Almost all speculations regarding Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief’s “political drone” strike were proved wrong on Thursday.
Despite widespread criticism, the MQM will continue to support and participate in Dr Tahirul Qadri’s “million-man” march at any cost.
Altaf Hussain has no plans of returning to Pakistan.
For the most part, Altaf’s much-anticipated drone attack was historical and political reasoning justifying his British passport.
In a two-and-a-half-hour telephonic address from London at the Lal Qila ground on Thursday, the MQM chief asserted that his party will take part in Dr Qadri’s long march because no law prevented them from criticising the government while being a part of the administration.
He complained that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and other political and religious parties have held long marches in the past but only MQM was being criticised for their participation in the march.
Justifying British passport
In an apparent justification for possessing a British passport, Altaf pointed out that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself possessed “a British passport” and his oath as the first governor general of the country demanded his loyalty to the then British King George VI.
“Those who are calling me a traitor for possessing a British passport, I want to tell them that Jinnah had a British passport. He took oath of serving the British under forceful circumstances. I also have a British passport because I was forced to.”
He claimed that those who possess dual nationalities were as loyal as the citizens in one’s homeland.
Whilst party workers distributed copies of Jinnah’s passport, Altaf said that the first suicide attack in the country took place on him in December 1991. “I escaped the attack, but my life was in danger and everyone advised me to go. I did not leave Pakistan because I wanted to. I left because I had to.”
He then asked the chief justice to reconsider the apex court decision against dual nationality. “Those who have dual citizenship are not traitors. No one wants to leave the country out of their free will. They do because of life threatening situations.”
Supporting the Minhaj-ul-Quran chief, Altaf said that Qadri’s dual nationality should not be doubted.
In a dramatic fashion, he said: “For 22 years, I have been in exile. Not a single day goes by [without me] wishing I was back in my country.”
He then asked his party workers whether he should return home.
On behalf of the gathering, MQM Deputy Convener Farooq Sattar replied, “Bhai, the situation of Karachi is in front of you. Please don’t come back.”
He said that by stating such facts about Jinnah, he was not accusing the founder of the nation. “I am just stating that what he did was under compulsion. I was also forced to leave the country and acquire a British passport in order to seek refuge. It is not my fault that I am not friends with the Saudi prince like Nawaz Sharif is.”
Local body elections
Earlier in his address, the MQM chief demanded the local body system to be restored. “The local body elections are the primary school for breeding democracy. If floods come, no parliamentarian would ever visit the affected people. Only the councillor will do that.”
In a stern warning to the ruling party, he said that the PPP wanted to make Sindhi nationalists happy by not introducing the local body elections, but they should know that, “If Urdu speaking people are hurt, they would be forced to raise slogans for a separate province. And we never want that.”
He said that although Urdu speaking Sindhis don’t want the division of Sindh, opposition of local government system could lead them to call for the province’s division.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2013.
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