ISLAMABAD: The war of words between Punjab-based leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) has heated up after MQM’s Sunday rallies.
The first salvo was fired on Monday in a news conference by senior PML-N leader Siddiqul Farooq, but on Tuesday, he went a step further while talking to The Express Tribune. Though he said that the PML-N was not worried about the MQM entering Punjab, he accused the MQM of involvement in target killings, ethnic violence, and extortions. “The MQM killed army people, assassinated their political opponents and killed those police officers who had dealt with the MQM criminals with an iron hand,” he said.
Farooq also questioned the patriotic credentials of MQM founder and chief Altaf Hussain, who has been living in London under self-imposed exile since 1992. “Altaf is now a British national so in case of a conflict between the interests of Pakistan and the UK, he would side with the UK. Why doesn’t he return to Pakistan and serve his people? His party has been in government under both President Musharraf and President Zardari.” The MQM has paid the PML-N back in the same coin. Talking to The Express Tribune, the upper Punjab organiser of the MQM Zahid Malik said the PML-N had panicked after the MQM held successful rallies simultaneously in Multan, Lahore and Rawalpindi on Sunday.
“Now, Altaf Bhai’s message is spreading like wildfire across Punjab and the PML-N is scared of losing its vote bank to the MQM,” he said. Malik accused PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif of burning some protesting labourers alive in the steel furnaces of his Ittefaq Foundry in Lahore. “The Sharif family killed innocent labourers. They burnt them alive in furnaces and Shahbaz Sharif, as the chief minister of Punjab, has killed hundreds of innocent people in staged police encounters,” he said.
Malik called Farooq a ‘personal servant’ of the Sharif brothers and said that they had unleashed him on the MQM because they were afraid of Altaf Hussain’s growing popularity in Punjab. “The people of Punjab have realised that only the MQM can liberate them from feudals, industrialists and the corrupt ruling elite,” he said.
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