Nationwide deweaponisation: NA passes MQM’s resolution

ANP reacts to Farooq Sattar’s call for K-P to clamp down on weapon distribution network.


Qamar Zaman November 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD:


Finger-pointing and one-upmanship dominated the National Assembly sitting on Tuesday, soon after a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) resolution on deweaponising the whole country was passed in the session.


The resolution followed another one passed in Senate the previous day, which had limited the call for deweaponisation to Karachi only. The Senate resolution had been moved by MQM archrivals, the Awami National Party (ANP).

Outraged opponents of the resolution blamed Yasmeen Rehman, who was chairing the session in absence of the speaker and the deputy speaker. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Noor Alam Khan said “You have bulldozed and ignored our opinion,” adding that there should be a headcount of the resolution’s supporters.

Moved by Farooq Sattar, the resolution called upon the government to “recover illegal arms without any discrimination,” and to take appropriate measures “to deweaponise the country.”

Things heated up a little more when Sattar pointed fingers at Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), saying that there were several arms factories in the province and that the K-P Assembly should control their transportation to other cities, particularly Karachi.

He added that while there was always talk of political parties’ militant wings, no one spoke of the presence of thousands of Taliban in Karachi. The MQM leader then declared that the law and order situation in the city had been far better during the Musharraf era.



The ANP, however, did not react to this very well. Party leader Himayatullah Mayar urged the government to carry out an operation in Karachi, similar to the one carried out in K-P and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). “There is no peace in Karachi since the emergence of a particular party,” Mayar hinted, as he praised the controversial Naseeullah Babar – the man behind the Karachi operation in the 1990s.

ANP leader Bushra Gohar said a discussion on Karachi was taken as “interference”, but the actual interference was being done by “a foreigner from London”.

Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Sheikh Rohail Asghar from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), meanwhile, said that a mere resolution on deweaponisation could not improve the law and order situation.  “Terrorists will never disarm themselves and innocent will suffer,” said Baloch.

Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, also criticised the resolution, saying, “The Supreme Court had identified armed wings of political parties in Karachi. If you want deweaponisation in the country, then ask those wings to volunteer and surrender their arms.”

Fazl said that state and security institutions had failed to protect the lives of citizens and disarming people in such circumstances was leaving them at the mercy of miscreants and terrorists.



“If someone who I feel threatened by has arms, then I will also keep arms to protect myself,” Fazl said.

The house passed two separate and less controversial resolutions moved by PML-N and MQM, which condemned Israeli attacks on Gaza which have resulted in over a 100 deaths of innocent civilians, including women and children.

Altaf against operation

Meanwhile, MQM chief Altaf Hussain kept up his pre-emptive stance against an operation in Karachi for the second day in a row, in a speech to party workers in Faisalabad and Gujranwala.

Altaf said that if there was an operation against the MQM on the basis of “false and made-up allegations” the people of Punjab would protest in reaction. He reiterated that the ‘same stories’ were being repeated about the MQM that had been a pretext for the 1992 operation against the party in Karachi. “Once again, the status quo and its supporting feudals and landowners are joining hands for an operation in Karachi that would finish off the MQM,” a handout quoted Hussain as saying.

WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OUR CORRESPONDENT IN KARACHI

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2012.

COMMENTS (2)

John | 9 years ago | Reply

There should definitely be an operation in Karachi. The large metropolis requires attention. The masses will not be worried about operations or curfews as it doesn't affect them. From my recent visits to Pakistan, although the civilians are unhappy with the ruling coalition, they also agree that the best times that Karachi saw were after the "operation" that cleaned up the city in the early 90's.

Jewcifer | 9 years ago | Reply

Like criminals will start following law overnight. How naive of us.

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