Political leaders critical of Altaf Hussain's statement

Published: August 23, 2010
Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani said that he was unaware of the context in which the statement was made. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani said that he was unaware of the context in which the statement was made. PHOTO: REUTERS

Major political figures criticised the statement made by MQM chief Altaf Hussain regarding support for martial law, with some voicing subtle support and others expressing surprise.

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said that he was unaware of the context in which the MQM chief asked the army to take action against corrupt politicians. He said that political parties had given sacrifices for the cause of democracy, and that the nation had been struggling for the restoration and independence of judiciary.

PML-N Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif said that statement was made with ill-intent. Sharif said Altaf Hussain had signed the 18th Amendment, yet now he is favouring imposition of martial law in the country. He said that such statements could negatively impact the democratic process.

The chief of Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), and spiritual leaders of Hurs, Pir Sahib Pagara put his weight behind the statement, Online reported. He is quoted to have said “this is a dire need”.

The Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hasan said the statement was making a mockery of the constitution and the law. He said such a statement was unbecoming of a leader whose party was a part of the elected government.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Hamood
    Aug 23, 2010 - 7:32PM

    I am no fan of Altaf Hussain but maybe he has a point. Maybe our nation doesn’t deserve democracy and need a “stick” instead. Every time there is democracy, things seem to be more destabilized. The “dictatorship” was so much better than these corrupt inept and bickering politicians.Recommend

  • Aug 23, 2010 - 7:43PM

    Unaware of the ‘context’? What’s so confusing about what he said. He’s asking for the abrogation of constitution. For the suspension of certain human rights, freedom of expression and everything that we witnessed during Musharraf era (still fresh in our memories)Recommend

  • muhammad kamran rasheed
    Aug 23, 2010 - 8:38PM

    Democracy works only with educated enlightened masses having independant thinking which our country severely lacks, dictatorship or presidential form of govt suits our country, look at the flood relief efforts, gross mismanagement, our country needs army to rule only, i welcome musharrafRecommend

  • Kamran Khan
    Aug 23, 2010 - 8:49PM

    We are with Mr. Altaf Hussain.We hate this so-called democratic government.Recommend

  • hafeez
    Aug 23, 2010 - 9:04PM

    worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship.
    Let the democracy to work, it will take time to get the things mature.
    dont be reactionary. we and india are of same nature and culture. they support the democracy always and now india its on its way to shine. corrupt people are in every institution, why only politicians blamed. follow the recent biggest corruption commonwealth games scandal in india, but no one raised the finger at democracy. Be patient, be part of election next time and vote to your favorite party instead of sitting aside and only criticizing democrats . its dilemma of urban middle and educated class, they always blame democracy. Recommend

  • Aug 23, 2010 - 9:25PM

    We are with Altaf Hussain. Democracy is the worst government of Pakistan. Can anyone tell me anything good coming out of the past 20 years of democratic governments. Only in Musharraf’s dictatorship we managed to take the country forward. Now we need a real dictator who can take the stick to all those who have robbed and destroyed our country in name of a sham democracy. Recommend

  • hafeez
    Aug 23, 2010 - 10:01PM

    This absolute obsession with politicians makes me sick to the stomach to tell you the truth, reader, when high officials of other organs of state are equally, actually more, to blame for the state this poor country is in today. Why you might well ask? For the very simple reason that politicians aka ‘bloody civilians’ have never been allowed to even complete their tenures in office, being booted out ever so often by the establishment. For the very simple reason that army dictators ruled the country for far longer, individually and collectively, than politicians.

    Sample: Field Marshal Ayub Khan: 11 years; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: six years; Ziaul Haq: 11 years; Benazir Bhutto: two years eight months; Nawaz Sharif: two years eight months; Benazir Bhutto: three years; Nawaz Sharif: two years eight months; Gen Musharraf aka ‘Commando’: nine years.

    It is right to ask, for example, why the rivers were not dredged so that their beds would not silt up and rise, resulting in the devastating floods. It is right to apportion blame to political governments, but surely more of it rests on dictators’ shoulders. While civilian governments must be held answerable for what they did not do in 17 years should army governments not be asked why they did not do what they should have done in 31? For how long will the establishment take the rest of us for fools?

    It turns my stomach when I read on the Internet about how much an MNA costs, how much a senator costs, and how much an MPA costs? Why is it that no one asks how much a major general or a lieutenant general costs? Why this lighting on politicians only? Recommend

  • Saeed Islahi
    Aug 23, 2010 - 10:07PM

    It is but natural that politicians would oppose Altaf Hussain as his stance threatens their purse and incessant plunder of our country.Unfortunately all Military regimes, without any exception, failed to deliver what they promised to people at their induction. Their elite eventually joined the plunderers with unabated fury.Had they delivered what they promised to do in the beginning, fate of Pakistan and their own would have been wholesomely and entirely different.

    This sham democacy in our midst, where politicians with fake degrees and passion for loot( of our resources and their export abroad), and in many cases with less than 3 percent real vote bank that too developed with stolen money do not and can not claim to repsent our citizenry.Thier inevitable destiny is doom and gloom.

    Saeed IslahiRecommend

  • salman khan
    Aug 23, 2010 - 10:21PM

    @hafeez: why is democracy such a great system? In theory, each government is better than the preceding one as selection competence of public improves. This might happen in Pakistan as well if given an opportunity. My concern is whether we can afford giving time to democracy. The way things are going south, who is to say that we will not end up in a fractured, morally corrupt, divisive failed state; Our salvation lies in a martial law whether we agree with it or not. people tend to think that we have no quick fix to our problems but I say otherwise. A martial law which is not shackled by “political realities” and is not averse to spilling some blood for the greater cause is what will allow us as a nation to rise from ashes.Recommend

  • Ahafeez
    Aug 23, 2010 - 10:26PM

    What democracy? If being enslaved by feudal (Sardars, Jagirdars, Wadairas, Chaudhries – the so called elites and yet masses follow them) ruling instead of masses. This country was not created for corrupt & selfish 2% elites. Pakistan is for the rest of 98% who don’t know or never given their rights. They were fooled and betrayed by everyone (politicians & dictators)Recommend

  • mussarat ahmedzeb swat
    Aug 23, 2010 - 10:27PM

    Army would be good for our country.It is when they try becoming politicians and start creating there own democrated party(Q league)that the train is derailed.Recommend

  • Narzam
    Aug 23, 2010 - 10:47PM

    Shame on you all brainless supporters of dictatorial regimes!!! Why do you all lose the sight of the fact that the democratic governments have always sat on the ashes left by your so-called progressive dictators? Have you ever been patient with the democratic dispensations the way you keep your bloody mouths shut during military rules? Corruption is a social evil and it has very little to do with the basic governance issues. And to curb corrupt practices you need specialized institutions like NAB etc and an independent and impartial judiciary to put a dent into this damn thing, and you need a lot of time to tide over this menace and not through the process of going to elections again and again before their time is due. But only if you understand!Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Aug 23, 2010 - 11:23PM

    Pakistan should be governed by a government where people should not think and imagine of doing any corruption. There are too many loop holes due to which the government is running in deficit.

    Pakistan lacks transparency and transparency will only come when people will leave corrupt practices.

    Day by day the system is going down the drain.

    What Pakistan need is a person who should act similar to Tun Mahathir bin Mohamed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia.

    The poor is becoming poorer and rich are becoming filthy rich. Time is changing fast and Pakistan is heading towards a real revolution which will change every thing overnight.Recommend

  • shazia ahmad
    Aug 23, 2010 - 11:44PM

    we must support democracy and must trust our leaders and governament.
    the thing is we just mannage our governament.the governament must take step ahead against partism.and the prevailing governament must stay for atleast five years.
    democracy actually is the governament of the poeple .so governament should listen the voice of the nation.elected persons are the represantator..they must do something for nation.Recommend

  • shazia ahmad
    Aug 23, 2010 - 11:54PM

    altaf hussain must come to home and fight.but you know who wins democracy:)))))))
    because all our leaders support democracy.Recommend

  • Think therefore
    Aug 24, 2010 - 12:48AM

    The issue of fuedalism etc. is not new. The establishment was well aware of it. They should have done something about it. The poor masses in this country would one day awaken to the truth and vote accordingly…. it is not education that enlightens… it is experience… we are in need of leadership that transforms and that can come from anywhere…Recommend

  • cheema
    Aug 24, 2010 - 1:58AM

    But it will not happen till further misery. Recommend

  • Aug 24, 2010 - 2:32AM

    Mr. Altaf Hussain statement is inline with the sentiments of nation and flood affected peoples, the landlords and corruption politicians to just save their land and parks diverted flood water towards the village of poor people, they deserve martial law sort of punishment.

    revolution revolution, Insha-Allah in leadership of great leader such as Mr. Hussain, we will bring revolution in the country to make Pakistan corruption free,


  • Saher Najam
    Aug 24, 2010 - 2:48AM

    I bet in times like this, no one gives a s**** bout democracy, judiciary or just whatever crap these politicians use to make fool out of us.

    Honestly, to hell with democracy, we have had enough of it already. Democracy for Pakistan is more like setting all the wild animals free. Recommend

  • DMI
    Aug 24, 2010 - 8:14AM

    My question to democracy supporter is that can Pakistan afford to continue with the current state of affairs for another three years? Sharifs and Zardaris are united to rule this country forever. Is this a democracy? Really shame on us. Can we bring the Musharraf era back when the country prospered in true sensed. Unfortunately prosperity of people does not suite to our political elite. Why is present political set up reluctant to conduct local body elections? I wish Musharraf to come back, but this time through vote if we want to practice real democracy in the country.Recommend

  • must mola
    Aug 24, 2010 - 11:24AM

    petrol price increase, foods prices increase, loadshedding increase, utility prices increase, int’l loan increase,corruption increase, fake degree cases increase, daroan attacks and target killing increase etc. but only one thing is decrease “PAKISTAN”Recommend

  • must mola
    Aug 24, 2010 - 11:25AM

    thanxs democracyRecommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Aug 24, 2010 - 11:37AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.I totally agree with Altaf’s statement that patriotic generals should impose martial law because we are facing the most worst form of democracy than dictatorship we have seen in General Zia’s and General Musharraf’s regime.Mostly in regard of price-hiking,corruption and instability in especially internal security conditions.In the present governmental conditions dictatorship is much the best than democracy because our leaders in the government and opposition are fighting like cats and dogs with each other and common man’s problems are still increasing in the form of price hiking of electricity and eatable items and are being ignored very badly also.Most of the our present leaders are corrupt and have declared themselves innocent thru NRO.Recommend

  • sadique.baloch
    Aug 24, 2010 - 4:56PM

    we are with altaf hussain what ever he says is absolutely rightRecommend

  • sadique.baloch
    Aug 24, 2010 - 5:00PM

    current situation of pk is getting worst, no any sincer politician is coming forward to honestly cooperate with the flood affectees. Leader of pakistan muslim leauge is politizing the natural phenomenon for his political designs, in keeping with the statent of the MQM leader, it is absolutely good for the pak army to impose martial law in order to save the pakistan from the corrupt politician who are not only destroying the future of the innocent people of pakistan but they are also destroying the future of the pakistan, Recommend

  • cheema
    Aug 24, 2010 - 6:11PM



  • Narzam
    Aug 24, 2010 - 11:55PM

    Your C-n-C, your retired bureaucrats masquerading as visionary politicians, and your support for unpopular steps through means as mean as “khuhroism” just to impose One Unit and your suppressing the popular dissent in East Pakistan through police and military high-handedness, and who was at the back of all this? Don’t you know? In India, there had remained one and the same PM from 47 to 62(if my memory supports me) with a change of 10 or 12 C-n-C’s during the same period. And in our dear homeland, this was quite the opposite, Mr Cheema.

    Anyway, lets put an end to this discussion.Recommend

  • Muhammad Saleem
    Aug 25, 2010 - 12:28AM

    MQM may be thinking that martial law is more sutable to them as they have enjoyed 9 years with Musharaf. People have right to ask why MQM did not ask ex-dictator to end land lordship and punish corrupt politicians. Where he was when Musharaf signed NRO. On the other hand they had backed Musharaf in each and every of his decision. I beleived in Altaf in many ways but this is 2nd time my support for him has vanished. He was the first person speaking in Pakistan media to nominate Zardari for president with his support. Other parties asked PPP to elect a non political person for the president but after Altaf’s statement they also put Zardari ahead in presidentail race. I think he has no clue what he thinks and talks.Recommend

  • ahafeez
    Aug 25, 2010 - 2:41AM

    Jinnah survived the assasination by hands of khaksar – rootrd from the heart land of feudals under relgious disguise. 1st prime minister assasinated by an afghan (where he was kept and trained no secret now). All started with creation of Pakistan. Get rid off the feudels or live in misery.Recommend

  • Zainab
    Aug 25, 2010 - 2:10PM

    What have we achieved in 2 years being a democratic country?

    -Blooming Economy?
    -Low unemployment rate?
    -Low on crime rate?
    -Eradicated Corruption?
    Our Prime Minister was fooled by fake camps at DI Khan which was flood affected where he was on a visit!?
    Democracy has never worked for our country.And it never will unless we have a President or Prime Minister other than a political party.

    Not a single politician or a leader has love for his/her country and/or fellow countrymen.They are just here to fill their pockets,travel extensively around the world on government expenses,live a luxuriious life and after 5 years,when the term is over they moved to Arab or European countries.
    We never learn from our mistakes from the past and we elect the same “people” again and again.

    General Musharaf’s regime faced a lot criticism but in the times like these we need such leadership.
    The only way i see it for my country is imposition of martial law.Recommend

  • qureshi
    Aug 25, 2010 - 11:58PM

    I agree with altaf sahib point of view. Create a neutral govt. of fair and just people( liberal minded–No religious person please). Bring a liberal and independant judiciary as todays judiciary is corrupt and consist mostly of mullahs with no respect to human rights especially minorities.Follow bangladesh lead and ban use of religion in politics. Control hate literature and strictly control mosques as they are centers of hate. Make good laws and implement with full force. Convert madrassahs in to public schools and teach tolerance and civility to students and respect for human rights. Change the constitution and make it secular republic as visioned in Jinnah August 11 ,1947 speech. only return to democracy once these goals are achieved. Recommend

  • ali
    Aug 26, 2010 - 2:47AM

    1st of all altaf h. did’t say ”he wants army in govt”…he always been against M law…only corrupt ppl r reacting against him,thats y a common man is in his favour,even those ppl who r useed to talk against him normally…so guys its a common man’s voice.Recommend

  • Annoyed pakistani
    Aug 26, 2010 - 4:54PM

    What democracy are we talking about? Is democracy about having to choose between the lesser of two evils namely the Bhutto’s and the Sharif’s? What has the current sham of a democracy offered us? The economy is going down south, inflation is at it’s zenith, corruption is at it’s peak. Our so called leaders are completely oblivious to the plight of the common man or perhaps they don’t even care. I am glad that Altaf Hussain has thrown a spanner in the wheel and raised a point that has mobilized the nation into a debate. I honestly hope that the army does take measures to rid of these incompetent leaders and unlike Musharraf actually take the current set of leaders to task for all their wrong doings. Recommend

  • aliya
    Aug 26, 2010 - 6:08PM

    we are agree with the statement of Altaf Hussain our Pakistan need army interference in the government . we have no trust on government they are selfish and unpatriotic, only want money for their own interest & having no interest for the development of our country as well as for our peopleRecommend

  • Ashiq Jaffery
    Aug 26, 2010 - 6:10PM

    The levels at which this call to topple democracy is heinous are too numerous to count. But consider Mr Hussain’s words: “If we have to choose between two evils, we will go for the lesser evil. If our generals are ready to take any initiatives against these criminals (politicians) who have looted and plundered this country, then we will welcome them.” Who is he appealing to, two generals, a few, or all the corps commanders? Is the recently reappointed chief of army staff (COAS) included or even the intended audience? If not, is he calling for a mutiny within the armed forces as well? And who is to certify the ‘patriotism’ of the potentially revolting officers? The demagogy a la Il Duce and the ‘captive’ audience of both glued to faceless speakers notwithstanding, Mr Hussain would have been well advised to think his too-clever-by-half instigation through. While Article 6 of the Pakistani constitution may not be of much consequence to such instigators, the top brass is not likely to look kindly at any turmoil within its own ranks.Recommend

  • maitre
    Sep 1, 2010 - 4:01PM

    “If our generals are ready to take any initiatives against these ‘criminals who have looted and plundered this country’ then we will welcome them,” he said.

    This is an ample proof of Altaf Hussain’s hypocracy as well as dual politics. He and his partymen think they can disorientate people with self-styled interpretation of his statement. In fact, MQM has no courage. How can a political party’s leadership can score high when their high ranks are sloppy ? How can MQM compare itself with PPP, the party which has brought democracy with their blood. No political party can match with PPP. In short, Altaf Hussain you are anti-democratic. You can voice against certain things from abroad. That’s all. Now stop interpretating differently.Recommend

  • ali
    Sep 2, 2010 - 2:43AM

    Army is the pain killer for today’s problems,then in the meantime we can find the anti biotic to correct our system,if we are serious to heel this worst system we have to do something right now,otherwise……..you never know.Recommend

  • Shaista
    Sep 8, 2010 - 7:54PM

    Currently the country is going through great turmoil. Pakistan has not
    witnessed such chaos in its history where millions have lost
    everything. It is not only the responsibility of the government, but
    all the nations, to come forward and help the homeless. During such
    disasters, it is also the responsibility of all intellectuals,
    educationists, media, politicians and every citizen to join hands and
    overcome the problems. But, unfortunately, the case is different in
    Pakistan. Here everyone is more interested in safeguarding their own
    interests. The recent statements by Altaf Hussain and talks of Imran
    Khan show their political immaturity and insincerity regarding
    democracy. Everyone knows that MQM was Ziaul Haq’s creation and
    Musharraf strengthened the party, and Imran Khan is the one who voted
    for a dictator in the 2002 referendum. The free judiciary that always
    takes suo motu actions should also take some serious notice of this
    issue because such statements are not only unethical and immoral but a
    violation of the constitution and both can be tried according to
    Article 6 of the constitution: “Any person who abrogates or subverts
    or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate
    or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the constitution by use of
    force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be
    guilty of high treason.”. Recommend

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