Karachi at night, Shutterstock
Karachi at night. It is the largest city in Pakistan and the engine of the country's economy. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Karachi: Opposition political parties in Sindh have given a one-week ultimatum to the provincial government to withdraw a controversial local government law saying they will otherwise be compelled to stage protests all over the province and block all its highways.

The warning was issued as the three main opposition political parties in Sindh -Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), and Grand Democratic Alliance - joined forces and staged a big protest demonstration in downtown Karachi.

The demonstration was held against the newly adopted Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Act-2021 that, according to the opposition, has withdrawn whatever powers were available to the Karachi’s elected mayor to develop and govern the city.

The opposition said the next protest demonstration will be held at Teen Talwar roundabout in Clifton (a famous road monument in Karachi) and outside nearby Bilawal House that is the residence of the leadership of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.

Speaking to the protestors, the opposition politicians vowed to continue with their struggle against ‘bad governance’ in Sindh saying they are ready to face arbitrary arrests and political ‘victimisation’ at the hands of the rulers in the province.

Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Zaidi, who was one of the prominent politicians who attended the demonstration in his capacity as the President of Sindh chapter of PTI, appealed to the residents of Karachi to take to the streets to pressurise the Sindh government to fulfil their fundamental rights in accordance with the Constitution.

The Federal Minister said the Sindh government had no choice but to transform Karachi to meet the standards of the global cities for improving Pakistan’s economy.

He said the local government in the province should be empowered to resolve basic issues of the masses.

Convener of MQM, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, lamented that Karachi massively contributed towards the revenue pool of Pakistan but the provincial capital had been in a deplorable state due to sheer neglect shown by the Sindh government over many years.

The MQM leader warned the people of Karachi were ready to stage protest outside the Chief Minister House for improving living conditions in their city by empowering the municipal agencies in accordance with the Article-140 of the Constitution of Pakistan.