The Karachi branch of Jamaat-e-Islami on Sunday announced the extension of the Karachi referendum campaign for three days for another three days.
The party said the decision was made in light of the overwhelming response from Karachi residents who have long faced civil problems and rulers failed to solve their problems.
JI Karachi chairman Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said that after consulting with former Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, who was chairman of the poll commission, it was decided to extend the referendum by three days.
“The referendum-raising will continue until October 21,” Rehman announced, while speaking to the media at the central referendum camp set up by the Public Assistance Committee, the party’s wing for public affairs, near Char Minar Chowrangi in Bahadurabad.
Criticizing Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, head of JI Karachi said if Bilawal was sincere with Karachi “why did he not announce the cancellation of the repressive Local Bodies Act and a proper system for an autonomous city government”.
Rehman also questioned Pakistan Muslim League Vice President-Nawaz Maryam Nawaz that why he did not admit “the mistake of limiting Karachi’s population to half in the 2017 census during the PML-N administration”.
“If Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is sincere with Karachi, why doesn’t Prime Minister Imran Khan revoke the so-called quota system on government jobs and also hold a new population census in the city.”
Criticizing the Qaumi-Pakistan Muttahida Movement, he said that as an allied party in the central government, they also played the role of silent spectators on the Karachi issue. He said the opposition had started holding public meetings across the country but that not a single point was presented in their 26-point agenda in Karachi.
“We are ready to join hands with other political forces in accordance with their sincerity with Karachi and its people,” he said. “This referendum movement is not limited to any party, but in fact, it is the voice of the Karachi people for their long-taken rights.”
He appealed to the people to come forward and bring their views and grievances about the city’s problems before the authorities. He said the Central and provincial governments must understand it is time to give Karachi its rights.
On the occasion, a businessman, Idrees Giggi, said that the business world supports JI and supports the party’s referendum initiative. Lawyer Naeem Qureshi, a well-known leader of the legal fraternity, said the lawyers joined JI and “if we unite we can be successful”.
Public Assistance Committee President Saifuddin Advokat expressed his hope that the Karachi people would no longer be humiliated after the unification of one platform for their rights. The referendum commission commissioner, Nazim F Haji, and his secretary, Najeeb Ayubi, also spoke at the meeting.
The referendum campaign is part of the Karachi Rights Movement which JI launched on September 8 to pressure the government to accept its demands for an authoritative system of local government for Karachi.
On September 27, the party held a rally at Shara-e-Quaideen and marked Yaum-e-Yakjehti Karachi (Karachi Solidarity Day) on October 14 across the country.
Rehman said JI’s demands included establishing an empowered city government, giving Karachi the status of a large city, bringing impartiality to the distribution of resources, starting a transparent population census, introducing an annual quota system for government jobs, setting up fair and independent local bodies. poll after forming 700 union committees, and taking control of K-Electric and immediately starting a forensic audit of the electric entity.
“Karachi residents are deprived of health, education, civic and recreational facilities, and to solve all problems, public pressure is needed,” he said.