KARACHI, Oct 14: Assuring his party’s full support to a military operation against the Taliban, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain urged the Pakistan Army on Sunday to wipe out ‘Taliban terrorists’ working against the country and attacking the nation’s daughters.
Referring to the attack on Malala Yousufzai, Mr Hussain called upon Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, corps commanders and the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence to move ahead and eliminate the Taliban and other extremist groups.
“The armed forces are responsible for defending the solidarity and integrity of the country. But why are they confused about taking action against these brutal terrorists? If the armed forces will not fulfil their responsibility the nation will be left with no option but to look somewhere else for protection of their life and property,” the MQM chief said while addressing on phone from London large rallies held simultaneously in Karachi and several other cities and towns.
A large number of MQM workers and supporters, including women and children, gathered at the Jinnah Ground in Karachi to express solidarity with Malala Yousufzai. While the main gathering was held in Karachi, the MQM organised similar events in 38 other places in Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and tribal areas.
The gathering also expressed support for Malala, Shazia and Kainat, two other girls shot and wounded along with Malala by the Taliban in the attack in Swat.
A large screen on the stage carried a huge portrait of Malala. People attending the gathering held pictures of Malala in their hands and chanted slogans in her support. Schoolgirls paid a tribute to Malala and people in the gathering prayed jointly for early recovery of Malala, Kainat and Shazia.
Mr Hussain asked the people of Pakistan to take a clear stand about the Taliban and other Islamic extremist groups. “You are either with the Taliban or you are against them. There is no third option,” he declared.
Urging the civil society to come forward and play its role to save the country, he said people would have to decide whether they wanted the Pakistan of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah or of the Taliban.
He asked PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, ANP President Asfandyar Wali, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other political leaders to unite on a single-point agenda of saving Pakistan.
He praised the clerics who strongly condemned the attack on Malala which he said was an act against the teachings of Islam.
He said that some people were trying to justify the attack on Malala and two other girls by saying that it was a reaction to drone attacks. “If this is the case then why the attacker did not shoot his own daughter in protest against drone attacks. These religious extremist elements would not get any place in Pakistan to hide.
“Those religious scholars who are not condemning the Taliban are actually using the name of Allah and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for petty worldly gains.”
He asked the people of Pakistan to stop giving donations to pro-Taliban religious parties.
Mr Hussain recalled that the MQM had raised its voice on every important issue from that of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the killing of innocent people in drone strikes in tribal areas.
He made it clear that the MQM could not support drone attacks.
Terming the attempt on the life of Malala ‘an attack on the enlightened and bright face of Pakistan’, he appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the incident.
Lal Masjid operation
He said that certain people were spreading propaganda on TV channels that scores of girls had been burnt alive in the Lal Masjid operation.
He said that the names of such girls along with their residential addresses and names of their fathers should be published so that it could be ascertained whether the claim of religious leaders was correct.
“The army should also release names of its officers and soldiers who were killed by terrorists during the Lal Masjid operation.
TV channels should also telecast footage of women students of Lal Masjid carrying Kalashnikovs.”
He paid tribute to the officers and personnel of the army and other security forces killed by terrorists and said that their blood was a debt on the nation. He urged the army chief and his generals to repay the debt by ‘annihilating the evil of Taliban’ and other Islamic extremist groups once and for all.
He assured the armed forces that every worker of the MQM and the whole nation would stand by them and would be ready to render every sacrifice.
He clarified that he had asked people to collect information of only those prayer leaders and ulema who were new to their areas so that the government could check their background.
He said the MQM was ready to bear all expenses of the treatment of Malala, Kainat and Shazia if the government allowed it to do so.
Dr Farooq Sattar, Gulfraz Khattak, MNAs Kishwar Zehra and Khushbakht Shujaat and other MQM leaders also addressed the meeting.