Rejecting the results of the 2017 census, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) chief Dr Farooq Sattar demanded on Sunday that a fresh census be conducted that showed the “actual population” of Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh.
Addressing a large gathering of party activists and supporters at the Liaquatabad flyover in Karachi, he said 15 million of the city’s population was missing in the census results. He said the MQM-Pakistan was being deprived of 80,000 votes in the next elections.
The rally was organised against the results of the latest census, which the party claimed depicted the population of Karachi less than what it actually was in a bid to violate rights of the country’s economic hub.
“This sea of people is demanding that census must be carried out again,” he said, presenting a three-point resolution to the workers.
“Today, the people of Karachi are demanding that correct head counts are carried out again to show the actual population of Sindh’s urban areas,” he added.
“Today’s gathering demands law enforcers to recover the missing workers and supporters of MQM-P. We want complete political freedom and our seized offices must be returned to us.”
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The resolution was passed by the charged crowd chanting traditional party slogans and waving party flags.
Sattar said the reason behind showing less population was to damage prevailing ‘cordial environment’ in Karachi.
“The process of rigging the 2018 elections has already begun by counting us less than we actually are… when census is rigged then how can we rely on fresh delimitation of constituencies?”
MQM-Pakistan was a party of educated and implementing its policy of anti-violence, said Sattar. He reiterated the demand of a fair share of taxes collected from Karachi and likened the city’s progress to that of Pakistan.
The party had called off a protest of a similar nature on September 16 after which the party contacted the city authorities seeking permission to hold the rally at Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum.
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The authorities finally allowed the party to hold the rally at Liaquatabad flyover after denying the permission citing the Grand Democratic Alliance’s rally at the Quaid’s mausoleum.
Special arrangements were made separately for male and female supporters at the rally.
A heavy contingent of police was deployed at the venue to avoid any untoward incident while a special plane was also formulated to assure the flow of traffic in the area.
Several other MQM-P leaders addressed the gathering before the party chief.
Khawaja Izharul Hasan, while referring to MQM-P leaders joining the Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), said those ‘taking wickets’ were conspiring to weaken their own home. He warned the opponents to refrain from creating groupings and divisions in the party, saying people of Karachi will only vote for Kite – the electoral symbol of MQM.
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Faisal Sabzwari said by showing only half of the actual population in Karachi, children’s rights and funds for education and other necessities has also been halved.
Lambasting rival parties, he said if any party cannot stand with the people of Karachi then it had no right to do politics in the city. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was busy in looting Karachi and by not giving it back its due share, was committing atrocities in the Sindh capital, he said.
Pointing at the crowd, Sabzwari said if the census team was present at today’s rally, it would have added several million people in the census results just by looking at this massive gathering.
Declaring the rally a success, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar said the whole Sindh and Pakistan was concerned about the census results not just the Karachi. He lashed out at political rivals for allegedly attempting to stop MQM-P supporters from attending the rally through mobs in various areas of the city.
Akhtar said political parties were made by winning hearts not through threats and gathering thugs.