KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lost a soft-spoken and dedicated parliamentarian on Thursday when MPA Syed Manzar Imam, his two guards and a driver were gunned down in Orangi Town.
Imam, 43, was a graduate who was married with two children. Hailing from the Orangi Town constituency, PS 95-Karachi VII, Imam became a parliamentarian in the Sindh Assembly after the 2008 elections. This was his first time as a lawmaker.
He was also a member of the standing committees on cooperation, environment and alternate energy, and prisons.
During his time in the assembly, Imam was always very vocal about illegal hydrants and the presence of quacks. “Influential people with the help of the police have illegal connections from the main water lines and they supply it through tankers to different areas,” he had pointed out.
Imam was always soft-spoken but he lost his temper once in February 2011 when he presented a resolution on quacks (or fake doctors). In his speech, he had requested the assembly speaker to ban this practice.
While several law makers are famous for being silent spectators, Imam was not among them. He always raised the issue of his constituency and managed to present nearly 14 resolutions and a private bill during the past four years.
As a party activist
Imam joined the MQM in 1986, two years after its formation. He served as the sector in-charge of Orangi Town for five years, and was always popular among the residents for addressing utility issues, such as load shedding and irregular water supply.
Party leaders recall Imam as a humble worker, one who would speak wisely on issues pertaining to the party, and those affecting the lives of common people. MQM’s parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly, Syed Sardar Ahmed remembers Imam as a pleasant man. “He would stick to the point during his speeches, and would refrain from becoming emotional.”
Former naib nazima Nasreen Jalil also remembers how committed Imam was to the party. “His death is a huge loss for our party.”
Expressing sorrow over the incident, MQM chief Altaf Hussain said that the killing was a conspiracy to destroy peace in Karachi.
Imam’s funeral prayers would be held at noon on Friday today at Jinnah ground. He will be laid to rest at the party’s Shuhada Qabiristan.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2013.