Extortion reaction: Altaf rakes govt over the coals, asks traders to take up arms

Published: August 7, 2012
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“If it is a war then we too will get fully involved in it,” Altaf declared to a wide gathering of people at the MQM’s traditional iftar party at Jinnah ground. PHOTO: FILE

“If it is a war then we too will get fully involved in it,” Altaf declared to a wide gathering of people at the MQM’s traditional iftar party at Jinnah ground. PHOTO: FILE

“If it is a war then we too will get fully involved in it,” Altaf declared to a wide gathering of people at the MQM’s traditional iftar party at Jinnah ground. PHOTO: FILE Babar Ghouri, Farooq Sattar, Qaim Ali Shah, Ishratul Ebad, Rehman Malik, Nisar Khuhro and Nasreen Jalil at the main table at the MQM’s iftar on Monday in Azizabad. PHOTO: EXPRESS
KARACHI: 

It was a no-holds barred evening as Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain skewered the Sindh government for failing to protect its business people as Rehman Malik, Nisar Khuhro, Qaim Ali Shah and Ishratul Ebad sank lower and lower into their seats in silence.

“If it is a war then we too will get fully involved in it,” Altaf declared to a wide gathering of people at the MQM’s traditional iftar party at Jinnah ground in Azizabad on Monday night.

The MQM would set up a Muttahida Tahaffuz-e-Businessman Forum as traders had requested Altaf Hussain and would donate 100,000 party activists for the security of traders given how widespread extortion had become.

Altaf told the businessmen present that they should buy G-3 rifles and Kalashnikovs, and acquire licenses even if they had to pay bribes. This is not the first time Altaf has made such an appeal and indeed, he bitterly recalled the time when he had told people to sell their refrigerators and television sets to buy weapons to protect themselves in the mid-80s. “My statements were made fun of and people had sided with my opponents!” he cried.

Altaf threatened that if the problem isn’t resolved in the four days business owners would act on their own. If they were paying extortionists millions of rupees, then they might as well hire body guards as well. He said that no one had the courage to stand up to the ‘bhatta’ mafia and asked why the Supreme Court did not do anything. “Extortionists loot money from traders and then deposit them in banks in Indonesia and Dubai,” said Altaf. “The extortionists have the latest weapons while the police roam around with weapons from the British era.”

The MQM had invited politicians, journalists, industrialists and government officials to the iftar. Adviser Rehman Malik was flanked by Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Khuhro, Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani and Adviser Sharmila Faruqi. Their unease was palpable as Altaf spoke of the government’s failure to protect its people.

The MQM chief talked at length about Balochistan and censured Rehman Malik for calling the people “separatists” and enemies of the state. “When the custodians of law kill people and mutilate their bodies, do you expect them to chant slogans in Pakistan’s favour?” he asked rhetorically.

Altaf directly addressed Malik and told him that when he was the director of the Federal Investigation Agency, MQM activists were put through the most brutal persecution. “They were rounded up in numbers and when they asked for water they were made to drink urine!”

For his part, Rehman Malik said to the gathering: “I want to remind the people of Sindh that Altaf bhai loves them and the MQM is a national party.” He dedicated the completion of the government’s tenure to “Altaf bhai’s” support, wisdom and his friendship with President Zardari. He assured him that wherever there were hostile elements, whether in Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi, Balochistan or at the border, “We will take action.”

But Altaf was sitting ready with answers to all of Malik’s arguments. He retorted that they couldn’t save the country by labelling people separatists but by giving them their rights.

Talking about the Lyari operation he said, “When police were sacrificing their lives and the operation against extortionists was near success, the paramilitary forces backed out. The police said that they would resume the operation in 48 hours but the 48 hours never came.”

“Rehman Malik achay hain! Magar halaat achay nahi!” shouted Altaf. [Rehman Malik is good but the times aren’t]. Malik gathered enough wits about him to muster that he had heard all of these points made by Altaf and had carefully jotted them down.

The MQM chief was also unabashed in his criticism of the judiciary. “What body is responsible for making the law?” he asked. “Parliament or the judiciary? If parliament can’t make the laws then why don’t you send it home?” Referring to the dismissal of Yousaf Raza Gilani, he asked the chief justice why he didn’t take action against the director-general of the Frontier Constabulary who was involved in killing people, lawyers and journalists of Balochistan.

Altaf said that he had repeatedly said that he did not want Sindh to be divided. But despite that, Sindh’s nationalist leaders accuse me of dividing Sindh. “If they don’t shut up, then I will not stop my people from demanding the division of Sindh,” he thundered.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Aug 7, 2012 - 12:42AM

    Jiye Altaf !

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  • Nasir Mahmood
    Aug 7, 2012 - 1:08AM

    If politics means hypocrisy, Altaf Hussain is a big political leader. At last spoke out of his old wish to execute the plan of HIS MASTERS.

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  • Ash
    Aug 7, 2012 - 1:11AM

    What a speech! My heart is bleeding looking at Karachi compared to what it was back in 2002-2007….and whoelese can better understand the situation of Karachi than son of Karachi Altaf Hussain. We are with you Altaf Hussain against this extortion and terrorist mafia!

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  • Kamal
    Aug 7, 2012 - 2:09AM

    O God after a long time I heard Altaf Hussain like this, seems Altaf Hussain of 80’s is back and he means business

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  • B+
    Aug 7, 2012 - 2:22AM

    People of Pakistan are with you Altaf bhai….

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  • Imran
    Aug 7, 2012 - 2:37AM

    Some one here is not going to even blast this and say some negative things!!

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  • AnisAqeel
    Aug 7, 2012 - 3:29AM

    Thanks Altaf Bhai, we need leaders like you and only half dozen can change the entire country’s faith but five are yet to be found (Imran khan could be one).
    We need iron fist to counter crime that can’t be solved with love or leniency as every field of life is full of extremism whether political leaders, military or judiciary or general public. Only rule of power is working in my dear country.

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  • Naeem
    Aug 7, 2012 - 3:38AM

    How could he is allowed to say all this sitting in London?

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 7, 2012 - 3:50AM

    “Chore Machaye Shore”. This is why I am against allowing dual nationals to participate in Pakistani politics. Look at this guy who is getting leaner day by day in desperation for the sufferings of the poor people of Karachi and offering 100,000 armed gangsters to protect the innocent. His party is in government since last 20 years and look at his drama acts. The GOP must protest with the British government for the involvement of their citizen in the criminal activities and running an organized mafia in Pakistan.

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  • Imran
    Aug 7, 2012 - 4:37AM

    Great going ALtaf bhai !! 1 lakh people against mafia !!

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  • Ahmed
    Aug 7, 2012 - 4:50AM

    Wow…. this guy is crazy! Stop enticing violence….. your a ‘chief’ of a political party, not a militia that you’ll send 100,000 men….

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  • Syed Faisal
    Aug 7, 2012 - 4:55AM

    The truth is , it is the MQM which started the business of Bhattha Khori and now crying because other players came into the field of Bhatta Khori, and reducing the MQM share in the extortion money.

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  • For Peace
    Aug 7, 2012 - 5:19AM

    Nice Polo!

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  • Caramelized_Onion
    Aug 7, 2012 - 5:20AM

    Must be near election time.

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  • Shan Nasir
    Aug 7, 2012 - 5:23AM

    Gia Altaf Hussain. The only leader who talks sense !

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  • Toy
    Aug 7, 2012 - 5:45AM

    altaf sahib, please talk instead of violence. karachi is still burning after your golden words of 80s in which you advise people to sell books, tv and vcr and prepare for self defense. Now please call your guys to stop collecting fitra, zakat and kheraat. Everyone knows, who brought the bhatta culture in karachi. Bhatta culture is not new, it is since MQM established.

    All other parties are also working in other areas of country then why not they collect bhatta from those areas. Why only in karachi and you have the full control of karachi, first you should take the step against the bhatta by cleaning yourself, then ask other to do that.
    Last week one of your office ransacked in orangi town due to citizen fed up with forced collection of fitra. this is the sign people are now thinking, and able to see the truth. No one can fool them now.

    People are fed up of this politics of violence.

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  • Navaid
    Aug 7, 2012 - 7:22AM

    This is just another step, in the creation of the Republic of Mohajirstan. Sindh will be divided, Pakistan will be disintegrated.

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  • Aug 7, 2012 - 7:22AM

    @Nasir Mahmood: This is where you are WRONG.

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  • Imran Ahsan Mirza
    Aug 7, 2012 - 7:23AM

    If government fails to protect its own citizens, their businesses then the people have right to bear arms.

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  • Aug 7, 2012 - 7:28AM

    Altaf Bhai! We are with you and we made Pakistan and we will make it strong economically and militarily once again. NO US AID, PLEASE.
    You are a dauntless leader and are charismatic in your leadership. Some politicos are jealous of you because you are educated and they have made you run away.
    Come back to Pakistan and we will protect you. Give up your dual citizenship and be proud to be a Pakistani like the Karachiites are. Salams to Pakistan

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  • Syed Shah
    Aug 7, 2012 - 7:47AM

    This should not be taken lightly. I see here people must be from Punjab who are making a mockery of his statements and dwelling in the past pet accusations. I suggest take it seriously.

    The police should do its job of protecting the people not just the vaderas and choudhries which they protect on our tax payers money. If they cannot give law and order they have no right to go about in government cars and perks. Go by walk all government servants please. Do not use government transport for work or personal use.

    You are not doing the job of protecting people why do you want salaries and all that. If the government gets tough all law and order will fall in line. Article 58-2B was good, at least there was hope that if these guys do not deliver on law and order they would be sacked.

    Now there is no fear. So they do not do their job. The Home Minister in Islamabad and The Sindh Home Minister are listening I hope. Give law and order and see how the nation progresses.

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  • Waseem
    Aug 7, 2012 - 8:07AM

    he is making fool so many for years.

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  • Ali
    Aug 7, 2012 - 8:10AM

    Look who is condemning bhata…

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  • Faisal
    Aug 7, 2012 - 9:32AM

    Gia Altaf Hussain. The only leader who talks non-sense !

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  • anoni
    Aug 7, 2012 - 10:00AM

    @Syed Shah:

    Please don’t put hatred among us. People in Punjab are just as human as people in sind. Our heart bleeds for what is happening in karachi so please stop using this tool of hatred to divide among us. when we should be united .

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  • Rabia
    Aug 7, 2012 - 10:39AM

    Go bhai! I dont know why people from the Punjab have so much hatred for Altaf bhai and zero awareness about the genius, reveloutionary things about this party.

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  • Syed Shah
    Aug 7, 2012 - 2:06PM

    @Lala Gee:
    Too presumptive and accusative. Usual accusation without any proof. Why don’t you talk as disparagingly of the land lords whose slaves you are. Not a single protest in 65 years against their tyranny. Don’t go by PMLN propaganda, use your own brain too.

    As Sandingham said – lead a Punjabi. Obvious he is a good foot soldier, if you give him the command he fails. And he has always failed and miserably always. Never got on inch of Kashmir. What Quaed e Azam and Muslims of the sub-continent struggle gave you a full Pakistan by your stupid policies you got it cut into half. Now by further stupid policies you are alienating the rest of Pakistanis.

    Hatred like this is never going to unite but divide. You are probably thinking of an operation again.

    Remember if business suffers people will get jobless that will give rise to chain of problems leading to utter lawlessness and total breakdown of law and order, economic disaster and collapse.

    You end up then like Jamath e Islami blaming US for every thing. US is doing this and that, again baseless accusations. Your own hateful mindset you forget. Bhai Sahab promote love and unity, that is the way forward. Give up this Punjabi hatred of others particularly the people of Karachi. Remember we are all Pakistani first and last. Now do not call me a Muhajir, which I am not, just coz I am speaking the truth and not singing a hateful tone.

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  • Ali
    Aug 8, 2012 - 10:49AM

    “My statements were made fun of and people had sided with my opponents!” he cried.

    Last time he cried over death of his party member, whole world was laughing. End of the paragraph mentioning “he cried” reminded that.

    ha ha ha

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  • Shahab
    Aug 11, 2012 - 4:55AM

    The business community is fed up of organised bhata mafia, police seems helpless to control the situation, MQM has raised its voice on this situation on every forum but to no avail so, Mr. Altaf Hussain has i guess moved in a right direction by announcing to providing protection to the Karachi traders through its dedicated workers. This is a worst case scenario where the people have to move on their own to protect their lives and property on their own its really unbelievable that we are living in 2012.

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  • Syed Shah
    Aug 11, 2012 - 10:09PM

    @anoni: Please give me a break. You probably stand for hatred like the entire PMLN does. For events in Karachi you should feel for all in Karachi not for a few. Please do not twist and give meaning to love seeking and unity views. The world knows who is heading a hate campaign and politics of vendetta. Not one utterance of Nawaz Sharif you will find without hate and revenge of Musharraf and Urdu speaking populace of Karachi. Are they not Pakistanis. So sir I am not using hate as a tool of politics but you. So please do not attack it is not good for good brotherly relations. Lets call a spade a spade. I see here open racism and my such nicely written piece you call it hateful. Are you in your mind?

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