ISLAMABAD: The political shakeup triggered by Zulfiqar Mirza’s allegations against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is likely to dominant the National Assembly session next month.
The house debates are also expected to revolve around subsequent calls by political parties for a judicial probe into Mirza’s diatribe against MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, in which the former Sindh minister called Altaf a ‘traitor’.
President Asif Ali Zardari summoned the house to meet on September 12, according to a handout issued by the presidential office on Monday.
Opposition parties said they would press for a thorough investigation by the top judges of Supreme Court, including Mirza’s allegations, as the suo motu hearing by the Supreme Court on the law and order situation in Karachi begun on Monday.
Dr Mirza, a former provincial senior minister and one of the top leaders of PPP, alleged that Altaf Hussain admitted in a meeting with him that he and his party (MQM) were partners in a plot by the United States (US) to divide Pakistan.
Mirza went on to blame MQM for backing target killers, extortionists and kidnappers to maintain its political influence in the city through terror. However, his allegations have not been independently verified and PPP has distanced itself from his statements. MQM was quick to deny these charges, saying they were baseless and rubbish.
Unsurprisingly, the denial by MQM did not appear to satisfy opposition parties who have high stakes in Karachi’s ‘bloody’ politics and are unwilling to lose an opportunity to dent MQM’s image. The Awami National Party (ANP), which represents ethnic Pakhtuns living in Karachi, said on Monday it would expect MQM’s top leadership to appear on the media for a ‘clear’ denial of allegations.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said it was also hoping a Supreme Court bench operating in Karachi these days would call Dr Mirza to appear before the court with proof of MQM’s backing for target killers.
“We will raise this issue during the session…we will keep on pressing our demand for a judicial probe. That is the only way we can clear the situation,” a spokesperson for the party told The Express Tribune.
As MQM leaders avoid phone calls by the media, it is not clear what policy the party will adopt to defend itself against the outburst by political rivals in the National Assembly.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.