PPP stole MQM-P mandate during LG elections: Wasim Akhtar

Former Karachi mayor accuses provincial ruling party of violating their agreement

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader and former Karachi mayor Wasim Akhtar on Monday accused the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of violating their agreement and “stealing” his party’s mandate during the first phase of Sindh’s local government elections.

The ruling PPP in Sindh and the MQM-P had signed a deal in March this year against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government, with the former assuring the latter of meeting all its years-old demands if it supported the opposition alliance to oust the then ruling government through a no-confidence motion, which eventually succeeded.

The demands of the MQM-P agreed upon under the deal range from municipal government structure to future power-sharing formula and recruitment policy in Sindh to local policing system.

The first point of the agreement named the ‘Charter of Rights’ was directly related to the Sindh local government, in which the two sides had agreed that the decision of the Supreme Court regarding local governments in a constitutional petition filed by the MQM-P would be “implemented in letter and spirit within one month and with the mutual agreement”.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, Wasim Akhtar recalled that his party’s agreement with the PPP “categorically” said that both sides would accept and protect each other’s mandate.

“This is one of the core points that were violated by the Sindh government in LG elections in 14 districts,” he lamented.

Wasim claimed that in several areas of MQM-P candidates were in lead with a “good margin” but the results had been withheld. “Our mandate has not been accepted.”

He urged Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to hold a meeting with the Election Commission of Pakistan and review delimitations.

The MQM-P leader said the ECP would be responsible if elections were held in a similar way in Karachi and Hyderabad “with no government in sight to stop electoral mismanagement and robbing of mandate”. Polling for the second phase of the LG election in the two cities will be held on July 24.

Wasim also urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to look into the matter, regretting that “Karachi has been counted as half [its actual size in census] and there can be no greater injustice than this”.

It is pertinent to mention here that the prime minister on Saturday agreed to a proposal of the MQM-P that sought a committee comprising its members as well those from the PML-N to look into the execution and progress on the terms agreed upon by the two sides before coming into power.

Criticising the ECP, Wasim warned of “severe mismanagement and chaos” in the general elections of 2023 if the election watchdog did not take “timely measures” to address the problems arising in local government elections.

He said his party had exhausted all the options to get Karachi its due rights. “Should we now approach Russia and China to urge them to resolve our issues?” the former mayor asked.

He said he trusted the words of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wherein he had assured the MQM-P of resolving its issues. “Then why is the implementation of the commitment being delayed,” he wondered.

Hanif Samoon is a senior journalist based at Thar/Badin and contributes reports from different districts of Sindh to Minute Mirror. He has won a number of awards, including the Agahi Award twice for his stories on health and child rights. He tweets @HanifSamoon1 and can be reached through email at hanifsamoon@gmail.com

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