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October 7, 2011

All parties deny hand in extortion, violence


October 7, 2011

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the Sunni Tehreek (ST) on Thursday took strong exception to the Supreme Court’s verdict in the suo moto case of target killings in Karachi, while other parties welcomed the judgment in which the apex court observed that the ruling PPP, MQM, ANP, ST and JI were involved in extortion cases.
However, all of them denied their involvement in extortion and violence.
A PPP leader, Taj Haider, said the court’s observation that the PPP was involved in extortion was not based on evidence.
Talking to The News, the PPP’s general secretary in Sindh said that no judgment of courts would help restore peace and curb target killings. “Peace can only be restored through government initiatives and the law and order situation has already improved due to government efforts.”
The MQM and the ANP, however, lauded the verdict, saying it would help restore peace in the violence-plagued city.
“We sincerely respect the decision of the Supreme Court and hope that it will go a long way in bringing durable peace in Karachi and the criminal elements will be weeded out,” said a statement issued by the MQM’s Coordination Committee.
The party thanked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges for taking notice of the failing law and order situation, saying it saved the lives of a lot of innocent people.
The Supreme Court took suo moto notice of Karachi’s law and order situation in August, the most violent month in the recent history of the city when hundreds of people were shot dead after ethnic violence erupted due to political differences.
Although the Muttahida did not reject the apex court’s observation about the party’s role in the extortion cases, it pledged to block infiltration of criminals into the party. “There is no room for criminal elements in the party. The MQM had expelled criminal elements in the past, and it has again issued strict instructions to

zones, units and sectors to ensure that no criminal manages to infiltrate into the rank and file of the party,” said the Coordination Committee.
The court on Thursday instructed the political parties to take action against criminal elements who were exploiting party affiliations for criminal activities.
The PPP leader, Taj Haider, also said the PPP-led government had resolved around four months ago that there was no place for criminals in the politics and action would be taken against all criminals irrespective of their political affiliations.
Another PPP leader and Speaker Sindh Assembly, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, also did not seem happy with the SC’s judgment. He said that terrorism was not Sindh’s problem only. “It’s also a problem for the whole world. The government is taking strict measures to curb the menace.”
He also reminded the Supreme Court about the cases pending with courts. “Thousands of cases are pending with Supreme Court. Isn’t it a violation of human rights?” asked the speaker.
The Awami National Party (ANP) also lauded the judgment but maintained that his party was not involved in extortion. “The ANP is not involved in extortion or violence as some persons’ individual acts should not be considered as party policy.”
An ANP spokesman said in a statement that his party had presented evidence against the elements behind target killings and extortion as the law-enforcement agencies were not willing to produce those pieces of evidence before the court.
The ANP also welcomed the SC’s direction to the government to purge the police from political influence so that it could take action against criminals.
The party spokesman added that the government was bound to act on the court’s orders, terming the constitution of a monitoring committee an important step towards lasting peace in the city.
The Jamaat-e-Islami also rejected the court’s observation, saying that it would challenge the decision in the Supreme Court.
A JI spokesman said that the judgment was not based on evidence, but on a fabricated report of the joint investigation team.
Similarly, the Sunni Tehreek (ST) denied its involvement in extortion. “The ST is the only party which, from day one, has been critical of the Bhatta Mafia,” ST chief Sarwat Ejaz Qadri said. “We are ready to appear in the Supreme Court to clarify our position.”
The JI general secretary, Liaquat Baloch, said that the Supreme Court had referred to statements of certain parties in the judgment. “So it’s not a court verdict. It is simply a reference.”
He said that a list of 88 people was presented before the SC. Only one of them, Fazl-ur-Rehman, belonged to the JI and appeared at a police station on September 20 to clarify his position and the very next day he denied allegations and announced he would file a defamation suit in the court, he added.
The JI said that even fierce opponents of the party had never accused it of taking donations forcibly. He said the decision on false reports and without investigations was tantamount to the murder of justice.
The general secretary of the Karachi Bar Association, Haider Imam Rizvi, welcomed the SC judgment, and said it was comprehensive and if implemented in letter and spirit it would yield result and the situation would normalise.

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