HYDERABAD/ KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart Nabeel Gabol forsook his 25-year-long affiliation with the party to join Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), reiterating his demand for “across-the-board targeted operation against criminals in Karachi”.
On Sunday, former MNA Gabol arrived at MQM headquarters in Karachi, Nine-Zero, to formally announce his decision at a press conference along with MQM deputy convener Farooq Sattar.
“A targeted operation should be carried out across Karachi irrespective of parties, groups and ethnicities,” said Gabol adding that “outlaws are not present just in Lyari.”
Gabol, however, retracted an earlier statement he had made in January about the need of a “Naseerullah Babar-style operation” in Karachi.
“That operation was a politically motivated one targeting a particular ethnic group. I, however, demand across-the-board action.”
His demand might not sit well with the veteran members in his fresh league. The MQM has openly conveyed reservations about an operation based on its claims that the party had suffered twice during past such actions.
Moreover, Gabol said that he would work to remove the misconception that MQM is a party of one ethnic group by bringing together Sindhis, Baloch and Mohajirs.
“I offer guarantee to the Lyari residents that when they move past the Lea Market (the area where Lyari leaders’ influence ends), MQM activists will provide them protection.”
Why quit PPP?
Gabol said he had been thinking of quitting PPP for the last one year.
“All parties offered me the best but [MQM chief] Altaf Hussain would always approach me personally in troubled times,” he said while citing his reasons for joining the party.
Gabol accused PPP of no longer being “Benazir Bhutto’s party” whose aim was to serve humanity.
“The current PPP leadership, in past five years, ignored my constituency Lyari and led it to the point of destruction,” he said.
Gabol, in reply to a question, said that he can still enter Lyari and invited the media to accompany him.
MQM deputy convener Farooq Sattar welcomed Gabol to the party. “This step will help narrow down the gap between the ‘new Sindhis’ – the Urdu-speaking people – and the old [native] Sindhis,” he said.
The chief of MQM, Altaf Hussain, on Sunday in an address to party workers preparing for a public meeting on 29th founding day of the party in Mirpurkhas said that Baloch people in province of Sindh should take clue from Gabol’s move.
“Gabol’s joining MQM has proved that it is a party of all Pakistanis regardless of their religious and ethnic identities,” said the MQM chief.
He also urged chief of Minhajul Quran International, Tahirul Qadri to support MQM in the upcoming elections if his party opts not to contest the polls.
Three MQM workers shot dead in Hyderabad
Unidentified persons opened indiscriminate fire with automatic weapons on Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) sector office in SITE area killing three MQM workers, Azeem Shoro, Murtaza Kunbhar and Sher Muhammad Noonari and injuring Wahid Bux Noonari.
The dead and injured were shifted to Civil Hospital. A large number of Muttahida leaders and activists reached the hospital where MQM’s Hyderabad zone in-charge Muhammad Sharif condemned the incident and urged the party workers to remain peaceful.
According to eyewitnesses, armed men riding two motorbikes opened fire on the workers who were sitting in a camp outside the sector office and escaped unchallenged.
The workers were playing the party songs in the camp to celebrate the MQM’s 29th founding day.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2013.