KARACHI: Following months of rift, leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Bahadurabad and PIB factions on Saturday held a joint rally in the Liaquatabad area of the metropolis, coming down hard on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) for trying to ‘damage the MQM’s vote bank’.
“No matter the hardships, struggles, differences, our vote bank and our support base will stay the same,” MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar said while addressing the rally at Tanki Ground.
He also said that despite the hardships and differences, the party was united.
Criticising the Bilawal-led PPP, Sattar said the people of Sindh were trapped in a vicious “wheel of cruelty”. “It is not just the Muhajirs, or the Urdu-speaking. It is the people of Sindh, everyone is trapped in this wheel of PPP’s cruelty,” he said.
It merits mention here that both the factions of MQM-P on Wednesday had announced to hold public gatherings in reaction to a rally by the PPP at the stronghold of the MQM-P in the city last week.
“I would not call those who left the party traitors,” Sattar said during his address and claimed that more would return to the party than those who left it.
“I promised to build the party on non-violence. I promised we will make an educated party,” concluded Sattar while also calling on the masses to reject the feudal system.
MQM-P Bahadurabad leader Khalid Maqbool expressing gratitude to the participants of the rally said Liaquatabad had once again saved the MQM and proved that it remained the centre of struggle against dictatorship.
“We are united! We have one vision, one direction,” he asserted.
“Today, I want to question all [four]pillars of the state, what are Muhajirs being punished for?” he questioned.
Slamming the PPP, Maqbool said PPP only spread hate in its rally at Liaquatabad last week.
“We are Mustaqil Qaumi Musibat for you, [but]we are Mustaqil Qaumi Mohabbat for those you have left helpless in Sindh,” he added.
He further said that the MQM-P rally was not meant to announce any manifesto, but was an attempt by the party leaders to “express their emotions”.
MQM-P member and Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar, lambasting PPP, said the party had ruined Sindh during its decades-long rule and was now out to destroy the port city as well.
“Bilawal is still learning, he doesn’t know the facts,” Akhtar said about the PPP chairman.
“He [Bilawal] is being fed dreams of becoming a future minister,” the mayor continued.
Amir Khan, at the occasion, said he was a Muhajir and would always be a Muhajir. “Sindhi, Balochi, Pakhtuns, all are present at the rally today,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kamran Tessori, who was being considered the bone of contention between the two factions prior to the Senate elections, attended the rally as an ordinary member.
On Sunday, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had vowed to liberate the citizens of Karachi from the “clutches of the MQM”, saying that the party’s support in the city had been stopped by force during PPP’s rule.
Addressing a rally in the city’s Liaquatabad neighbourhood, a traditional MQM stronghold, the PPP chief had said his party freed the people of the city “from the man running the city from London”.
He had also said the PPP would liberate the residents from the clutches of every faction of “Mustaqil Qaumi Museebat” (permanent national problem), referring to the MQM.