KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM) has demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to invoke Article 149 of the Constitution and intervene in Sindh to rescue people being subjected to injustices and rampant corruption.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday, MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who is also a federal minister for telecommunication and information technology, said that people have been deceived in the name of the 18th Amendment which instead of devolving power at grassroots level has led to the concentration of authority at the provincial level.
Siddiqui, who was flanked by other party leaders including Coordination Committee senior Deputy Convener Amir Khan and Kunwar Naveed Jamil, vowed to take up the case of the people of the urban centres of Sindh who were being deprived of government jobs and other economic opportunities. He also announced that to highlight the grievances of the urban population MQM will hold a massive public gathering at Bagh-i-Jinnah on April 27.
The MQM leader said that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led government’s unjust policies had already divided the Sindh province and only a formal announcement was needed in this regard.
Highlighting the grievances of Muhajir community, Siddiqui said that Urdu-speaking people were earlier deprived of their assets in the name of nationalisation and later they were deprived of jobs and other opportunities due to the quota system and now they have once again been deceived in the name of 18th Amendment. In the name of the provincial autonomy, people have been deprived of their rights and resources through this 18th Amendment.
He said that there was an urgent need to disperse the provincial resources to the district level. He also demanded the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate how the government and public sector jobs were distributed in Sindh during the past few years.
Lamenting on its ethnic character, Siddiqui claimed that the Sindh government has crossed all limits of corruption and bias as were never seen before.
He said that the rural and urban divide was leading to ethnic differences adding that those who divided the country have now divided Sindh by imposing a quota system. He warned that there was a danger of riots in the city on the water issue and to ward off this situation “we have been adopting legal and constitutional ways address the issue of the injustice meted out to us.”
Seeking Centre’s help, Siddiqui said, it was federal government’s responsibility to take action against the provincial injustices, and prime minister must do something to give rights to the citizens of the urban areas of Sindh.
He reminded that Article 149 of the Constitution gives the right to the federal government to interfere in provincial matters and to direct the provincial government wherever it sees corruption and injustice. “We demand the prime minister to use his constitutional powers to interfere in Sindh before it is too late.”
“We demand NAB to take notice on the on-going corruption in the name of job opportunities” and notice should also be taken of the increase in the prices of life-saving drugs.
Kunwar Naveed Jamil claimed that chief minister Sindh and the Sindh government announced giving 41,000 jobs, and there was not a single name from Karachi in the list prepared for these jobs. “If anyone thinks they will suppress us through power then they are wrong if they want the benefit of Sindh they must give jobs to Karachi and Hyderabad youth.”
Referring to an advertisement of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), former senator Nasreen Jalil, who was also there at the press conference, said that the citizens of Karachi also have the right to jobs in KPT.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2019.