MULTAN: Only the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Pakistan’s military are capable of defending the country, the party’s chief Altaf Hussain said on Friday.
“The MQM praises the statement of Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and his stance on supporting democracy in Pakistan. We salute the sacrifices made by the armed forces and the people of Pakistan,” Altaf told a public gathering organised by his party in Multan on Friday.
This was the MQM’s first rally in Multan, through which the party’s chief is said to have addressed around 60 million residents in southern Punjab. Around 30,000 people attended the rally, belonging to groups such as the Kashmiri community, Seraikistan Youth Movement and supporters of the Bahawalpur province movement. Members of religious parties from across Punjab, Sindh and the tribal area of Balochistan that borders Punjab were also present.
Altaf claimed that a “peaceful revolution” was “knocking on Pakistan’s door” while alluding to the kind of support he had got from the people of Multan. He warned that the “flood” of people cannot be stopped now.
He said that the people who talk about revolution and claim to bring it must know that in the past, it has only been the MQM that has “slapped” politicians and feudals on the floor of the lower and upper houses of parliament.
Altaf also proclaimed that today’s [Friday] rally is the biggest rally in the history of Multan and highlights Multan’s citizens’ love for MQM. He added, “Such love was seen in history for Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan.”
The MQM chief said that Multan, “the city of saints,” has “hammered another nail in the casket of feudals.”
He said that a negative propaganda was being planned in order to drive away the support that the people of Multan give to the MQM.
While reiterating the need for a Seraiki province in the region, Altaf said such a move would make Pakistan stronger.
Speaking about underdevelopment of southern Punjab, Altaf said that the 13 districts of the region have only two universities and two medical colleges while upper Punjab has 31 universities.
“Lahore alone has more medical colleges than the entire southern Punjab. I immediately demand that the government announce five more universities and medical colleges, as well as two agricultural and engineering universities [for southern Punjab],” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.