ISLAMABAD: The statement of MQM chief Altaf Hussain has created quite a stir in the political circles of the country, with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif saying that the “pro-martial law statement” was based on “ill-intent”.
“Altaf Hussain’s party is a signatory to the 18th amendment and yet he is favouring the imposition of martial law in the country,” Sharif told journalists in Dera Ismail Khan. He added that such statements could negatively impact the democratic process.
On Sunday Altaf Hussain demanded of the Pakistan Army generals to take action against “corrupt politicians”, saying that “the MQM will openly support such generals.”
Calling the statements “irresponsible”, opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that the PML-N will submit a privilege motion in the National Assembly against the statements. He added that the Supreme Court and the Election Commission should also take note of it.
However, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that it has not yet been realised in what context Hussain had made the statement.
Speaking to journalists in Gilgit-Biltistan, the premier also pointed out that the country has been confronting a number of challenges and at this juncture of time the government “does not want to indulge in any sort of confrontational politics”.
However, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Hussain’s remarks were against the wishes of the people who achieved democracy after great sacrifices. Kaira added that the PPP will take up the issue with Hussain who, he said, “as a politician should not have made such remarks”.
Similarly, a press statement issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) stated that although there may be many complaints against politicians and the government, a return to military rule is not the solution. The statement added that the MQM chief’s remarks are all the more mischievous and entirely inappropriate at a time when the country is devastated by its worst natural disaster in living memory.
On the other hand the MQM defended its chief’s statement. Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar said the MQM is a democracy-loving party which has always stood for the rule of law and the constitution but it believes that the armed forces can take steps to eliminate feudalism and corruption prevalent in the country.
(AGENCIES With additional reporting by Asim Awan in Islamabad and Sarfaraz Memon in Sukkur)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2010.