- MQM-P and PPP trade barbs over Karachi’s issues.
- CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah says worked to best of abilities.
- MQM-P’s Izaharul Hassan rejects PPP’s claims of serving.
KARACHI: The coalition partners in the federal government — MQM-P and PPP — were at loggerheads Wednesday after heavy rainfall in the port city brought the metropolis to a standstill.
The monsoon rains’ first spell killed at least 29 people in Karachi from July 4-11 and inundated the city’s roads, with more “vigorous monsoon activity” expected in the port city from July 14-17.
Due to the loss of lives and property, people criticised the provincial government and, as a result, the PPP’s partner in the Centre, MQM-P also took it to task over the situation that arose in the aftermath of the rains.
Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, addressing a press conference in Karachi along with ministers and PPP leaders, rejected the criticism, saying that the provincial government “managed the situation in the best way it could”.
“If a short spell of torrential rain occurs, then problems arise. If intermittent rains take place throughout the month, then water will not accumulate on the streets. When heavy rainfall occurs in a short period of time, it causes issues,” he said.
The chief minister said that this year, the district west of the city recorded 232 millimetres of rain, while within three hours, the city registered a record 127 millimetres of rain.
Shah, who is a PPP stalwart, said that during the rains in Karachi, political parties resorted to the “blame game” and he claimed that the Sindh government officials were in Karachi during the time — not elsewhere.
“People blaming the officials for not being in Karachi should name the officials who were not present here,” CM Sindh said while slamming the Opposition parties.
Taking a swipe at the PTI, the chief minister said that 14 members of the National Assembly (MNAs) from the party were only confined to “TV screens”.
The chief minister further stated: “I am saying this with full surety: On July 10, water was not accumulated anywhere in the city.” At Nagan Chowrangi, the water was cleared within two hours.
In 2007, 228 people died when 140mm of rainfall occurred, while in 2009, 50 people passed away in rain-related incidents when 200mm of rainfall took place.
“It saddens me when this matter is linked with ethnicity. Yes, I went to my village but I returned at night,” CM Shah said.
‘Not based on reality’
In response to their coalition partner in the Centre, the MQM-P rejected PPP’s claims of serving the city during the rains and said the statements issued by the provincial government did not align with the on-the-ground situation.
“The role that the chief minister claims to have played is not based on reality,” MQM-P leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan said in a press conference at the party’s office in Bahadurabad.
Hassan, defending the MQM-P, said it had struck an agreement with PPP for the betterment of Karachi, but it caused “pain” to some people.
He was referring to the lengthy agreement that the parties reached when the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) sought the MQM-P’s support to remove then-prime minister Imran Khan from power in March.
Hassan then said that he was “awe-struck” to see the situation in posh areas like the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), where the water levels were extremely high.
The MQM-P leader stressed that once the city’s administrative structure is revamped, things will gradually improve as currently, the country was acting like a “banana republic”.
He said that the chief minister can and should give examples of London, but at the same time, he must grant the same powers to the mayor of the cities in his province.
“The people of Karachi are still at a loss as to who will pick up their trash. In rains, the situation of DHA was even worse than New Karachi,” Hassan said.