KARACHI: Sindh Assembly adopted a resolution on Monday against Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM) leader’s remarks to carve out another province from Sindh. The resolution, moved by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Shehla Raza, condemned the statement of MQM-P leader and federal minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and called it an “anti-patriotic statement aimed at widening differences among the people of Sindh.”
The resolution, which was signed by more than a dozen PPP MPAs amid protests by members of MQM-P, reads: “This house believes in unity, peace and prosperity of the people of the province of Sindh. Therefore, this statement appears to be an attempt to divide the people on the basis of caste, creed, language, sect and religion. This house shares its deep concern over this statement of MQM leader and demands an apology from Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to the people of Sindh.”
Shehla Raza, in her speech, referred to the mass migration after partition and said, “People of Sindh welcomed Urdu speaking and other communities with open arms. They provided them their own homes and their hospitality was unmatchable, but some elements started politics on the basis of creed, colour and ethnicity creating differences among permanent residents of this province,” she said, adding that Urdu speaking people were not “Muhajirs”, but permanent residents of Sindh, so they should give up the use of this term.
“Some people indulge in cheap publicity in the name of Muhajirs,” she said, adding that this term could only be used for the Afghans who migrated after the Soviet War in Afghanistan and now live in Pakistan.
MQM-P members continued to protest throughout Raza’a speech.
Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani presented the resolution for voting which was passed with majority votes from PPP and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA). Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and MQM members continued their protest.
Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah criticised MQM-P in his speech for their effort to divide Sindh in two parts. “Those who attempted to break Sindh have now been shattered into pieces.” MQM-P leaders including Mohammad Hussain and Kanwar Naveed Jameel, stood up from their seats and protested the CM’s remarks. Responding to them, the CM said, “It is the reality. You are now broken into pieces. How many more pieces do you need?”
These remark irked MQM-P’s Mohammad Hussain who said, “It is not MQM which broke Pakistan in 1971. It is your leader who did it,” he said to which Shah said, “Bhutto is still remembered in golden words. We want to know where your leader is. I wonder to see that you people discarded and disowned your own leader. That is really a pity.”
The war of words caused uproar in the House. The CM also criticised the Opposition for bulldozing the 18th Amendment and said, “Please listen carefully. No one can dare snatch provincial autonomy. The law was unanimously passed by PPP government in 2010 and those parties who are signatories on this Bill have now taken U-turn.” He added that the PTI government has taken a U-turn in every sphere and the federal government had not made any significant achievement so far.
Earlier in his address, the CM talked about the Thar coal power plant and lauding the efforts of the PPP government, he said that the project was envisioned by Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) but other governments created hurdles in its development. He gave credit to the PPP government for the project, which came to power in 2008 and said, “PPP government again initiated this project and we are thankful to the then prime minister Raja Parvez who gave sovereign guarantee for this project. But unfortunately, when our tenure came to an end, the next federal government created problems. But after a long discussion, we have now succeeded in convincing them to continue this project.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2019.