In a hurried press conference held at Khursheed Begum Secretariat on Wednesday afternoon, Dr Sattar pointed out how the rain had turned the city upside down.
This is the result of mismanagement while the city was already facing a severe crisis of water, electricity and transportation, he said. He was joined by Rabita Committee members Zahid Mansoori, Aslam Afridi, Shabbir Qaimkhani and Arif Khan Advocate in what he called was an ‘SOS call’.
Dr Sattar believed the blame lies in the failure of the government to grant rights to local government representatives. The provincial government has stolen these rights, he said, adding the federal government is also complicit by staying silent over the issue.
He questioned the need to induct ex-servicemen in the police force and suggested hiring Karachi’s unemployed youth to meet the policing needs of the city. Appointments must be made strictly on merit, he said, urging the authorities develop local mechanisms for policing.
The MQM leader asked all stakeholders to listen to their demands. If they are not heard then it will lead to destruction, he warned, before urging the people of the city to stay united.
“The window of opportunity is closing fast and even if the situation [in Karachi] is attended to now, it can be reversed,” said Dr Sattar, adding that once time has passed, the situation will become unmanageable as people’s grievances could not be addressed.
Karachi: the step-child
The MQM leader felt Karachi was being treated as a step-child and not being given the proper care and attention it deserves. A sense of insecurity, deprivation and alienation is rising among Karachi-ites, he claimed, adding that the MQM can always feel the pulse of the people, who are getting increasingly frustrated by institutions claiming that ‘everything is fine’.
On the operation against criminals in Karachi, Dr Sattar pointed out that it began with MQM’s consent to target criminals and terrorism yet it had not yielded much success. According to him, street crimes are still on the rise even after almost three years of the operation. Many MQM workers were still missing and many became victims to state torture, he added.
The peace and stability of the city is also being harmed in a systematic manner, which was evident through the kidnapping of Ovais Ali Shah, the son of Sindh High Court chief justice, and the murder of qawwal Amjad Sabri. Dr Sattar mentioned that attempts were being made to implicate MQM in Sabri’s killing but he denied all such accusations.
Following the press conference, MQM’s mayor-nominee Wasim Akhtar visited nearby areas to asses the rain damages.