KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution with lawmakers of the MQM also supporting it to condemn the founder of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Altaf Hussain for his controversial speech on 22 August, 2016 and the resultant violence in Karachi and to demand action in accordance with Article 6 of the Constitution against persons who chanted anti-Pakistan slogans, jeopardised the integrity of the country, and caused violence and crime.
The lawmakers belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, the opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), PML(N), and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf all agreed to a unanimous draft of the resolution tabled in the house to condemn the highly-controversial speech made by the MQM’s leader last month. Some eight lawmakers of all these political parties became joint signatories to the consensus draft of the resolution.
On Tuesday, a day before the new session of the Sindh Assembly was to begin, lawmakers of PPP, PTI, and PML(F) had submitted their separate resolutions against Altaf Hussain demanding action and registration of a high-treason case against him for his provocative speech containing anti-state slogans on August 22.
The draft of the resolution unanimously passed by the assembly stated: “This house condemns in strong words the incident of chanting of anti-Pakistan slogans and controversial and provocative speech by founder of MQM Altaf Hussain from London at hunger strike camp at the Karachi Press Club on 22 August, 2016 and the attack on basis and integrity of Pakistan and resultant violence against media houses especially attack on ARY channel.
“This house condemns all sorts of slogans or actions causing crime, violence, terrorism, and anti-Pakistan sentiments from any side and demands that most stern action, that too on swift basis, should be taken against such persons in accordance with law and Article 6 of Constitution.
“This house also expresses complete solidarity with Pakistani parliament, armed forces, media, judiciary and all democratic institutions working under the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
The resolution was read separately in the house by parliamentary party leader of MQM in Sindh Assembly Syed Sardar Ahmed, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of PML(F), Khurram Sher Zaman of PTI, Khairunnisa Mughal of PPP and Sorath Thebo of PML(N).
In their speeches in the house before the adoption of the resolution, the lawmakers, both on the treasury and opposition benches, while condemning the seditious and provocative remarks of Altaf Hussain, also lauded the gesture of the local leadership of MQM Pakistan to completely dissociate itself from the London-based leadership of the party owing to its continuous anti-state and violent tendencies.
Expressing their views on the resolutions, MQM’s legislators said that all scepticism, suspicions, and lack of trust in their party and its supporters should come to an end by powers that be when the local leadership of Muttahida had ditched their beloved leader for the sake of patriotism, peace, and shunning violence in Karachi. Speaking on the resolution, Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that entire people of a community should not be maligned and condemned on the basis of foul and anti-state language by a single person of such community.
He said it was a good sign that the MQM had shown embarrassment and distanced itself from its London based leader after he had shown ill will against the country. He said that Pakistan had not been founded on the basis of any language and if extremism on the basis of religion was being shunned in the country, then extremism on the basis of language should be opposed on an equal basis.
He said that the speech against the solidarity of the country on 22 August was delivered at such a time when negotiations with local leadership of the MQM had reached at an advanced stage and were nearing conclusion while the London-based leader of the party uttered provocative remarks when he had sensed that the political situation in Karachi was no more under his control.
Without explicitly naming the MQM, Khuhro said that a party had launched politics on the basis of language while exploiting the community where it had popular support, which had migrated to the country to get settled here after leaving their ancestral lands.
He said that the same party, despite changing its name, continued with its politics on the basis of language.He said that the PPP, despite losing its immensely popular national level leaders one by one, had never raised any slogan against the integrity and solidarity of the country.
Khurram Sher Zaman of PTI welcomed and eulogized the spirit shown by the MQM lawmakers in the house by supporting the resolution against their London-based leader, saying he hoped that the party would shun forever violent and criminal tendencies among its rank and file.
He suggested that a case of high-treason under Article 6 of the Constitution should be lodged and pursued against the founder of the MQM while death penalty should be awarded to him for being disloyal to his native land. He said that a case of high-treason should have been lodged against Altaf Hussain many years ago when he had set on fire the national flag and later delivered a speech against Pakistan during his visit to India in 2004.
He said that the people of Karachi would now never accept the culture of politics whose basis is target killings, stuffing dead bodies in gunny bags and extortion of money.
He said that no political party should be allowed to operate in the country that harboured a militant wing in its ranks.Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, a lawmaker of PML(F), said that MQM’s local leadership had made a tough decision by supporting a resolution presented against its own leader.
He said the leadership of the MQM Pakistan had made the right choice as they had no other choice except to live and die in Pakistan. Deputy Speaker of the Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza said that the MQM, by supporting the consensus resolution moved in the house, had done the mandatory act to save and conserve sacrifices rendered by their forefathers at the time of the creation of Pakistan.
MQM’s MPA Faisal Ali Sabzwari said that the MQM had resorted to hunger strike to get attention from the state’s institutions concerned for fulfilment of its justified demands.He said the hunger strike camp had not been established by the MQM at the Press Club to chant anti-Pakistan slogans but unfortunately this incident had occurred.
He said the MQM’s local leadership had completely distanced itself from its leader on whom they had based and done their entire politics, admired him and were always ready to sacrifice their lives.
He said the hard decision had been made by the MQM Pakistan for the sake of longevity and integrity of Pakistan. He said the Mohajir community should not be considered as traitors to the country while his party should also not be viewed as being a traitor to the Mohajir people.
Faisal Sabzwari said that he didn’t consider himself as being a Mohajir as he was a pure bonafide citizen of Pakistan as he wasborn and bred in the country. He said that during his school days he had learnt the Sindhi language and he understood spoken and written Sindhi to a large extent while he considered himself as a new Sindhi.
MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed said that while remarks uttered by Altaf Hussain were no doubt condemnable but instead of making any recommendation by the lawmakers as to which section of law or the Constitution should be invoked to punish the MQM founder, the matter should be left at the discretion of the police and court as per the spirit of the law.
Leader of the Opposition Khawaja Izharul Hassan said the incident, which had occurred on 22 August, had taken place at a time when representatives of a number of political parties had visited the hunger strike camp of the MQM and expressed solidarity with the humanitarian and just cause of his party.
He said that on 22 August when he had received a telephone call from the chief minister informing him about the violent incidents in the city, he had promptly suggested to the CM to take stern action against the law breakers.
He said after the incident of August 22, it was a highly feasible option for the local leadership of the party to either flee from the country or change their party affiliation but they had chosen the most difficult option to remain within the country and face the hostile situation here for the sake of peace in the city.
He said the decision taken by local leaders of the MQM had been made without coming under the influence of any temptation, compulsion or pressure while they had chosen such a difficult path without any personal and vested interests.
He said the MQM Pakistan would continue to support the targeted operation in Karachi against criminals for peace in the city but miscreants should not be apprehended and imprisoned in a manner that it could undermine his own and family members’ prestige and dignity.
He said in a situation when people had decades-long and selfless commitment and association with their leader, it was possible for them to get provoked and resort to violence on the call of their beloved leader.
He said that concerned circles should not view the MQM Pakistan as being disloyal to the state when it had deleted the name of its founder from the constitution of the party, supported resolutions against him and doing so was not an easy job.
Later, Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani put to vote the resolution in the house and all the lawmakers in attendance supported its passage.For some time, members of Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue witnessed proceedings of the Sindh Assembly from the VIPs gallery as they had come to the assembly building to hold a meeting of the standing committee.
Earlier, the speaker administered oath of office to two newly returned MPAs of PPP who had won the recently-held by-elections in the province. They were Ghulam Murtaza Baloch and Aurangzeb Panhwar, who won the by-elections for constituencies PS-127 Karachi and PS-14 Jacobabad, respectively.
Meanwhile, the imprisoned MQM MPA Abdul Rauf Siddiqui was especially brought from the Central Prison Karachi in an armoured personnel carrier by the police to take part in the assembly’s session as the jailed MQM legislators also voted in favour of the resolution.
Rauf Siddiqui said that the people of Karachi, whose forefathers had migrated from their native areas, abandoned all their wealth and belongings, and sacrificed their lives for their new homeland, could never listen to any speech made against the integrity and solidarity of Pakistan. He said the MQM Pakistan had completely dissociated with its foreign-based leader who had uttered remarks against Pakistan.
Earlier, on his arrival in the premises of the Sindh Assembly, Rauf Siddiqui, talking to newsmen, said that at present there was no Quaid (leader) of his party as Dr Farooq Sattar was the head of MQM Pakistan. He said that there was no pressure on him in the prison to change his political loyalty.
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