The MPAs of the Sindh Assembly who moved a resolution against graffiti calling for a separate Mohajir province have been receiving threatening text messages.
On Monday, they shared this information with the house. An emotional Nusrat Seher Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-F had moved the resolution. “These people do not know that our elders embraced martyrdom to achieve this land,” she said, referring to Pakistan. “We will not be cowed by these threats. We are not merely point scoring on a sensitive issue. God knows that we and our children would rather die than let anyone divide Sindh.”
The leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a coalition partner, not only condemned the threats but complained that the media had misquoted their version on the issue. As permanent residents of Sindh they would also not let anyone divide it, they said. Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza quoted a famous saying by Hosh Mohammad Sheedi alias Hosho Sheedi, a general of the Talpur army who fought against the British in the battle of Miani in 1843: “Marson Marson, Sindh na deson.”
Food Minister Nadir Magsi suggested tracing the messages. Many other members wanted to speak on the issue, but the deputy speaker only allowed Home Minister Manzoor Wasan to comment. He said that some MPAs had forwarded the text messages to him. However, he had two different versions for inside and outside the session. Inside the house he said: “I am aware of this and know who has sent the text messages.” But after the session when journalists quizzed him on who he was referring to, he said: “I have given the task to the police.” He only added that some elements were trying to create a rift and trigger ethnic violence in Karachi.
The MQM’s parliamentary leader, Syed Sardar Ahmed, said that his party had supported the resolution but his party’s version had been misquoted in the media. The resolution was unanimously adopted but some section of the press had reported that the MQM did not sign it. “The resolution was moved in a rush without consulting our members who also criticised the Mohajir province graffiti,” he said.
Sardar Ahmed said that some people are critical of their MPA, Moin Aamir Pirzado, who had not only supported the resolution, but had suggested starting a dialogue with the people affiliated with the Mohajir and Sindhu Desh movements. He referred to Pir Pagara’s statement suggesting they calm the situation down by bringing those people to the table.
MQM’s Heer Ismail Soho quoted Sindhi newspapers, which had held the MQM responsible. “We were attributed as representatives of a Mohajir province. This has really hurt us,” she said. But Sindh Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ayaz Soomro said a ‘third force’ was involved, although he didn’t name anyone. Senior Minister Pir Mazharul Haq seconded this, clarifying that some elements were against brotherly relations between coalition partners in the government.
Some enraged PPP workers from Dadu protested against their own party’s ministers inside the assembly, accusing Pir Mazharul Haq of ignoring them. “About four years back, [he] promised me a job, but has since just made lame excuses,” sid Ghulam Rasool Lund, a PPP worker with a degree in his hand.
Another man cried that he had been to jails for years because of his affiliation with the PPP. He said that leaders of other parties, including the MQM, PTI and PML-N, had approached them but they had refused to join the party. “Zulfikar Bhutto and his daughter Benazir is our leader. We will not join any other party but these ministers must live up to their pledges.”
None of the PPP ministers who emerged from the assembly talked to them.
The MPAs expressed concern over the high number of kidnapping and extortion cases in Karachi. MQM MPA Saifuddin Khalid brought up the issue of two kidnapped children whose bodies were found in Orangi Town. Fahim, 16, and Adil, 15, were kidnapped from Haryani Colony on Saturday and their bodies were found the next day. He said that this would give rise to more violence in reaction.Saleem Khurshid Khokhar of the PPP raised the kidnapping of two Koreans from Karachi, Issac Samson and Indrias Jawaid, working at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Orangi Town.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2012.