GUJRANWALA: Gondalwala residents on Monday organised mock funeral processions of their representatives in the national and provincial assemblies in protest against their failure to repair the damaged sewerage system for six months.
The residents paraded the mock bodies of the MNA and the MPA through the sewage filled streets, said funeral prayers and buried them in the main graveyard.
Mahmood Bashir Virk is the MNA and Shaikh Mumtaz Hashmi the MPA from the area. They won the 2008 general election on Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz tickets.
Talking to The Express Tribune, the protestors said they had been trying to contact their representatives for more than six months.
“At election time, they made tall claims. They said their houses would be open to the constituents 24 hours of the day,” said Shoaib Butt, a resident. He said since election he had not seen Virk or Hashmi even once. “They’re dead to me. Why shouldn’t I then say funeral prayers for them?”.
Others including Maqsood Butt, Malik Ranjha and Razzaq said when they took the sewerage system complaint to the town administration they told them to consult the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa). “The Wasa people say we need to talk to our MNA or MPA,” they said, “but the MNA and the MPA have never returned to the area after getting elected from here.”
They alleged that the MNA had extorted more than Rs2 million from the funds allocated for the sewerage system.
They said he used substandard material so the sewerage system stopped working in only a year’s time. They said more than 1,000 families resided in the area but no public utilities were available to them.
The Jamia Muhammadiya masjid prayer leader led the mock funeral prayers.
He said their area had become a hell for them. “All streets are flooded with sewage and water. People can’t visit the mosque to say their prayers,” he said. “What do the politicians want from these us? They have already ruined our life here. They should at least let us visit the mosques with ease so that we can secure a better life in the hereafter,” the cleric said.
The MNA and the MPA were not available for comment.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2011.