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Protests against Sindh LG law escalate with MQM sit-in announcement

Joint opposition rally causes massive traffic jam

SAMAA | and - Posted: Jan 15, 2022 | Last Updated: 1 week ago
SAMAA | and
Posted: Jan 15, 2022 | Last Updated: 1 week ago

The protest against the Sindh Local Government Act 2021 passed by the Sindh Assembly in December escalated on Saturday with joint opposition staging a huge rally near the Karachi Press Club.

The joint rally by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Grand Democratic Alliance drew a large crowd that gathered at the Fawara Chowk near the Karachi Press Club.

MQM leader Amir Khan announced that his party would also stage a sit-in against the controversial LG law. Participant of the rally would not return from here, he said addressing the rally.

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has already staged a sit-in outside the Sindh Assembly. The sit-in entered its 16th day on Saturday and no end was in sight despite the Sindh government and JI holding talks to end the impasse.

Amir Khan claimed that authorities had tried to stop several people from joining the MQM rally on Sunday. People were not allowed to leave their neighbourhood, he said.

MQM’s Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said now their struggle was not limited to the reversal of the LG law and they would also take back the Sindh province from the PPP.

PTI’s Federal Minister Ali Zaidi announced he would start a march from Ghokti to Karachi on February 27, the same day Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would begin his march on Islamabad from Karachi.

Ultimatum to shut down major cities

Amir Khan and Ali Zaidi issued an ultimatum to the Sindh government saying that if the controversial local bodies law was not withdrawn in one week the joint opposition would shut down major Sindh cities, including Larkana, Dadu, Mirpur Khas, Hyderabad and Karachi.

The warning comes as the JI prepares to expand its protest in Karachi.

Karachi JI Amir Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, who is leading the sit-in, said that the JI would hold a protest at the Sharae Faisal, the main artery of the city, on Sunday.

He said the JI had communicated its demands to the Sindh government and if no meaningful response is seen from the government the party would announce its next plan of action on Sunday.

Traffic woes

The joint opposition rally, meanwhile, caused a massive traffic jam in and around the Saddar area. Commuters returning homes were stuck in the traffic.

The traffic jam affected a large area and several roads. M.A. Jinnah Road was choked while roads in areas such as Guru Mandir and Delhi Colony had also clogged up.

PHOTO Abdul Moiz Malik

Sindh government response

Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani has said that political parties who supported the mini-budget were trying to distract the masses from the real issue of inflation by staging a protest against the local government law.

Ghani accused the MQM and JI of propagating hatred through the banners they have displayed across the city.

He said the parties who were protesting against the LG law had not uttered a single word against the gas shortage in Karachi.

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Joint opposition protest, MQM protest, Karachi protest, Sindh LG law protests, JI protest, MQM sit in,
 

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