Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain spoke to Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Interior Minister Rehman Malik over the Eid holidays and expressed concern over the recent surge in sectarian violence in the country.
“The people who are taking Shias off buses and killing them after identifying them are not just murdering Shias, they are conspiring to murder Pakistan,” Altaf said, according to a statement issued by the MQM.
The MQM chief held: “The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was also a Khoja Ithna Asheri Shia... when he died he had two funerals.”
One was led by Allama Shabbir Ahmed Usmani and the other was led by a Shia cleric, and anyone who denies this is denying a fact, Altaf asserted.
He said every Shia and every Pakistani citizen – whether Hindu, Christian, Sikh or of any other faith – are equal Pakistanis. People who are forcing Hindus, Christians and other non-Muslims to leave Pakistan are actually tyrannising the country and Jinnah’s teachings, according to him.
“If true Pakistanis do not end this, the country’s future will be engulfed by darkness.”
In response, Interior Minister Malik told Altaf that those people who wanted to stoke sectarianism were not friends of Pakistan, while the prime minister said that killing anyone because of their religion was an act of brutality and oppression.
Malik also added that Pakistan needed unity at the moment and one should not differentiate among citizens.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2012.