MQM-Pakistan boycotted local government elections in Karachi and Hyderabad citing their concerns over delimitiations.
The party lobbied for Sunday’s local body polls in Karachi and Hyderabad divisions to be postponed until the issue of delimitations is settled.
It also managed to get the PPP to do its part to delay the polls yet Election Commission of Pakistan stuck to its decision, in accordance with the constitution and law, and needs to be commended.
MQM-Pakistan has significance presence in urban areas of Sindh especially Karachi and Hyderabad and its decision to stay away from local government elections is unfortunate which would also have disappointed their supporters.
The party might have some genuine concerns regarding the delimitations but these should have been raised at an appropriate time well before announcement of the election schedule.
Raising hue and cry at the last moment only gives impression that the party is not prepared and trying to escape from elections.
Participating in the elections with its reservations would have sent a positive message to the people and supporters of MQM.
Anyway history is a testimony to the fact that our political parties have always avoided local government elections that has its own significance to strengthen democracy at grassroots level.
It is only through this system that problems of people can be addressed at local level given the fact that these elected representatives are more accessible to people.
Many leaders including Mustafa Kamal of MQM-P also emerged from this system. Hence it is important to strengthen and transfer powers to local bodies to bring a real change in the lives of common man.
The plethora of problems such as that of water, sanitation and sewerage faced by Karachi today can only be well addressed by a fully empowered Mayor and we hope that the PPP’s provincial government in Sindh will play its part in this regard.
The merger of various MQM groups is a welcome development. There are many big and good names in the party and together they can better serve Karachi yet for that to happen they really have to work hard and further improve their image in the eyes of people.