- Farooq Sattar says govt’s ‘non-serious’ attitude has forced it to call off dialogue
- Says govt had failed to address MQM’s three core issues – ban on MQM’s political activities, relief activities and speeches of party chief Altaf Hussain
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Thursday announced that it was backing out from talks with the government once again, alleging that the government was not serious about the dialogue process.
The party had simultaneously resigned from the National Assembly, Senate and the Sindh Assembly last month over what it said were “excesses” committed by security forces against its workers and members during the Rangers-led operation in Karachi.
Following the party’s resignation from the three legislative floors, the government was reluctant in accepting the resignations and tasked Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam –Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman to hold talks with MQM in an attempt to persuade the party to withdraw its resignations.
But talks broke down abruptly almost immediately after they began when an assassination attempt was made in Karachi on MQM MNA Rashid Godil, whose driver was killed in the gun attack. The attack had happened as Fazlur Rehman was holding talks with an MQM delegation at Nine Zero in Karachi.
Subsequently, after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to Karachi, MQM had announced it would not continue dialogue on the matter of resignations anymore, saying it will instead focus on relief work and the “creation of a new province.”
But the government, through Fazlur Rehman, was able to break through yet again, convincing MQM to come back to negotiations.
In a joint press conference with federal minister Ishaq Dar and an MQM delegation led by Farooq Sattar, Fazl announced that a grievances redressal committee would be formed to address all of MQM’s reservations.
Addressing reporters on Thursday, MQM leader Farooq Sattar said the government’s non-serious attitude had pushed the party to withdraw from the dialogue process, adding that “in the current scenario dialogue is useless”.
He said the government had failed to constitute a grievances redressal committee to address concerns over the “forced disappearance of 150 party workers, extrajudicial murders of 45 activists and justice for thousands of workers who have been killed”.
Sattar said “baseless stories are being created to put MQM on a media trial,” adding that the party had been “politically victimised”.
He said that there was an unannounced ban on MQM and the party’s role had been eliminated from mainstream politics.
The MQM leader went on to say that the party had approached all forums, including the judiciary and the federal government, with its reservations but to no avail.
“During the last 20 days since we tendered our resignations, the situation has been at a standstill,” he added.
Sattar said during dialogue with the government, MQM had raised three core issues: the ban on MQM’s political activities, relief activities and speeches of party chief Altaf Hussain.
Sattar was of the view that these issues were not up for discussion and had to be addressed by the federal government.
“All our political offices have been closed. Raids are being conducted on our programs and our role in politics has been halted. What would we do in the assemblies?”
He said the party had decided after lengthy internal deliberations to not pursue dialogue anymore, asserting that resignations from all three legislative floors were final.
Farooq Sattar demanded that the government accept the resignations of MQM’s legislators.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday evening telephoned Fazlur Rehman and requested him to contact MQM chief Altaf Hussain as a last-ditch effort for withdrawal of the resignations.