ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians in the Senate on Wednesday slammed the controversial statement of MQM chief Altaf Hussain about Sindh, as both opposition and treasury senators warned the party not to create division among the nation.
They were also of the view that raising this issue at this critical time was aimed at diverting people’s attention from the treason trial against former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf.
Senator Mushahidullah Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that the MQM is making a hue and cry in the name of Sindh I and Sindh II for some vested interest, igniting people in the name of Mohajirs.
In a bid to divert attention from the issue of Gen Musharraf’s trial, he added, the MQM has even dubbed army generals Mohajirs, Punjabis and Sindhis which is not acceptable.
“There is no Mohajir, Sindi and Punjabi… we all are Pakistanis and this rhetoric to divide the nation must stop,” he added.
According to the senator, the MQM chief was seen nowhere when Gen Musharraf disgraced renowned nuclear scientist, who is also a Mohajir. He said that the father of the country’s nuclear bomb was humiliated on charges of nuclear proliferation but the MQM remained tight-lipped.
He said that if the MQM is that much concerned about Mohajirs, the party should have stopped Musharraf when he was going to launch the Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad, adding that this was Altaf Hussain who first telephoned Musharraf and congratulated him for the crackdown on seminary students.
The senator regretted that it was again the MQM which helped Musharraf in the May 12 incident in Karachi, adding that now when it is time for accountability of Musharraf for his past mistakes, the MQM is making hue and cry by talking about division of Sindh.
PPP Senator Mukhtar Ahmad Dhamra also criticised the MQM, saying that “any division of Sindh in the name of so-called Mohajir mantra despite passage of 50 years will be resisted”. “There is no Mohajir in Sindh and people living in Sindh are only Sindhis. This concept of calling some people Mohajirs for some vested interests must stop as this creates problems for the country and we will not allow anybody to divide the people of Sindh,” he said.
He said the MQM should not forget that the province which it wants to divide has an Urdu-speaking governor, deputy speaker and several other top government ministers.
“Let’s live with peace and harmony as it is Sindh which is our identity,” he added.
Col (r) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of the MQM seemed quite polite in response to fiery speeches against his party chief’s statement. He said that Altaf Hussain did not mean division of Sindh. “I am a proud Sindhi, my children are sons of Sindh soil, how can we demand its division?” he said.
He said that the statement of his party chief was misinterpreted and Altaf had never wanted division of Sindh, adding that injustice, poor law and order and price hike are the major issues which should be addressed to keep the nation united.
However, Senator Nasreen Jalil of the MQM maintained that people would come up with such demands if the government failed to address their problems. The Fall of Dhaka and other numerous examples are there and if the sense of deprivation is not taken seriously, people might raise voice for division of the country, she warned.
State Minister for Interior Balighur Rehman said the government is making all-out efforts to get rid of militancy, sectarianism and economic and energy crises which are interlinked.
Winding up debate on the current political and security situation, he said that the overall security situation in the country has improved to a great extent.
The situation in Karachi is making progress and the government will chase anti-social unless there. About talks with the Taliban, he said the first priority of government is dialogue, adding that action against militants would be taken if all options of dialogue stopped working.
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