The federal interior minister has come out all guns blazing against MQM chief Altaf Hussain, comparing the latest outburst of the London-based leader to the anti-Pakistan statements of hostile countries.
“He [Altaf Hussain] has crossed all his limits. Our patience is over. Enough is enough,” said Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in a statement issued on Monday, while referring to the MQM chief’s criticism of the paramilitary Rangers for allegedly targeting his party workers in Karachi. “The time has come to formally talk to the British government about him.”
Comparing Altaf’s recent disapproval of the security agencies with other countries particularly India, the interior minister said the MQM leader’s anger and desperation had reached its climax as the British authorities were tightening the noose around him.
“Altaf’s speech is the height of provocative acts, unacceptable and extremely condemnable,” he said. “No country can allow anyone to level baseless allegations against the military establishment as well as the law enforcement agencies of Pakistan.”
He noted that the words used by the MQM chief with reference to 1971, the year East Pakistan parted its ways with Western Pakistan, were similar to the point India was making. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had admitted on his visit to Bangladesh last month that the Indian establishment played a key role in dividing Pakistan 44 years ago.Nisar added that Altaf’s threats to the security agencies were not understandable. “Pakistan, its military or the Rangers are not responsible for the crisis Altaf is facing,” he said. “This is his own doing.”
He said the MQM chief was degrading the Urdu-speaking community by using abusive language and derogatory remarks against state institutions. “The government has always shown tolerance with his baseless allegations but we have run out of patience now.”
Insiders at the interior ministry told The Express Tribune that Nisar was expected to meet British High Commissioner Philip Barton this week. “He will take up this issue with him while the Pakistani High Commission in London will also take up this issue accordingly,” a senior official said.
The security establishment is believed to be pushing the civilian government to file a treason case against the MQM supremo as well as Baloch separatists in a move to formally request the United Kingdom to extradite them, security officials say.
The officials claim this move might prove productive for maintaining peace in the metropolis as well as the volatile areas of the troubled Balochistan province.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif also criticised Altaf for issuing ‘irresponsible statements’ from London, saying his tirade against state institutions “was not permissible in any way”.
Talking to a news channel, the minister said he respected the MQM’s vote bank but it did not mean the party chief could criticise anyone and then seek forgiveness the next day.
He added that the MQM chief should come to Pakistan to lead his party.
“Pakistan Army and other security institutions are fighting against terrorism with fortitude and have achieved remarkable success,” he said. “The nation is united and the security forces are ready to face any challenge to the country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.