Opp holds govt responsible for Karachi unrest


Criticising the government for not taking concrete action to curb violence and targeted killings in Karachi, the PML-N on Tuesday accused the PPP of dividing the country on ethno-linguistic bases while the MQM said sacrificing the party’s credibility for stability in Sindh was being misinterpreted by the government as the party’s weakness.
However, brushing aside the allegations, PPP MNA Abdul Qadir Patel said peace could prevail in Karachi unless the MQM-Haqiqi was recognised as a political force in the city. Speaking on the declining law and order and increasing target killings in Karachi and Quetta in the National Assembly, MQM MNA Haider Abbas Rizvi said his party had sacrificed a lot, put its credibility at stake and even earned disrepute by rejoining the government, but the PPP misinterpreted its sacrifice as its weakness and tried to push the MQM to the wall. “We are tired of making compromises, we are tired of ridiculing ourselves, either in the name of democracy or stability, and we are tired of burying dead bodies of our workers,” Rizvi said. He said what was happening in Karachi was not targeted killings but massacre. “Target killings in Karachi is a story of the past, now it is not target killing, it is massacre,” he said, adding that hundreds of MQM workers had been killed, MQM MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali’s house had been attacked four times and the house of MQM MNA SA Qadri had been occupied by criminals but no action was taken against the culprits.
He pleaded with the parliamentarians to come forward to save Karachi as neither the president nor the prime minister were serious in improving the law and order in the city. Earlier, raising a point of order, the MQM MNA said the government had promised on Monday that the business of the House would be suspended on Tuesday to discuss the Karachi and Quetta situations but it had gone back on its word and the proceeding per the agenda were a violation of the commitment. Minister for Religious Affairs Khurshid Shah replied that the law and order in Karachi and Quetta could not be discussed as it was a private-members day. The MQM protested and staged a walkout, saying the minister was telling a lie. However, the party returned when NA Speaker Fehmida Mirza asked the members to discuss the law and order of the two cities.
When Patel said, “If you look at the figures of the persons killed in Karachi, MQM-Haqiqi comes after the MQM,” the MQM members said it was a wrong perception and part of a conspiracy whereby a few persons were being projected as ‘the party’. The NA speaker then had to bring the House to order. Resuming his speech, Patel said people were being killed in Karachi on ethno-linguistic bases and no one could and should deny that fact. “We should not deny the facts and we should not deny that the MQM-Haqiqi and the Sunni Tehreek are forces to be recognised within Karachi. Peace in Karachi cannot be restored unless certain facts are admitted to,” Patel said.
Without naming the party, he accused the MQM of bringing the tradition of violence in Karachi politics. “Everyone knows who laid the foundation of political violence in Karachi and getting things conceded at gunpoint,” Patel said. He said police could not restore peace in Karachi. “How can police control violence in Karachi when around 100 police personnel have been killed recently,” Patel said, addressing the MQM. He said Karachi was being divided into five districts and it would help bring peace in the city, adding that the MQM was opposing division of Karachi as it wanted to control the entire city and deny power to others. Taking part in the debate, PML-N MNA Saad Rafiq said the PPP was consciously
promoting division of the country, including Karachi, on linguistic bases. “I want to ask who is responsible for maintaining law and order in the city? Why has the government not taken concrete steps to protect the life of the people? No measure to bring peace in Karachi is a deliberate move on the part of the PPP government. It wants to divide the city into Muhajir, Pashtun and Sindhi communities. It is going to divide the entire country on ethno-linguistic bases,” Rafiq said. He said his party was not against creating new provinces, but they should be established on administrative grounds. He said his party would not allow the government to divide the country on ethno-linguistic grounds. Criticising the government, he said the PPP never thought of Haqiqi as a political force in Karachi because it needed the MQM votes. The PML-N MNA also suggested that a fact-finding mission, consisting of one member from each party in parliament, should be formed to probe into the Karachi and Quetta targeted killings and report to parliament.
He said situation in Balochistan was also alarming. He said the government should arrest all those who were involved in Karachi and Quetta violence and if it could not, it should resign and again approach the people for fresh mandate and the PML-N was ready for that.
Reacting to the prime minister’s statement that the PML-N wanted to come into power from the back door, Rafiq said, “The statement was highly unbecoming for the prime minister. Let me make it clear that we do not want to come into power through backdoor channels and we are those who have plugged such backdoors. It is you who are destroying institutions and allowed immature people to run the all important Foreign Office,” the PML-N MNA said.