KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) staged another token walkout from the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday morning to protest against the killing of its workers.
MQM’s deputy parliamentary leader, Faisal Subzwari, warned that the protest might become a ‘real’ one through the use of ‘all democratic platforms’ if more of its workers and supporters are killed.
On Monday, two party supporters, Atif Usmani and Ijtiba Khan, and a worker of its North Karachi Sector Unit 133-A, Hasan Raza, were found dead in Lyari.
According to Subzwari, the party’s workers were kidnapped. “Their faces were burnt by a hot iron-press and acid thrown on their bodies,” he said at a press conference outside the Sindh Assembly. “The law-enforcement agencies knew who the kidnappers but were not able to arrest them.” He alleged that this was the work of Lyari gangsters who took innocent people hostage and claimed that they were given weapons.
Tuesday’s protest came a few days after the party staged a walkout from the assembly and supported a strike by traders’ associations last week. “We are with the government but people ask us if this [the killings] is the price to pay for supporting democracy,” he said. “The police fires on people who are protesting against power cuts but can’t protect them. What should they expect from the state?
He said that if the killings continued, “People will not listen to the state or to the MQM. We cannot keep picking up the dead quietly.”
Raid on Nine Zero
When the session began, Subzwari drew the attention of Sindh Assembly Speaker Shehla Raza to the killings of their workers and said that MQM would not tolerate any more deaths of its workers. He alleged that instead of acting against the criminals, there were reports that the government was planning to raid Nine Zero.
Sindh Minster for Information Technology Raza Haroon seconded Subzwari. While referring to Lyari, he said, “We are not condemning the people of an area, which has become a hatchery of criminals, but we are speaking out against the gangsters who held the residents of the area hostage as well.” While demanding that the government provide security, he also said that a check should be kept on people coming in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2012.