MANSEHRA/ SUKKUR/ QUETTA/ ISLAMABAD/ HYDERABAD/ LAHORE/ KARACHI:
Altaf Hussain’s July 12 speech, wherein he allegedly criticised the armed forces and the paramilitary Rangers, seems to have opened a Pandora’s box for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief, as at least 30 FIRs have been filed against him at different police stations across the country in the past 24 hours.
In Sindh, at least 19 complaints have been filed against Altaf since Monday night. A citizen of Tando Ghulam Muhammad filed
an FIR against the MQM chief at a police station in Hyderabad under sections 121, 122 and 123 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Section 121 deals with waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the state. Sections 122 and 123 deal with collecting arms with the intention to wage war against the state as well as concealing plans with the intent to facilitate design to wage war, respectively.
Read: I may be jailed over fake cases, Altaf tells party workers
In Sukkur district, one complaint each was filed in Rohri and Kandhra. In Jacobabad district, one FIR each was filed in Dodhapur and at the Bahoo Khoso police station.
In Ghotki district, a lawyer registered his complaint in Mirpur Mathelo, while a citizen filed an FIR at the A-Section police station.
Citizens also filed cases in Tando Allahyar, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Matiari, Tharparkar and Larkana, while a social worker registered his complaint at a police station in Dadu.
Meanwhile, at least five FIRs were filed against Altaf the previous night at different police stations in Larkana, Khairpur and Jacobabad.
Four complaints were also filed at different police stations in Islamabad, while five more were registered in Balochistan’s Quetta, Chaman, Loralai and Pishin districts.
In Mansehra, the chairman of the local chapter of the Human Rights Forum registered an FIR against the MQM chief, while a citizen filed a case at the City police station in Gilgit as well.
Resolution against Altaf
A resolution demanding that the MQM chief be brought back to Pakistan and tried for his remarks against the armed forces was submitted in the Punjab Assembly Secretariat.
The resolution – submitted by Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Mehmoodur Rasheed and Deputy Opposition Leader Sibtain Khan – condemns the MQM chief’s “hateful and provocative” remarks against the armed forces and the Rangers, and demands that the federal government ensure that Altaf is arrested through Interpol and brought back home to be tried and punished as per law.
Rasheed is not the only Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader to have taken action against Altaf’s speech. Late Tuesday night, PTI Karachi President Ali Zaidi and media affairs chief Faisal Vawda filed a complaint against the MQM chief at the port city’s Darakhshan police station.
Moreover, PTI MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman said the party had decided to submit a resolution in the Sindh Assembly to condemn Altaf’s speech. He said a similar declaration would be submitted to the British Deputy High Commission.
Meanwhile, Information & Broadcasting Minister Pervaiz Rashid said Altaf should discontinue making speeches because “they always land him in trouble”. He said the MQM chief should write his own speeches because the people who are doing that for him right now “don’t seem to be of sound mental health”.
MQM stages protest demo
“You can declare us terrorists through the Supreme Court and ban us. But without proof, don’t doubt our patriotism and don’t carry out our media trial,” said MQM leader Farooq Sattar outside the Karachi Press Club, where party leaders and workers had gathered to protest against Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s statements against the MQM chief.
“Their statements are a part of vicious conspiracies aimed at creating a rift between Altaf and his workers,” said Sattar.
He said the MQM supports the army, but all the party requests is that brutalities and injustices against MQM workers be stopped. “The gist of Altaf’s July 12 speech is that he supports the armed forces; he’s with them.”
Read: Four FIRs registered against MQM chief Altaf Hussain in Sindh
Earlier, addressing army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, MQM MPA Rauf Siddiqui said: “We’re not enemies; Altaf is not an enemy; he is a friend.” The protesters were surrounded by Rangers personnel deployed around the press club for snap-checking the people participating in the demonstration.
Meanwhile, MQM workers also staged a protest outside the Hyderabad Press Club, where they shouted slogans against Nisar and Asif.
Party workers ‘detained’
A party spokesperson claimed that nearly a dozen MQM workers were detained by the paramilitary force while they were preparing for the protest outside the Karachi Press Club. Moreover, he said, Sattar was briefly held up after the protest. “The Rangers also harassed MQM workers gathering at the press club.”
A senior official of the paramilitary force, however, denied that any party worker was picked up from the protest venue.
Regarding Sattar, he said the MQM leader was stopped for snap-checking but was later allowed to go.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2015.