Accusing Zulfiqar Mirza of driving an ethnic wedge between Sindhis and Mohajirs in the province, member of Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Coordination Committee Syed Mustafa Kamal said the former home minister should prove his allegations in a court of law.
The MQM lost 15, 000 workers during the 1992 military operation but never conspired against the country, Kamal said in a blow-by-blow rebuttal of Mirza’s charges during a marathon press conference held on Tuesday at the Khursheed Begum Secretariat. The MQM does not need a certificate of patriotism from anyone, he said.
Dismissing Mirza’s allegations that MQM chief Altaf Hussain had written to former British prime minister Tony Blair and asked for his assistance in disbanding the Inter-Services Intelligence, Kamal said that a similar letter had been attributed to slain Pakistan Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto – a letter that she had allegedly written to an American senator, Peter Galbraith. The MQM believes that the letter attributed to Bhutto was also fake, he said.
In fact, he added, the return address on the letter allegedly written by Hussain was also incorrect.
Responding to Mirza’s allegation regarding the involvement of MQM’s Senator Babar Khan Ghauri in theft of thousands of containers carrying Nato supplies, Kamal said that Mirza was the home minister at that time but did not lodge an FIR against this.
He refuted the allegation, and questioned that, if the event did take place, why were Nato forces silent over theft on such a huge scale?
On the other hand, Kamal highlighted Mirza’s confession of issuing 300,000 arms licences, “not for aerial firing at celebrations,” and said that the hard-talking former minister is actually the one conspiring against Pakistan’s integrity and sovereignty.
In contrast, he said, the MQM and its chief are patriotic Pakistanis since Hussain was the first political leader to announce his support to forces fighting terrorism.
It was only later that all other political parties followed suit, he said.
Kamal called upon the Supreme Court, which is hearing a suo moto case on Karachi violence, to probe into the recovery of 18 people from the custody of target killers.
The chief justice should ask the federal and provincial governments who rescued the hostages, whom they had contacted and on whose orders the kidnappers released the abducted people, he said.
Kamal said that Baloch leader Lashkar Raisani criticised the government and the media for producing one Baloch suspect but did not speak against targeted killings of other ethnicities.
Kamal, who is more popularly known for his stint as Karachi’s Mayor, also pointed out that his party had endeavored to serve each and every person of the city – regardless of ethnicity and political affiliation. He said that even the representatives of other political parties who were part of the city’s administration hadn’t, and couldn’t criticize the MQM because they knew what the party had done for the city.
He said that, under the MQM, the city benefitted from development of infrastructure and all ethnicities had benefitted because of this. He also said that, during this time, the MQM also controlled the province’s police force and no one had even heard of the expression ‘target killings’.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2011.