KARACHI: Issuing a strong condemnation against the Ishq-e-Rasool Day riots, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain said that the people of Pakistan, to protest against blasphemy committed by others, were slitting throats of their own brothers.
“The filmmaker is sitting comfortably in America… Will you slaughter your own sister, brother, mother over blasphemy committed by someone else? What kind of love is this for the Prophet (pbuh)?”
Enumerating the losses of life and property suffered on the Ishq-e-Rasool Day, Hussain said that the “extremists and terrorists” looted everything and even had electronic cutters to cut away and steal entire ATM machines.
“Protesters had sticks in their hands. They had special ATM machine cutters. It depicts that they were not there to express love for the prophet (pbuh) or protest against the film. But instead, taking Ishq-e-Rasool as an excuse, they had left their homes to loot and kill,” Hussain stated while asking the audience if any of the looters were from Karachi. The audience replied in negative.
“We burnt down a church in the name of Ishq-e-Rasool. What if, in the name of Eshwar, Krishna or Jesus Christ, someone burns down our mosques?” Hussain asked which was followed by a heavy silence from the audience. “Blasphemy should not be committed against any prophet under the banner of freedom of speech,” he maintained.
Calling out to all “liberal, democratic, progressive and secular” people of the country, Hussain asked, “Do you want a Taliban-type, al Qaeda-type Pakistan or a liberal, educated, progressive Pakistan?
“Now is the time to come forward and break the criminal silence.”
While serving an apology for being harsh during his speech, Hussain said that his greater interest was to save Pakistan.
Hussain also condemned the karo kari that is practiced in the name of honour in parts of Pakistan. “If a girl marries out of her own will, according to Shariah, then she is accused of karo kari and is murdered.
“If we love Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), then we have to get rid of karo kari,” he stressed.
He added that those who bury women alive should be buried and the “skulls should be disjointed” of those who murder in the name of honour.
Absence of leadership?
The party leader said that people always complain that there is an absence of good leadership in the country, but he said that new leaders “won’t descend from the sky in the form of angels”.
“If you can’t see the right leaders, then it is not anyone’s fault,” he asserted and told the audience about how he was the first one to lodge his protest against the blasphemous film when all the others were asleep. “They were sleeping when I sent a telegram to Ban Ki-moon and the OIC that this [film] is intolerable.”
Addressing the Pakistani youth, he said, “If you don’t want to come forward then I won’t have any other choice than to back out from Pakistan’s politics… Decide and tell me today, do you want me to say goodbye forever?”