PTI Karachi Organizer expresses strong reservations over Grievance Redressal Committee

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Karachi, Pakistan – October 21, 2015 –PTI Karachi Organizer Ali Zaidi expressed strong reservations and concerns over the formation of the Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) by the federal government.

“MQM’s claims that a few hundred of their workers are missing or been victims of extrajudicial killings during the recent Karachi operations conducted by the Pakistan Rangers and police. MQM demands that their grievances be heard, but what about the grievances of the families of the nearly 15,000 Karachiites killed since 2007? Who will hear their pleas for justice? The law enforcement agencies claim that Rs. 3 billion a month is being expropriated from the people and businesses of Karachi due to various criminal activities, who will hear their grievance? Who will hear the grievance of the daily wage earner who has suffered economic loss on account of numerous shutdowns by the MQM? There has been a flight of capital from Karachi due to the political unrest of the last 3 decades which has adversely impacted this city’s economic growth and job creation, who will hear this complaint? The families of the 300 killed in the Baldia Town factory fire have been waiting 3 years for justice to be done, but who will hear their grievance? Victims of property encroachment and conversion of parks into plots that are distributed only to workers of particular political parties, where do they go to complain? Who will hear the grievance of those who become ill due to the lack of cleanliness and clean drinking water in this city? What about the theft of taxpayers’ money by people employed in local government departments/agencies and corporations due to political affiliation who do not come to work or do their jobs diligently but still collect a paycheque, who will hear this grievance.”

Mr. Zaidi pointed out that the environment in Karachi has changed significantly for the better and that the current report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan supports this as there is a 63% year-on-year (YoY) and 28% YoY drop in target killings and sectarian killings respectively. The drop in crime along with the absence of regular shutdowns has reduced the fear factor among the people of Karachi. Given these successes of the current operations, do we want to go back to the dark ages? By establishing this grievance committee, is the government trying to undermine the efforts and achievements of our law enforcement agencies? If we decide to tie the hands of our law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to limit their effectiveness in tackling crime and the situation starts getting worse, who will hear that grievance?

PTI Karachi Organizer further stated, “We reject the formation of a Grievance Redressal Committee. If a committee had to be formed to redress grievances is supposed to carry out their task objectively, then why is a Senator from MQM (Farogh Naseem) the only member? Justice demands from the PMLN that such a committee must include all aggrieved parties, most importantly the family members of the victims of Karachi violence, representatives of Law Enforcement Agencies and other political parties active in Karachi. The grievances heard by the committee shouldn’t be one-sided just against the LEAs by the MQM but must be a two-way street, where grievances AGAINST the MQM should also be heard. The government should also state for the public record if this GRC supersedes the court system or not.”

“Another major concern that we have is the sharing of sensitive information given the allegations of a nexus between RAW and MQM. As we all know, the government has been recently active sharing dossiers of RAW involvement in destabilization of Pakistan on the occasion of the UN General Assembly and even in this current tour, the Foreign Office plans to share the official documents. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has also stated the other day that RAW is involved in terrorism in Pakistan, particularly in Baluchistan. It’s only been a week since Scotland Yard has shared evidence of RAW funding to MQM. Given this context of allegations/evidence against RAW, as an honorable citizen of Pakistan and as a representative of the largest opposition party, how has the government negotiated a deal with a party who has allegedly been received funds/training from RAW? After receiving evidence from Scotland Yard, I want to know why there is complete silence from the Interior Ministry. We demand full public disclosure of the information showing possible links between MQM and RAW. If the evidence provided by Scotland Yard is inconclusive/incorrect then state this publicly or otherwise, but how can we tolerate RAW funded parties in our most supreme institution, i.e. assemblies.

Lastly, the interior secretary has been made the secretary of this GRC. We fear that with an MQM member on the committee, this could lead to the leaking of sensitive information regarding the operations which has been successful in restoring relative peace to Karachi.”

The formation of this grievance committee shows PMLN government’s hypocritical attitude. Do they have no respect for the will of Parliament? All parties in the National Assembly decided to give special powers to the law enforcement agencies and if the government decides to take back these powers, this would be strongly opposed by the people of Pakistan.

PTI Karachi Organizer said that the main motivation behind the formation of the GRC by the PMLN was to save its own government. The acceptance of MQM’s resignations would open up a Pandora’s Box that would threaten the Sharif family’s grip on power and its ability to loot and plunder the taxpayers’ money.

Mr. Zaidi said in closing, “PTI Karachi salutes all the law enforcement officers who have laid down their lives and the ones who are still serving the people of Karachi in restoring some semblance of law and order and relative peace in this great city. The upcoming Local Body Election will provide an opportunity to the people of Karachi to choose its leadership. We hope that they will do so judiciously.”

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