KARACHI, June 24: The city witnessed large-scale, and significantly peaceful, political activities on Sunday as two major coalition partners of the PPP-led government – Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party – held separate public meetings attended mainly by people hailing from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, including ethnic Hazarawals who have been demanding a separate Hazara province.
While Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain in what appeared to be a jibe at the judiciary urged all state institutions to desist from overstepping their defined parameters, Senator Shahi Syed of the Awami National Party lauded the Chief Justice of Pakistan “for taking many difficult decisions”.
And Jamaat-i-Islami also held a public meeting which was addressed by its Amir Syed Munawwar Hasan. In a hard-hitting speech against the government and the United States, he said that Pakistan was being reduced to the status of a failed state under an international conspiracy so that its nuclear programme could be put under check.
The MQM chief, who addressed from London a large gathering at the Jinnah Ground near the party’s headquarters – Nine Zero – said the Supreme Court had disqualified Yousuf Raza Gilani and the government accepted the decision and nominated Makhdoom Shahbuddin for premiership. But the government had to withdraw his nomination after warrants for his arrest were issued on the same day.
He said conspiracies were being hatched to derail democracy and asked those who, according to him, were behind such plots to wait for next polls. Without naming the United States, he said that an aircraft carrier of a ‘superpower’ had anchored near Pakistani territorial waters and stressed the need for unity of the masses in the face of “threats from all dimensions”.
Mr Hussain also requested the Pakhtun and Hazarawal people to pledge that they would foil all conspiracies aimed at fomenting unrest.
He directed MQM workers to protect tea stalls, shops and food outlets of the Pakhtun people in their areas. He urged the people of Karachi, particularly the Urdu-speaking people, to refrain from damaging or torching public transport since the Pakhtun people owned a large number of buses, rickshaws and taxis.
And addressing workers of his party at Keamari, Senator Shahi Syed said the ANP strictly followed the philosophy of non-violence of Bacha Khan.
He rejected an impression that the ANP had a militant wing and said his party was not against any political party and did not believe in politics of confrontation.
Shahi Syed, however, condemned “discriminatory attitude against Pakhtuns” in various organisations in the city, including KPT, Port Qasim, KDA, KMC, Dock Labour Board, and KESC and urged the authorities concerned to treat everybody equally.
He praised the judiciary and urged the chief justice to look into the May 12 carnage so that mass murderers could be prosecuted and punished in accordance with law.
The JI chief accused the government of pursuing a foreign agenda aimed at creating a chaos across the country and instigating confrontation among state institutions.
“The rulers are deliberately defying courts and making a mockery of the Constitution,” he said, adding that the election of a prime minister acceptable only to coalition partners was a glaring example of promoting corruption.