Protest to continue till varsity bill adopted: MQM

Deputy Convener of MQM Dr Farooq Sattar speaks during a press conference at MQM headquarters.— File Photo

Deputy Convener of MQM Dr Farooq Sattar speaks during a press conference at MQM headquarters.— File Photo

KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) vowed on Sunday to continue its protests against what it described as a ‘biased’ statement of the provincial education minister unless the Sindh Assembly adopted a bill to establish a public sector university in Hyderabad.

Pir Mazharul Haq, the senior Sindh minister who also holds the portfolio of education, had said on Saturday that he had resisted a move to establish a public sector university in Hyderabad and would become ‘an iron wall’ in that regard.

As expected, the statement drew sharp reaction from the MQM as its coordination committee said in a statement that the education minister had laid the ‘foundation of a division of Sindh’ by giving the statement.

However, MQM chief Altaf Hussain condemned the statement, but said that he had been against the division of Sindh in the past, and ‘we do not want Sindh to be divided even today’.

No demonstration was held in any part of Sindh when the Pakistan People’s Party repealed the Sindh People’s Local Government Act, 2012, but the MQM took no time in announcing province-wide protest demonstrations against Pir Mazhar’s statement.

On Sunday afternoon, a large number of MQM workers, including women and students, gathered in front of the Karachi Press Club to hold a protest demonstration against the education minister’s statement.

Carrying placards and banners, the participants shouted slogans against the statement and the Pakistan People’s Party government for failing to promote education in the province.

Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar said the education minister’s biased and ‘anti-Sindh and anti-Pakistan’ statement had unmasked the real face of the PPP.

He said that such a biased attitude might lead to a division of Sindh and if the PPP was serious in foiling the plot to divide Sindh, it should table and pass a bill in the Sindh Assembly to establish a public sector university in Hyderabad.

He warned that if such a bill was not tabled in the house, ‘hundreds of thousands’ of protesters would march on the Sindh Assembly and ‘force the politicians sowing the seeds of hatred’ to establish Hyderabad university.

If the PPP failed to do so, Dr Sattar said the MQM would table the bill in the provincial assembly.

Referring to the establishment of a public university in Lyari, he said: “We have embraced the people of Lyari for the sake of education, but it appears that the PPP leaders wanted to push Sindh and the country into an era of ignorance.”

The participants of the protest raised their hands to support a resolution read by Dr Sattar about forcing the Sindh Assembly to pass a bill to establish the Hyderabad university.

Meanwhile, in a statement released from London, the MQM chief paid tribute to the people of the urban and rural Sindh for carrying out joint protests against the statement of the education minister.

He said that by their peaceful protests, the people of Sindh had shown that the conspiracies to pit the urban and rural populace against each other would not succeed.

He said Sindh would not be divided and misunderstandings between the people of urban and rural Sindh would die down.

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