KARACHI - Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Farooq Sattar said on Friday that his party would launch a campaign for creation of 20 administrative units in the country if powers are not devolved to elected representatives of local governments.

Speaking at his party’s first show of power after parting ways with party founder Altaf Hussain over his anti-state slogans on August 22, Sattar said that people of Karachi had endorsed their decision of August 22 by coming to the public meeting in large numbers.

“This public gathering is for the policy defined after August 22 and a high turnout inside and outside the Nishtar Park is a proof that people of Karachi are associated with the MQM-Pakistan,” he said.

On this occasion, MQM coordination committee members and Sattar stood on the stage and joined hands as a gesture of unity. Paying tribute to the people of Karachi for their participation in the party meeting, Sattar said that people of Karachi had given their decision that they were with the MQM-P and they would remain affiliated with the party in future. He claimed that party’s public show was one of the biggest in the political history of the country and challenged the opponents to hold a similar public gathering. He said that rulers had been neglecting Karachi for long and the time had come that power should be transferred to stakeholder of the city.

“I pay tribute to the people of various rural areas of the Sindh province who supported the MQM-Pakistan and stood by the truth,” Sattar said. He announced that his party would hold a massive public gathering in January next year in Hyderabad. If possible, he said, the party would also hold a public gathering at Jinnah Park adjacent to Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum on March 23.

Sattar demanded that the federal government take notice of victimisation of the party and form a commission to probe the “extrajudicial killings” of MQM workers.

He demanded that whereabouts of the missing MQM-P workers should be disclosed and trial of the workers, whose cases had been pending for years, should be expedited.

Addressing public gathering, MQM-P coordination committee member Khalid Maqbool Siddiuqi said, “We are the people who sacrificed their lives for creation of Pakistan, but it is unfortunate that today we are being ill-treated. We are not allowed to run our political affairs and it was not possible even to hold a public gathering.”

Without naming the MQM-London leadership, Siddiqui said that time had changed and “we cannot present ourselves for sacrifice anymore to facilitate a group sitting aboard to decide our destiny. We believe in progress and prosperity of the county and are ready to play our role in this regard.”

“We are not the people who left the party and went abroad in difficult times,” said MQM-P senior leader and deputy convener Amir Khan.

Criticising the MQM-London leadership, he said, “We are not going to migrate anymore. The MQM-Pakistan will clean-sweep the national and provincial constituencies of urban regions of Sindh in the next general elections,” Khan said. He said that wrong policies of the leaders sitting aboard were key reason for the destruction of the party. He said that many of the leaders, including former federal minister for ports and shipping Babar Khan Ghauri, were involved in massive corruption.

He said that MQM-London leader Wasay Jalil was labelling people as traitors on social media. He said that now the MQM could not be operated from aboard. On the occasion, Khan announced that he would quit as deputy convener of the MQM-P on August 22, 2018 so that some other leader of the party could take over the position.

Speaking on the occasion, MQM-P coordination committee member Faisal Sabzwari said that today’s gathering was big enough to prove that Karachi was united under the banner of Muttahida-Pakistan. He said that after the announcement of the MQM-P public gathering anti-party elements were seen trying to dent the event but the peaceful people of Karachi had given their verdict in support of the MQM-P. He said that elements hatching conspiracies against the MQM-P should remember that they would meet their fate one day. He said the MQM was and it would remain untied despite conspiracies of outside elements and immature friends inside.

Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, addressing the gathering, reiterated the demand for devolution of powers to local governments. He said that despite difficulties the elected representatives were working for betterment of the city. The country's policy makers should end victimisation of the MQM, he said. He demanded that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announce a special package for the port city.

MQM leaders also spoke on the occasion and speeches were also made in regional languages.

Meanwhile, the environment at Nishtar Park was quite lively and jubilant as thousands of workers and supporters reached the venue to express their solidarity with the MQM-Pakistan led by Sattar. The participants were carrying national and party flags and raising slogans like “Pakistan Zindabad” and “Jeeway Jeeway Pakistan”.

Besides a big number of Urdu-speaking people, the emotionally charged crowd had people from all ethnic groups.

A group of workers affiliated with the MQM-London also entered Nishtar Park and chanted slogans in favour of MQM founder Altaf Hussain. The situation remained under control as MQM-P workers started raising pro-Pakistan slogans. The event concluded with fireworks.