KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) – Pakistan leader Farooq Sattar expressed on Wednesday his fears that the coming electiosn in Karachi will be ‘fixed’. He said that his party will boycott them if such a situation occurs. He claimed that seats in the city would be distributed, with some going to the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and MQM’s Bahadurabad faction.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, he congratulated party workers on being allotted the election symbol of the kite. He was flanked by Qamar Mansoor and other leaders of the party. Sattar lamented that the election commission did not listen to their issues regarding delimitation and that the MQM offices were still not returned to them.
The Election Commission of Pakistan, on the request of Sattar and Amir Khan, allotted the MQM’s kite symbol to the party’s Sattar-led PIB faction to use in the elections, for which Sattar congratulated workers.
Sattar threatened that if their reservations were not addressed, the MQM may boycott the elections. He expressed amazement at constituencies being made with populations of 900,000, adding that his constituency has been merged with Defence, Clifton and Lyari, while the Old City area has also been disturbed. He alleged that they seem to already have been thrown out of the electoral process.
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"The election cannot guarantee our survival. All the injustice meted out to us is in front of everyone," he said, adding, "We will continue to demand a new province as there is a need to make 100 administrative units and not just two."
The party chief said that we are often cursed when demanding this, but each worker of the MQM wants a new province to be carved out of Karachi. "When everyone wants a separate province then we all have to fight for our rights," Sattar said.
He pointed out that there were complaints against K-Electric and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board due to power and water shortages during the heatwave. He said people were risking their lives to protest in the heat. Sattar criticised the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation for establishing very few camps to facilitate residents of the city. He directed his workers to monitor these camps.
Citing the cutting down of trees and increase in pollution, he warned that riots may break out over the shortage of water. He blamed the federal and provincial governments for not taking interest in the city’s water and sewerage system.
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"Merely mentioning the K-IV in the budget is not enough. It seems as if the K-IV will not be completed even by 2020," the MQM leader lamented. He stressed the need to pay attention to the effects of global warming.
He expressed grief that when the children of the founders of Pakistan were cursed, the party’s Bahadurabad faction did not respond. Sattar said that a major protest was held in Liaquatabad in the month of Ramazan.
He called the census unjust and said it was a form of pre-poll rigging done in the name of delimitation. Sattar called for new provinces to be made on administrative basis.
At a recent iftar dinner organised by the Express Media Group, the upcoming general elections were discussed. Guests at the event made interesting observations on the political situation of Karachi, speculating on expected victory margins for different parties contesting for 20 seats of the National Assembly and 44 seats in the provincial assembly. The dinner turned into a political gathering as a large number of leaders from various parties attended such as the MQM’s Sattar, Aminul Haq, Khan, Ali Raza Abidi and Faisal Sabzwari, PPP’s Nasir Hussain Shah and Saeed Ghani, PSP’s Raza Haroon and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Faisal Vawda among others.
The discussion turned into a hot political debate as Sattar made a startling revelation regarding the upcoming elections. "A conspiracy is being hatched in Karachi. It was not only a minus-one formula that changed the political atmosphere of the metropolis; rather it was a minus-MQM formula that was in the process,” he asserted, speculating that as per the conspiracy, PSP, MQM’s Bahadurabad faction and the PTI will be awarded five seats each in the National Assembly while the PPP will get six.
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Sattar warned that the strategy will be devastating, as it will create feelings of deprivation and alienation amongst the citizens of Karachi. He said that the conspirers have been continuing with their past practices. He added that while an impression portraying divisions within the MQM had become popular in the recent months, the party enjoys a solid vote bank, which will prove loyal in the upcoming elections.
Khan said that those hatching conspiracies in Karachi will fail like the past. "The MQM will sweep the elections on seats in its traditional vote bank," he vowed.
Shah maintained that the ruling party had shown extraordinary performance during the past 10 years and had delivered far better than any other party in Sindh. "In Sanghar, the number of roads developed during the past PPP tenure is well beyond the number of roads developed since 1947," he claimed, adding that the number of universities established during the PPP’s tenure had crossed all records. He also speculated that PSP will not be able to bag a single seat in the provincial assembly, saying that PPP will continue to defeat all others in the number of provincial assembly seats.
PPP gears up for massive show in MQM stronghold
Ghani was also optimistic about the electoral performance of the party, saying that the PPP will bag over 50% of the seats in Karachi. "The fear has gone so the people will now cast their votes independently without any coercion," he said, remarking that it was too early to make any speculations regarding a coalition with the PTI. He added that the PPP would not be keen for a coalition if Imran Khan was reluctant. "The claims of Imran Khan do not warrant serious attention as he keeps changing his statements," he said, hoping that the MQM will now realise its position after seeing the outcome of the general elections.
Haroon said Karachi had been freed from anti-state elements as well as traitors. "Karachi no longer belongs to the founder of the MQM or the symbol of the kite," he asserted. "The city now belongs to patriots." He speculated that the PSP will meet a surprising electoral beginning since the MQM had failed to deliver during the past 30 years of its rule in Karachi.
Haroon strongly censured the statement made by Shah, claiming that the PPP had turned into a small party catering to citizens living in villages and goths of rural Sindh. "The PPP should not worry about Karachi," he said. "The PSP come out with a surprising entry in Karachi."
Vawda also speculated that his party will bag the most seats in the upcoming general elections. "In 2013, rigging during the elections deprived us of our winning seats," he claimed, hoping that the recent polls will see a clean sweep for the party.
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