The government needs to pay attention to people calling for provincial status for their regions, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Altaf Hussain said on Sunday. “The formation of Seraikistan will not weaken the country,” he said.
He was addressing a massive crowd on the occasion of the Yaume Yakjahti or the Day of Unity at the Jinnah Ground in Federal B Area, close to the party’s headquarters.
Warning the country’s elite of a “revolution in the making just like one being witnessed in Egypt”, Altaf Hussain told the feudal lords to beware of an upheaval brewing “right in front of their eyes”.
Hussain went on to urge the “men in uniform” to support the people “who will embrace them fervently if they supported them”, otherwise they would face the same fate awaiting the feudals and landowners.
“People ask me what does revolution mean? My response to them is simple: revolution is what we are seeing in this ground today (people of various ethnicities from across the country gathered under a common banner). This is a revolution in itself,” Hussain told the chanting crowd.
He said that such a large number of people “can never be gathered at gunpoint”, adding that even if his party had arms, it would not have had enough of them to “fill the ground to its capacity”.
“MQM does have arms, but its guns, rocket launchers and cannons do not kill because their ammunition is peace. We want peace and unity in the country.”
Ridiculing people who constantly talk about democracy in the country, he said the constitution of the assemblies have essentially remained unchanged since the country’s inception. “The same feudal keep occupying the assembly seats…and now their children have come to loot
Stressing the need for forging national unity, Hussain said that “this feeling has evaded us since independence”.
In his hour-long speech, Hussain dwelled on various issues, like comparing the US diplomats’ status with that of Aafia Siddiqui to minorities’ rights to a revolution against looters and the corrupt.
Highlighting the importance of merit, Hussain said that no one was above anyone else because of his skin colour, social status, cast, sect, religious beliefs or geographical area.
He urged the Urdu-speaking community to “tell Pakhtun, Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi communities and people beolonging to minorities that they are your big brothers and you are their younger brothers”.
“The aim is to spread peace and unity and our efforts (of reaching out to all ethnicities) should be preserved and protected.”
Urging feudal landlords to mend their ways and stop torturing the poor, he said that the day “is not far when the man on the street will wring their necks”.
“People who loot and plunder will be publicly hanged,” he proclaimed.
“I did not care for landlords before, and I do not care for them now,” he said. “Beware,” he warned, “Altaf Hussain is here to bring a revolution.”
Highlighting his party’s political ambitions, he said MQM is “built upon democracy, using socialism for bricks and controlled privatisation and capitalism are its decor”.
Referring to the Lahore incident in which a US diplomat’s rampage had resulted in the death of three people, he said, Pakistan should not succumb to American pressure, adding that it should “demand respect and command equal standing”.
On the fiscal front, he said: “Spending on protocol needs to be controlled, as do ludicrous expenses made by bureaucrats, otherwise no one will be able to stop a revolution which will sweep everything away.”
Among those who addressed the gathering before Hussain spoke from London on phone was minister Nadia Gabol who addressed the crowd in Balochi. She said that while people preached of providing ‘roti, kapra and makan’, who would give the people other essential necessities like ‘gas, water and electricity’.
Deputy convenor of MQM’s Rabita Committee and MNA Dr Farooq Sattar praised the solidarity showed by youth at the Jinnah Ground and quoted a verse: “Hum dushman ko bhi pakeeza saza daitay hain. Haath uthatay nahin, nazroon se gira daitay hain.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2011.
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