City Council Session

PPP, MQM split in City Council over resignation

By Jamil Khan | KARACHI

THE City Council members were divided on Wednesday when treasury members of the MQM showed their complete support for former president Pervez Musharraf and the Opposition benches, including the supporters of the PPP, Jamaat-e-Islami, ANP and others, condemned his eight-year rule and even demanded the gallows for him.

The session was presided over by City Naib Nazim Nasreen Jalil and had to discuss agenda No 32 but not a single point from the already open agenda or from the supplementary agenda was brought to the floor of the House.

The Opposition members condemned Musharraf’s rule and asked the convenor to allow the House to discuss it as members from both benches would be able to give their points of view.

The speech was opened by the Opposition leader and group head of the Awam Dost of the PPP, Saeed Ghani, who said that every segment of life, including the general public, representatives of civil society, doctors, lawyers, MNAs, MPAs and others had welcomed the resignation and the House should adopt a resolution to join hands with them.

“The Musharraf’s regime was one of the worst periods in the history of Pakistan and introduced suicide bombers because of his policies,” he said. “He did not willingly resign but when he knew that no one was ready to show him support, he resigned from the post which he grabbed illegally.” All those who supported Musharraf should feel sorry as he sabotaged the constitution twice and he should be hanged for it.

Ghani had also referred the Charter of Democracy (COD) signed between the PPP and PML-N and appreciated Asif Ali Zardari for what he said was sustaining unity in the party ranks especially after the death of Benazir Bhutto when the integrity of Pakistan was in danger.

The leader of the House, Asif Siddiqi, admired in his speech the leader of the MQM, Altaf Hussain, and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari for resolving a core issue with what he referred to as their wisdom. “But we should not forget the former president who willingly presented his resignation to save the country from further anarchy,” he said.

He said that their party, the MQM, was allies of Musharraf in his eight-year rule and they had supported all his policies and would continue in future. “We do not feel sorry to say this. History will clear his decision to resign as right or wrong and his name will be written in history in gold letters,” he mentioned.

The MQM will also support the current government to devise policies to eradicate inflation, unemployment, law and order problems and fundamentalism, he said. Siddiqi had also referred the impeachment movement as a conspiracy by those who wanted to create conflict between the allied parties but it had been foiled by Altaf Hussain.

The debate entered into an exchange of allegations as one of the opposition member asked the treasury benches to accept the loss of human lives during Musharraf’s regime, including the killing Akbar Bugti, the students at Lal Masjid and action in the tribal areas.

“The operation of Lal Masjid was not only supported by the MQM but also by PPP late chairperson Benazir Bhutto. The current operation in different parts of the NWFP is a continuation of such policies against creating a state within a state,” said Arshid Qureshi of the Treasury. He mentioned that the Jamaat-e-Islami had supported the 17th Amendment besides the LFO and they should own up to this.

Ghani, while clearing them of this blame, said that it was true that the PPP’s late chairperson Benazir Bhutto had supported this but not the killing of hundreds of students in an armed operation. The topic was closed by Jalil saying that both leaders, Altaf Hussain and Asif Zardari, had shown extraordinary political wisdom.

UCs not paid salaries yet: Sulman Mujahid Baloch of the Treasury benches raised the delay in salary payments. “Even though, half of the month has passed, not a single union council has received its monthly share from the provincial government,” said Baloch.

He also pointed out that the House had already passed a resolution, directing provincial governments to release the union council cheques before the end of each month, but so far, the resolution had not been implemented. Juman Darwan of the opposition benches said that the Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani had approved Rs 200,000 for each union council of Karachi and also presented a copy of the letter sent to the District Coordination Officer on Aug 6, 2008.

“The affairs of the union councils are being hindered, as neither the city government nor the town administrations, are cooperating with the UCs, especially in financial matters,” said Darwan, claiming that the masses had deemed the current local government system a failure and were demanding its abolishment.

Javed Jadoon suggested the establishment of price control committees to maintain prices of commodities, especially in the month of Ramazan. Abdul Razzaq of the Opposition brought the council’s attention to the harassment of owners of roadside stalls and cafes by armed men, demanding the closure of their businesses. The convener, Nasreen Jalil, adjourned the session till August 28 (Thursday) at 4:30 p.m.

-Published in Daily Times | Aug 21, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on October 7, 2008.

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