KARACHI: In a first-of-its-kind gathering, the chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) addressed Pashtuns and people from the Hazara community residing in Karachi and appealed for ethnic unity to bring lasting peace to Karachi.
Altaf Hussain – speaking via telephone during a “Paigham-e-Mohabbat” (a message of love) rally at the Jinnah Ground organised especially for the Pashtun and Hazara community – said that elements that have conspired against Karachi by provoking Mohajir-Pashtun riots should see that both communities stand united today.
Tens of thousands of Pashtuns and Hazaras from various parts of the city were present at the venue on Sunday amidst tight security. Pashtun music, dance and fireworks inspired participants as people of various ethnic backgrounds visited MQM’s headquarters for the first time. Asserting that Mohajirs and Pashtuns were brothers, the MQM chief appealed to the people living in Karachi to observe peace and not fight against each other — advising the Urdu-speaking people to protect the Pushtun businesses in their areas.
Calling MQM a party of people belonging to different ethnicities rather than just of the Urdu-speaking people, Hussain said that “Pashtuns are my brothers as much as the Mohajirs”.
He said that this public gathering conveyed to the world a message of solidarity and brotherhood. “The message of this gathering is nothing but love and solidarity among the oppressed and downtrodden people who have been deprived of their basic rights,” he said.
Taking an oath from both the Mohajirs and Pakhtuns, he appealed to the supporters of his party to make space for other ethnicities.
“Promise me you’ll not fight from today onwards,” he insisted. He asked all the ethnicities to take a pledge that they would give “their blood to protect each other”.
“Look at this huge gathering and see how the Pushtuns like and respect their Urdu-speaking brothers and Altaf Hussain’s party.”
“Do not fight anymore under any circumstances,” he insisted.
The MQM chief appealed to the provincial government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and the federal government to create employment opportunities in K-P by setting up industries. “Unemployment should be eliminated. The people of K-P have given immense sacrifices for the country but their areas are deprived of education and other facilities. This sense of deprivation should be removed and they should be provided with basic facilities of education and health,” he demanded.
“People from K-P come to Karachi because of a lack of job opportunities in their province.”
Referring to the succession of Raja Pervez Ashraf as the new prime minister after the disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gilani, Hussain appreciated the fact that the government had respected the Supreme Court’s decision.
“The general elections are near and all political parties must wait for the right time for the sake of democracy and stability. The interests of this country lie in the continuation of the democratic process. Conspiracies against democracy must end,” he maintained.
As part of the ruling coalition, Hussain said MQM believed that all institutions must act within their limits. “They must resist from overstepping their respective domains. It is time for unity and solidarity.”
Meanwhile, MQM Coordination Committee’s Deputy Convener Dr Farooq Sattar said that the public rally will prove to be an important landmark for bringing lasting peace and harmony in Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, 25th, 2012.
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