Altaf urges Gen Sharif to give MQM a chance to clear ‘misunderstandings’

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Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chairman Altaf Hussain has asked Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to provide an opportunity to an MQM delegation to meet him in order to remove ‘all misunderstandings’ between his party and the armed forces.

Hussain was speaking by phone from London to his supporters who had gathered at the Jinnah Ground in Karachi to attend the Independence Day celebrations late on Friday night.

The MQM chief said his recent speeches had drawn severe criticism, but added, “What I said yesterday, I am saying it today that I refuse to accept an oppressive government or rulers whether civil or military”. He said many politicians had criticised the army even in parliament, but only he had been targeted and a ban imposed on his speeches.

He said MQM did not cancel celebrations despite the arrest of its workers and office-bearers in Landhi on the eve of the Independence Day. Expressing concern over “illegal arrests and enforced disappearances of party workers”, he alleged that MQM was being targeted in the garb of an action against criminal elements.

The MQM chief said “Haqiqi terrorists” had occupied parts of Landhi under what he called protection of Rangers, recalling a similar situation on June 19, 1992, the start of an operation against the Muttahida.

He recalled that in 1992 PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had phoned him in London and assured him that the government would stop the army operation against the MQM. However, he did nothing when intelligence agencies started following him, he added.

“Now, he [Chaudhry Nisar] is blaming me, but is not ready to utter a single word of condemnation against those Rangers personnel who are involved in extrajudicial killings of my workers.”

He urged the army chief to give an opportunity to an MQM delegation to meet him so that they could remove all “misgivings and misunderstandings” with the armed forces for the sake of the country.