Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain, whose party will observe a day of mourning today (Tuesday), has advised Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to step down if he is unable to bring an end to the violence in the city.
Gilani was in Karachi on Monday and held a string of meetings, including with the Sindh cabinet, on the Karachi situation. However, in a hard-hitting statement issued on Monday, Altaf said that the prime minister should see that his orders are implemented in both letter and spirit and he should resign from office if he is unable to seek strict compliance of his orders.
“How long will those at the helm of affairs remain silent spectators as citizens fall victim to incidents of terrorism. I, therefore, demand that President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani put a stop to the savage killings of innocent Karachi citizens and bring the killers to book,” he said.
Earlier on Monday, MQM Deputy Convener and Federal Minister Dr Farooq Sattar announced at an emergency press conference that the party would observe Youm-e-Sogh (a day of mourning) throughout the country on Tuesday (today), to condemn the genocide by militant elements in the Peoples’ Amn committee against Mohajirs.
Addressing the press conference, held at the Khursheed Begum Secretariat, Sattar said that the party had been facing mounting pressure from the people of Karachi to settle and take definitive action against elements creating havoc in the city.
Sattar said the purpose of the day was to inform people across the country that the genocide against Mohajirs was happening with the
support of the government, adding that innocent Mohajirs were suffering due to inaction against elements from the Peoples’ Amn committee due to political patronage.
He alleged that the violence that has engulfed the city for a sixth day has only reached this point due to support from certain Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ministers, adding that it was highly regrettable that no action had been taken by the government to control the law and order situation.
Sattar said that, due to the government’s inaction, the MQM is now free to decide its future line of action, adding that Sindh senior minister Zulfiqar Mirza has criticised action against the PAC and has repeatedly declared the members of the group equivalent to his offspring. “Take away protection given to PAC’s terrorists and if the government fails to do so, the MQM will be free to adopt its future course of action to give protection to the life and property of the citizens,” Sattar said.
He went on to brief the media about PAC’s activities in the city, saying the organisation had been abducting people from katchi abadis and killing them. He further added that the organisation was extorting money from traders, industrialists and shopkeepers by sending extortion slips, and that life threats were used to strike fear in the hearts of the business community.
Sattar also expressed concern over the government’s failure to reveal the identities of the kidnappers in Lyari, saying that it was further indication of the government’s patronage of the PAC.
Appealing to the international community, human rights organisations and civil society to take notice of the ‘butchery and mayhem’ taking place, Sattar urged them to raise their voices and to come forward. He urged people all over the country to hoist black flags and wear black stripes on their arms to mourn the dead and condemn the actions of PAC.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.