Order in the House: CM accuses MQM of attacking his house

Party MPAs suggest Qaim Ali Shah should file an FIR against them if he can prove it did happen.

Our Correspondent January 27, 2015
"People were also being killed when the MQM was part of the provincial government. Why were there no protests then?" Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. PHOTO: NNI

KARACHI: All was not well at Sindh Assembly on Tuesday as the treasury and opposition benches sat daggers drawn at each other.

The problem started when the chief minister said that on the night of January 10, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had attacked his official residence.

A little over two weeks ago, the MQM had held a sit-in outside Chief Minister House to protest the deaths of four party workers. They waited for more than eight hours for the CM or someone from the Sindh government to address their issues but no one stepped out. The party decided to go on strike but decided to call it off hours later due to a tragic accident between a tanker and passenger coach on the highway in which more than 60 people were killed.

The MQM responded to Qaim Ali Shah's accusation strongly and said that if they had attacked the residence, then an FIR should be lodged against the party.

MQM MPAs shouted slogans against the government and left their seat while the chief minister continued to address the House.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon and the finance minister, Murad Ali Shah, had to get in the way of MQM lawmakers who were heading towards Shah's seat at the head of the treasury benches.

The CM's rebuttal came after MQM's Khwaja Izharul Haq demanded that the provincial government should investigate the extrajudicial killing of their party workers. "We waited outside CM House for 10 hours with the bodies," he said. "No one from the government took notice of the killing of our party's workers."

To this the CM quipped: "People were also being killed when the MQM was part of the provincial government. Why were there no protests then?"

As voices and temperatures started to rise, the CM asked MQM MPA to calm down and behave or no one would be allowed to talk.

"You have to listen to us," he said. "Why did you come to CM House that day?" The chief minister tried to back up his statements by claiming that CCTV cameras installed around his residence showed that MQM workers and leader had removed the blockades and entered the red zone.

While addressing the House, the chief minister said that he had spoken to the governor of Sindh. He added that the governor, IG Police, DIG Police and Sharjeel Memon had also been in touch with MQM leaders during the sit-in.

An emotionally charged Shah then asked the MQM who was in power when 42 of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) workers were killed on May 12, 2007.

"Several PPP workers have been targeted," he said. "They were being killed before the Karachi operation started and are still being killed." He added that the decision to go ahead with the Karachi operation was taken a year and a half ago. It was a decision, he claimed, that was supported by the prime minister, governor and leaders of different political parties, including the MQM, PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional.

According to the chief minister, the Sindh government had given complete powers to the Rangers DG and Sindh IG. "I have complete data that shows how street crime, target killings, kidnapping for ransom, extortion and militant activities have gone down in the city," he said. "Militants are being traced by our government. They were free before we came into power."

The MQM walked out of the House while the chief minister was speaking.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2015.


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