Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawwar Hasan stuck to the party line by offering contentious statements about the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Thursday. But as the parties have been at each other’s throats for years, Hasan’s sound bite failed to make a stir.
According to Hasan, while the MQM is in government, there cannot be law and order in Karachi. He was speaking at a press conference at the JI headquarters at one of his usual briefings when he is in town. During these press conferences, he habitually holds forth on every issue under the sun.
Hasan’s solution was to keep the MQM in the opposition and let the government deal with it in a “high-handed manner”.
Hasan pointed to three events: the attack on the Sunni Tehreek at Nishtar Park in 2006, clashes between the MQM and other parties on May 12, 2007 and the episode of April 9, 2008 when lawyers were burnt alive. He linked them to the MQM. “The footage of May 12 is available, everything is visible, it just needs to be investigated,” he said.
According to the JI chief, the Supreme Court had declared the Sindh government ineffective during its suo motu hearings on the violence that broke out last summer. Hasan felt that the provincial government should assess whether it had failed because of the Pakistan Peoples Party or its allies.
Hasan called the ongoing discussion on Pakistan-US relations a farce and stressed that there needed to be an end to drone strikes, enforced disappearances and military operations.
Hasan asked if the state had borne the expenses for President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent ‘private’ visit to India.
He said that the JI was concerned about the sectarian killings in Quetta and Gilgit-Baltistan and had spoken to other parties in the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, including Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, on this spate of violence, which he said must be perpetrated by “enemies”. He said he had spoken to Allama Abbas Kumaili, who has called a roundtable conference of all the parties, and that JI would participate as well.
Hasan told The Express Tribune that the bill on domestic violence, which was presented in the National Assembly recently, was a “copy of the bill presented in India, even though the cultural realities of our women are different. No other religion gives women as many rights as Islam does, but this was a non-governmental organisations’ bill and we would like amendments to it.”
Prior to Hasan’s address, JI Karachi chief Mohammad Hussain Mehanti repeated the party’s complaint of irregularities in the voter lists and alleged that the second run of verification was being carried out at the MQM offices. “There are a large number of people settled in Karachi from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, rural Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and have businesses here,” he said. “But when the verification was done and they were asked whether Karachi was a permanent address for them, they mentioned their area of origin and now have been removed from the lists of Sindh altogether.”
Mehanti asked the Supreme Court to restore the names of 900,000 voters impacted by this to the lists of the area they live in. He alleged that about 2.4 million voters in Karachi were affected by issues with the list. Mehanti claimed that JI Sindh chief Asadullah Bhutto had also been disenfranchised. The party plans to meet with the chief election commissioner as well to discuss this.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.