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Karachi

November 2, 2017

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No money laundering done after August 22 last year, claims Sattar

Denying all allegations of money laundering, Farooq Sattar, the chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, said on Wednesday that the businessman accusing him may himself have had been involved in the crime and was now levelling “baseless allegations” against others to save his own skin.

Addressing a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Bahadurabad, Sattar lashed out at Sarfaraz Merchant – the London-based businessman who has most recently levelled money laundering allegations on the MQM-P.

“Does being an approver mean that you can get away with the crimes that you have committed?” Sattar questioned. This was the first time that the MQM-P leader addressed the fresh money laundering allegations in a presser.

Sattar said that he could “assure” that no money laundering has been done by his party members, including Karachi deputy mayor Arshad Vohra who has defected to Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party, after August 22, 2016.

He added that if the illegal practice had been going on before that date, then it was not in his knowledge. The MQM-P leader claimed that Vohra had switched to the PSP after the Federal Investigation Agency started investigating him in the money laundering probe.

“Even though he [Vohra] has left us yet we maintain that he is innocent and so are others,” said Sattar. “We are being subjected to political victimisation through such fake cases.”

He insisted that some “invisible” or “hidden” forces were campaigning to sideline his party. When asked who these forces were, he said that apparently it was the FIA and other institutions that come under the interior ministry and ultimately the prime minister.

November 5 rally

Sattar further said the district administration and police had denied MQM-P permission to hold their November 5 rally at Mazar-e-Qauid because the venue was already hosting Qomi Awami Tehreek’s Grand Democratic Alliance.

“We sought permission on October 23 but on Monday we were told that our application was rejected and that we could not be accommodated at another place in the city because the police did not have enough resources to handle two events occurring simultaneously in the city,” he explained.

“This looks like a tactic to prevent our rally, yet, we will still cooperate with the authorities,” he said. Sattar urged the authorities to grant permission for the gathering either at Shahrah-e-Quaideen near Noorani Kabab House intersection or at Liaquatabad 10 at the same time and the same day.

He claimed that the police and other law-enforcement agencies were harassing and stopping MQM-P workers from campaigning for the rally. “Last night, our workers were pulled for mounting party flags at Aisha Manzil and Nagan Chowrangi. The LEAs said that flags were not allowed when flags of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Jamait-e-Talaba were already up,” he said.

“That seems a clear message to the people of Karachi and Sindh that they don’t have a right to politics,” he said. “Come what may, we have decided to hold a rally be it on Shahrah-e-Quaideen or in Liaquatabad,” he said, adding that the hurdles put in his away were forcing him to change his opinion about the current government being the exact opposite of being civilian and democratic.

The MQM-P leader also said that the National Assembly is likely to take up a delimitation bill on the provisional results of the population census in Karachi in its upcoming session starting Monday and if the matter of the “controversial results” is not taken up on time, things could get complicated.

No resignations

Moreover, the MQM-P seems to have changed its mind about resigning from the Senate, National and Sindh assemblies en bloc against “forced switches to the PSP”.

Earlier on Tuesday, Sattar had said that the defection of Vohra didn’t merit the action of which he had warned in an October 22 press conference saying that if any more of MQM-P’s elected representatives were forced to jump ship to Kamal’s party then his whole party will resign their seats in protest. 

“First, the prime minister and the army chief should tell us if we have a right to do politics and if they think of us as other countrymen or not,” the MQM-P chief said, speaking to The News on Tuesday. He added the matter of the collective resignations will be decided after that.

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