ISLAMABAD/ KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) both expressed their desire on Wednesday for the deployment of army personnel in Karachi to restore peace.
In a telephonic address, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain asserted that army should be deployed in Karachi and a stern action should be taken against those destroying peace in Sindh and Karachi.
Hussain made an appeal to the top leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to stop supporting the Lyari gang and other criminal and land mafia.
He also demanded that the government take effective steps to end violence in the city, and asked his workers to boycott those who do not consider them Sindhi.
Meanwhile, ANP also proposed the deployment of army in Karachi for a month so that peace and order can be restored in the city.
The proposal was put forward during the National Assembly Session that took place on Wednesday.
During the session, Federal Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Bilour said that the army should be deployed for a month in Karachi in efforts to de-weaponise the city.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Leader Ahsan Iqbal said both heads of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the military intelligence along with other law-enforcement agencies should brief lawmakers on the current situation in Karachi.
Amin Fahim rules out military operation
Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim on Wednesday ruled out military operation in Karachi and urged all the political parties to sit together and deliberate to improve the law and order situation.
Talking to media outside the parliament he said, “I do not see any operation in Karachi. All political parties, all stakeholders should sit together and seek out a political and administrative solution to the issue.”
Updated from print edition (below)
For the sake of peace: Altaf calls for army crackdown
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain invited the army to initiate an impartial crackdown on criminal elements, in Karachi irrespective of their political affiliations, to free the metropolis from the grip of armed terrorists.
Addressing MQM activists at the Lal Qila ground in Karachi on Wednesday evening, Hussain said that the government was duty-bound to contain the seemingly unending killing spree in Karachi.
“[Apart from Rangers] we want the army to take control of Karachi (and launch a crackdown). If they feel that anyone from the MQM is involved (in criminal activities), that person should be arrested,” he said. However, he cautioned the army and Rangers against targeting the MQM alone. “If anyone from the PPP or ANP is found to be involved (in such activity), they, too, should be apprehended,” he said.
He demanded of the government, especially Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, to stop supporting “Lyari gangsters and other criminals”.
Speaking in metaphors, he warned unseen rivals to let him keep his fists clenched. “(Otherwise) everyone must realise that the MQM, which is a conglomerate of all ethnicities, including Sindhis, Pashtuns and Hazarewals, is not wearing bangles (a euphemism to being effeminate).”
Urging the government “to mend its ways”, he said that, otherwise, people would boycott it in the next elections. “Do not misuse the power of the state to usurp MQM’s vote bank,” he said.
Alluding to a 48-hour deadline given on Tuesday night, he said that the ultimatum illustrated his intense desire to see an end to the killings and arrest of the killers. However, he said, the situation had only worsened.
He said it was completely unfair to blame the MQM and the Mohajir community for the violence engulfing the city, when they were the ones who were suffering the most.
He said that “fourth or fifth generation of people who left everything behind in India now lived in Karachi and they, too, are Sindhis. Now, there are no mohajirs, just haq parast Pakistanis”.
He said the MQM was waging a struggle against the ‘corrupt feudal’ class ruling over the country. He reiterated that the party was not against any particular community.
Meanwhile, over in Karachi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that no operation in Karachi was being contemplated, but action would be taken against elements found to be involved in violence-hit areas. Talking to reporters after presiding over a meeting at the Crisis Management Cell on the law and order situation, Malik said action would be taken against terrorists irrespective of their political affiliations.
“I cannot comment on Altaf Bhai’s statement. But I can claim that no targeted killing occurred there (in Karachi) over the past 12 hours,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2011.