Kamal launches ‘Pak Sarzameen Party’

WEB DESK:Calling for a Balochistan-style rehabilitation-backed amnesty for the deviated youth of Karachi and Hyderabad, MQM dissident Mustafa Kamal Wednesday conceded to have some common ground with the all-powerful military establishment in his demand for introducing a presidential form of government in the country.

Launching his much-awaited flagless Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) here, the former Karachi Mayor’s statement, political analysts believe, is likely to fall heavily on the corridors of power in Islamabad where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is ruling the country through deriving his constitutional powers from the prevalent parliamentary form of government.

In presidential form of democracy, like the United States, the president happens to be the center of power wielding a final veto power over any controversial decision made by the parliament. “Debate and not animosity is our (party) agenda,” said Kamal who was flanked on the stage by PSP leaders like Anis Qaimkhani, Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Raza Haroon, Wasim Aftab, Iftikhar Alam and Anis Advocate.

Wasim Aftab, on the sidelines, claimed to have received “thousands of” applications for party membership, as Kamal declared “respecting” PSP’s political opponents as a prerequisite for the aspirants. The MQM dissident outlined four major points of his party’s “comprehensive manifesto” which, he said, was under preparation by a large team of country’s intellectuals and thinkers who had contacted him after his arrival. Desirous to grab no government or party positions, his party, Kamal said, would be working towards inculcating sense of patriotism to unite the deeply-divided people of Pakistan, introducing a “purely devolved local government system” and the long-neglected but moist-needed National Urban Plan (NUP).

“Demanding a presidential form of government is deemed to be an Establishment line,” Kamal told the packed hall with his supporters, male and female, holding Pakistani flags and chanting “Pakistan Zindaabad”. For last 65 years, he argued, the military establishment was pursuing as its top agenda freeing the occupied Kashmir from India and yet no one on this side of the Line of Control opposed it. “Who launched the Operation Zarb-e-Azb? The Pakistan Army Establishment, of course. And you name a single political party which disowns it (the military crackdown),” he added.

“What is so wrong”, the PSP leader asserted, if he was advocating something good the Establishment too supported. “We have a whole concept (behind it). We are developing a comprehensive plan”. Without naming, Kamal urged those of his “still deviated” MQM fellows to recognise what Wasim Aftab earlier described in his poetry as “demon” and stop weighing right and wrong on the basis of number game and worldly gains.

The PSP leader called upon the power that be to announce a Baluchistan-like “amnesty package” to rehabilitate the youth of Karachi and Hyderabad. “We would have to find some way for them same like we did for Baluchistan militants,” he said. In a veiled reference, he also slammed the MQM’s self-exiled leadership for, allegedly, having converted such youth into deadly “RAW agents”. “We don’t support crimes or criminals but wish to draw your attention toward those who make them ones,” he said.

PSP, which would hold its first public meeting here at Bagh-e-Jinnah on April 24, would going forward work for the implementation of Article 148 of the Constitution which he said envisages a “purely devolved local government system” on a village level. Thanks to lack of such an inclusive grass-root level democratic system, he said the people of Pakistan were yet to develop a kind of ownership towards their country. “The country stands disowned. It is human psyche. People don’t own the decisions made by few dozens people sitting far from their villages in federal or provincial capitals,” he said. He said under the current “centralised way of management” all financial resources are handed to individuals who then made to run from NAB in the name of accountability.

Further, the former city nazim said while about 70 percent people had shifted from rural to urban centers world over, in Pakistan the rulers were still far from devising a National Urban Plan (NUP). The country of 250 million people, he said, direly needed a NUP to expand the existing cities and create more.

But, these infrastructure development goals, he said, would only be achievable when “broken hearts” of the countrymen were healed. “In years ahead, we would commemorate this day (March 23) as a day of patriotism,” Kamal told the cheering audience. Given the present deep-rooted divisions among Pakistanis, the PSP leader said his party would have no official flag. “Party flags are the real bone of contention (in dividing people),” he said and added that “No Constitution bars me from displaying the national flag on our chest”.