Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain warned on Sunday that the time for resolving Balochistan’s woes was running out and proposed an emergency roundtable meeting to address the province’s grievances.
“Either look into it [Balochistan issue] immediately or (God forbid) be ready to lose it,” he said. The MQM chief was addressing tens of thousands of women supporters at a mammoth rally.
By his reckoning Altaf said that the country’s leaders had lost the trust of the people of this province. “We have to take some bold decisions and will have to give them their due rights to regain their confidence.”
Altaf’s comments came in the backdrop of a resolution moved in the US Congress calling for right of self-determination for the people of Balochistan.
By virtue of its wrong policies and its high-handedness, he said, the rulers had sought to drown out the voice of Baloch people, alienating them and forcing them to the point of secession.
“You are dumping corpses there and still want these people to remain loyal to Pakistan,” Altaf said adding “I have asked the government several times to stop such brutalities.” Referring to the issue of missing persons, he said that 28 men of his party were still missing. He demanded that the missing persons’ issue should be resolved at the earliest.
He also called for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, languishing in American prison for long and reminded that it was the Muttahida Qaumi Movement which had taken out a big rally for her release.
However, a major part of his speech was devoted to the issue of women in Pakistan. He called for doing away with tribal and feudal customs which did not allow women to play their role in the development and prosperity of the country.
The MQM organisers dubbed party’s show of strength on Sunday as a move to “empower women to strengthen Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2012.