KARACHI: For about 10 minutes each, every party leader was allowed to speak his heart out – against the Sindh government, against local governments, against the ruling party and almost everything related.
Despite the nationalists’ call for protests against the new local government law, it was a scene of celebration outside the Karachi Press Club.
As youngsters danced to the tune of Sindhi folk music, the rally participants shouted slogans against the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government.
Wearing red caps and holding placards inscribed with anti-government slogans, the protesters, men, women and children, staged a sit-in in front of the press club.
A sea of red flags of different Sindhi nationalist parties filled the roads from Karachi Press Club to Fawara Chowk and from Arts Council to Zainab Market.
The protest call was given by the Sindh Bachayo Committee (Save Sindh Committee). Different political parties, including Awami Tahreek, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Jeay Sindh Tehreek, Sindh Tarraqi Pasand Party, Sindh United Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Jamaat-e-Islami, joined in.
And almost every leader of the party vented his anger against the government for passing the Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance 2012.
Jalal Mehmood Shah, the Save Sindh Movement convenor; Dr Qadir Magsi of Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party; Dr Safdar Sarki of Jeay Sindh Tehreek; Sanan Qureshi of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Saleem Zia of the Nawaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League; Masroor Jatoi of National Peoples Party; and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Asadullah Bhutto were among those who spoke.
Sindh is our motherland and no one would let the PPP and its coalition partner to divide it, said Dr Qadir Magsi. Criticising the ruling party and its leadership, he said that people of Sindh should not expect good things from the PPP any more.
“We cannot sit with them [PPP]. They have issued the death warrant of people of Sindh in the shape of the local government system,” the nationalist leader said referring to the offer of negotiations on the matter by the ruling party.
Dr Qadir Magsi also suggested calling for a province-wide strike on October 15 to spoil the PPP’s plan to hold a public gathering in Hyderabad in support of the newly passed law.
An emotional Nusrat Seher Abbasi repeatedly shouted the slogan of her party’s former spiritual leader late Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi (Pir Pagara VI), “Watan ya kafan, azaadi ya maut” (country or shroud, independence or death). “At the time of legislation, we cried a lot but they did not pay attention to us and passed the law within four to five minutes,” she alleged.
In his speech, Jalal Mehmood Shah announced an “unending” struggle against the new local government system and termed the rally a referendum against the system. “This large gathering proves that people of Sindh will not accept the black law, which has been imposed in the province at gunpoint,” he said.
The nationalist leader reiterated that rallies, hunger strikes and all other protests will go on in the province until the law is withdrawn.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2012.