HYDERABAD/ KARACHI: The three-day mourning for the deceased MPA of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and his son came to an end with the party’s vigil at Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum on Sunday.
Along with the shift in the party’s traditional venues, the theme of the vigil was also not MQM-centric as feelings of nationalism were incorporated in the overall atmosphere. The vigil against militancy, titled Peace for Karachi, Peace for Pakistan, was attended by hundreds of people.
MPA Sajid Qureshi and his son, Waqas Qureshi, were killed on Friday after which the party announced a three days of mourning.
National songs blared in the background as people chanted patriotic slogans from time to time. Tables were placed at the centre where several dozen paper lamps were arranged and lit by people belonging to different walks of life, including artists, literary figures, sportsmen, and religious scholars.
While explaining the objectives behind organising the vigil, MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi said that the party, on the grounds of the Quaid’s mausoleum, wanted to give a clear message to the authorities - people of Pakistan were united against the menace of terrorism. For this purpose, the party had extended an open invitation for participation which received full support of Karachi’ites, said Rizvi.
“Terrorism has engulfed lives of more than 50,000 Pakistanis, including 7,000 members of the armed forces - this is now or never situation for the country,” he said. “Today, we have reached the point where at one side there are terrorists and on the other, victims of terrorism who belong to all religions, ethnicities, sects and communities without any exception.”
MQM leader Farooq Sattar, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that it is a time when all political parties and their leadership should be on the same page.
Over what the party terms an ongoing spate of target and extra-judicial killings of its workers and supporters, Sattar said that despite efforts to curtail the party’s performace in elections through bomb blasts, the MQM has emerged with even more seats. “Now we are being given this message that despite your massive mandate, the terrorist will rule over this city.”
Speaking about the killings on tourists in Gilgit-Baltistan, Sattar said that Pakistan and terrorism cannot co-exist any longer - either Pakistan will survive by eliminating terrorists or it will collapse and terrorists will reign supreme.
Senator Mustafa Kamal, MQM coordination committee’s member, said that the war against terrorism was not between any specific political party and group. Instead, he said, the war was between people of Pakistan and the terrorists.
Kamal declared it a “psychological warfare” that will test the nerves of around 99.9 per cent Pakistanis in their firm stand against the handful terrorist groups. “To defeat the menace of terrorism we will have to fight a long war and endure hardships to get through,” he said.
Other parts of Sindh
The supporters of MQM also staged protests in Hyderabad, Benazirabad, Sanghar and other districts on Sunday. The protesters condemned the killings of the MPA and his son in Karachi and demanded an end to the alleged killing and enforced disappearances of the MQM workers. “If you want to save Pakistan, stop killing the MQM workers and produce the missing ones,” said MQM’s in charge Hyderabad zone, Muhammad Sharif, while addressing the demonstrators outside the press club.
He asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif why an operation was not being launched against Lyari’s gangsters.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2013.
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