Altaf sees equality essential for idea of a ‘one nation’


KARACHI – The idea of ‘one nation’ cannot take root unless people belonging to all nationalities, ethnicities and cultures are treated equally, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said while talking to a delegation of students from various universities of the Punjab at MQM headquarters Nine Zero.
Addressing the delegation, which is on an inter-provincial study tour of various cities of Sindh on the invitation of Provincial Youth Affairs Minister Faisal Sabzwari, Hussain said that equal rights should be given to all and none should be treated as less patriotic. “Countries normally don’t consist of a single racial entity. They are rather made up of several racial, linguistic and cultural entities, and together they form a nation,” he said.
He said that notwithstanding the differences of religion, nationality, caste, colour and language, if all entities are treated as equal in a country, an ethno-linguistic cultural pluralism takes hold and the idea of ‘one nation’ gets promoted. When all linguistic and cultural entities in a geographical area are not treated equally, and there is discrimination on provincial and regional bases, it creates ethno-linguistic cultural particularism; hence, the idea of sub-nationalities takes hold, he added.
Hussain said that England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – that make the British Isles – have their own parliaments, and the people who live there are of different cultural stock; however, we do not see any hatred and differences among them that we see in Pakistan. The reason for this is that everyone is treated equally in Britain and there is no discrimination as all differences are resolved amicably through negotiations, he added.
He regretted that different linguistic entities are being discriminated against in Pakistan, and that those who protest have to face the brute force of repression and violence. He said that it was because of this discrimination that former East Pakistan seceded from the country, and now Balochistan is on the brink of following suit.
For promoting national solidarity and the idea of ‘one nation’, it is necessary that all ethnic and linguistic entities in the country are treated equally and there is no discrimination and preference with regard to job appointments, he added. He asserted that the corrupt political system, which empowers only 2 percent of the people while the remaining 98 percent remain deprived, is at the root of every problem in the country.
The MQM chief said that his party wants to bring an end to the corrupt political system, adding that the MQM had the opportunity to serve the people of Karachi for five years in the previous government and its elected nazims changed the face of the city. He said that there is no dearth of able and educated youth in the country, and that the MQM wants to bring them to the forefront.
Students are the backbone of a country; therefore, they should come forward and participate in weeding out the corrupt elements from the current political system of the country, he added.