KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has appreciated the launch of an operation against terrorists and other banned outfits in North Waziristan Agency and connecting areas on the directives of the federal government, and categorically denounced the talks with the Taliban, saying Pakistan and terrorism would never go parallel.
Altaf assured the federal government and the army that the entire nation, including children, women and the elder, were supportive of this move against the terrorists. He asserted his belief that soldiers would spare no effort to save Pakistan, and for this cause they would proudly embrace martyrdom in the line of duty. The MQM chief also offered his party’s workers and volunteers to fight against the terrorists. “For God’s sake, people, including ulema and political leadership, should board the same platform to back up the country’s forces to save the nation from terrorism,” Altaf appealed.
He also asked the electronic and print media to act according to the nation’s wishes. He called on the ulema and other religious leaders to pray for the success of the Pakistan Army. Speaking on the occasion of 36th anniversary of creation of APMSO, he condemned the terrorism all around, and Pakistan. He said that expatriates and overseas Pakistanis should come to protect and support the nation in the time of crisis.
The MQM supremo asserted that the student organisation, which was founded in the University of Karachi, “had become the only political party representing 98 percent of the unprivileged class”. He advised the students and youth to concentrate on their studies and respect their teachers and elders. He said without surrendering themselves they could not attain knowledge or get educated. He also said Allah blesses those who respect their teachers and elders.
Altaf also told the audience, which belonged to various ethnic communities, that MQM was not a representative of the Urdu-speaking community only. He said people from the entire country have now joined the MQM and his philosophy to serve their respective communities. He recalled the 1992 operation in Karachi and said he was booked in “various fake cases” and thrice arrested. He alleged that during his detentions, he was tortured by the security agencies.
Altaf appreciated his workers and supporters and asked them to be firm in the times of crisis, “and negate all the negative designs of the feudal mentality”. He also indicated that the sectarian conflict in the country was nothing but an attempt to divide people on communal or sectarian lines. He referred to his concerns again over the “Talbanisation” of urban areas of the country, especially Karachi and condemned all forms of extremism and fundamentalism that cause deaths of innocent civilians and soldiers.
Meanwhile, moments after Pakistan announced the launch of a comprehensive operation in North Waziristan, political parties and analysts weighed in on the repercussions of the move. MQM’s Senator Babr Ghauri told a news channel, “This is a commendable decision by the government. We have been repeatedly telling the current government that instead of engaging the terrorists in dialogue, government should act against these elements. Karachi has a number of terrorists and it might suffer from a blow back; this should be tackled so Karachi does not have to suffer on account of this.”
Awami National Party member Zahid Khan, “We also held a dialogue previously (during our govt) but that did not produce effective results. We wanted peace and we were okay if that came through dialogue but unfortunately that could not happen. This time, knowing from our experience, we had cautioned the government that dialogue approach would not work. Government should have taken the parliament into confidence before launching the operation but it didn’t.”
PTI MNA Dr Arif Alvi said that this is a “money for operation” exchange. He added that his party has always maintained that an operation of this scale will result in a large influx of refugees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where his party forms government. “The government should have told us so we could have prepared for this.” He criticised the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) for what he said was a move to appease the US government which has linked aid to an operation of this nature. “The PML-N government did not tell the public and the opposition why the talks failed. We do not know about the dimension of this operation.”
* Nawaz says his vision for region is of a ‘dispute-free South Asia’ ...