-P rally rejects ‘manipulated’ census, demands fresh headcount

Karachi

November 6, 2017

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Rejecting the sixth population census results and demanding a fresh count, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Farooq Sattar has said the “deliberate manipulation” in the headcount in Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh amounts to pre-poll rigging.

He was speaking to a rally which the MQM-P organised at the Liaquatabad flyover on Sunday against the “controversial” census results at a time when it faced challenges of keeping itself intact, with its leaders and workers jumping ship one after another to the Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP).

“Those who are elected by the public have a face value. The voters stand with the MQM-P like they were in 1986,” he said, criticising the rival PSP that, according to him, enjoyed the backing of the establishment and had been installed under a conspiracy to replace his party.

“If we get a level playing field, then twice as many who left [to join the PSP] will join us back,” Sattar remarked, saying the presence of thousands of people at the event was a rejoinder to sceptics and showed that the political parties could neither be made overnight nor could they be finished.

Taking a jibe at rivals, he commented that people boycotted those who boycotted this rally and the next public gathering of the party would break the record of the 1993’s Combined Opposition Parties’ event at Mazar-e-Quaid. “Abhi to khel jari he; abhi anjaam baqi he, tamasha tum ne dekha he; tamasha hum bhi dekhein ge.”

Mentioning the delimitation bill likely to be taken up in the National Assembly on Monday (today), Sattar said it would be a futile exercise when the census results on which it was based were “incorrect”. He added that the MQM-P would vote for it only if it was assured that the census results of Karachi and other urban centres of the province would be revisited.

He claimed that only in Karachi the population exceeded over 30 million while it was manipulatively showed to be 14.9 million. “Today, they have shown our numbers less, tomorrow they will reduce our share in resources,” he told the attendees as they chanted slogans in favour of the party and the Muhajir community.

“If we are not given the due representation, then we will be left with no option but to take it in accordance with the taxes and revenues we generate [to the Centre],” he remarked. “[The] MQM is such a public power that should be accepted. And, besides Muhajirs, it stood with the neglected people of Balochistan, southern Punjab, Fata, Hazara and other communities.”

With a successful event, the MQM-P appeared to be recovering from the loss it suffered in recent days when its Karachi deputy mayor, Arshad Vohra, and former deputy convener Nasir Jamal, among others, left it for Kamal’s PSP. Perhaps to downplay the allegations levelled by them that the MQM-P was a directionless ship heading nowhere, the party leaders time and again reposed their confidence in Sattar.

Addressing the gathering, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, who belongs to the MQM-P, said Sattar sailed the party out of the last year’s August 22 tsunami and now they wanted to continue with its electoral symbol, a kite. He refuted reports of grouping within the party and commented that there was only one group, i.e. PSP which has already separated.

“This is not the way political parties establish themselves,” Akhtar said, referring to the PSP. “No matter how many people join you under pressure, only the party that lives in the hearts of the people prevails,” he said, advising the PSP leadership to join the MQM-P before it was “too late”.

“The 2018 election belongs to the MQM-P. No one else will make it through. And the people are not concerned who comes and goes. Even if it is somebody from the people sitting on the stage [the MQM coordination committee, elected representatives and other leaders],” he said.

At the end of the event, Sattar presented before the audience a resolution, which demanded that the authorities should conduct the population census again, with a proper allocation of blocks, the urban population should correctly be counted, the defence institutions, security and law enforcement agencies should recover over 150 missing persons belonging to the MQM, and the party should be given political independence and its sealed offices returned. 

It said that if the party was not given justice, then a protest movement in every nook and corner of the city was inevitable.  The resolution was approved, with the participants voting in favour by raising their hands.

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