KARACHI, June 19: Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmakers on Tuesday staged a token walkout from the Sindh Assembly to protest against the killing of their party workers and innocent people, and warned the government that if the situation was not checked effectively, the party would compel its leadership to review its present policy.
Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza called the house in order at 11am, one-and-a-half hours behind schedule. Soon after, Syed Faisal Sabzwari, the deputy leader of the MQM Parliamentary Party, rising on a point of order said if bodies continued to emerge in gunny bags, people could lose patience soon.
He said Hasan Raza and two party sympathisers were kidnapped in Nayyabad from their friend’s home and their tortured bodies were found on Mirza Adam Road on Monday.
“We had staged a walkout from the session on June 14 against the killing of a brother of ex-MPA Shakir Ali in the presence of the police and drawn the attention of the chief minister next day through a letter, but no action was taken by him. The chief minister had also assured the traders that their complaints against extortionists would be addressed, but the menace continued.
He said: “What happened yesterday after the killing of a terrorist in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, where three bodies were found today?” He said it was correct that they were allies of the government, but they were also accountable to their people.
Mr Sabzwari said it was being asked why raids were carried out only in one area and not in others. Although dozens of raids were made in the area around ‘Nine Zero’ and scores of arrests were made, the MQM lodged no protest over it. He recalled that exactly 20 years back also similar raids were made in the area.
Demanding that criminals be treated as criminal only, he warned if bodies continued to be found, the people would lose patience and start deciding matters on their own.
Raza Haroon also said the situation could not be allowed to go on and picking up bodies every day and informing someone’s mother, sister or father that their dear one had died. “Two days before the MQM workers were kidnapped, the LEA failed to respond.”
He said when they talked about a particular area, it was given an ethnic colour though they wanted to free the residents from the criminals’ clutches.
The government gave assurances to the party on a daily basis, but never put them into practise. “What is the use of our sitting here if we cannot protect people?” he said, and added that it was the responsibility of the state to protect every citizen without considering their party affiliations.
After the walkout, talking to newsmen, Mr Sabzwari said if the targeted killing of MQM men did not stop soon, the people would refuse to pay heed to Altaf Hussain’s appeals for calm.
He also warned that if the law-enforcement agencies failed to discharge their responsibilities, the MQM would be free to use every method it deemed fit to lodge its protest.
‘Conspiracy against govt’ Rafique Engineer of the Pakistan People’s Party said not only MQM men but also youths of Lyari were being killed. He said a situation was being created in the city to malign the government and derail democracy.
He said not only the PPP, MQM and ANP, but nongovernmental organisations, civil society and the media should also join hands to restore peace to the city. The institutions responsible for law and order should discharge their responsibility impartially.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said although maintaining law and order was the government’s responsibility, all sitting together ought to realise that it was a conspiracy against the PPP, its coalition parties including the MQM, democracy and Pakistan.
On Tuesday, which was the 4th day of general discussion on the budget, seven more MPAs -- Naheed Begum and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM, Masroor Jatoi of the NPP, Sajid Jokhyo, Nadeem Bhutto, Ghulam Quadir Chandio and Sardar Ahmad Ali Pitafi of the PPP -- spoke on the budget allocations.
While the other speakers of the day highlighted the salient features of the budget allocations, Sardar Pitafi stunned the house with his emotional outburst against his own party government.
Moaning about the non-arrest of the killers of his son even during the government of the PPP, he criticised “non-existence of governance from Karachi to Kammo Shaheed and the (government’s) failure to provide a job even that of a teacher or to carry out a development scheme during the four-year rule”.
He said although multinational companies located in the area were earning billions of rupees, and the two biggest gas fields and the Guddu Barrage were situated in the proximity of his constituency, his area got no gas and water supply.
Mr Pitafi said his son was killed during the last government which did not move to arrest his killers, but after the formation of his party’s government he had expected that justice would be provided to him. He said his complaints and call notices were never heeded to and the assassins of his son roamed freely.
Referring to the law and order situation, the PPP lawmaker said in Karachi criminals were murdering people while in his constituency it were police that terrorised the people as no day passed when people of the area did not protest on the national highway against police excesses.
The session was adjourned by the chair at 2.25pm to reassemble on Wednesday at 9.30am.