KARACHI, June 23: Scores of citizens, including women and children, reached the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam on Sunday for a candlelit vigil organised by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement against the targeted killing of its lawmaker Sajid Qureshi and his son on Friday.
Participants in the vigil were carrying national flags, placards and portraits of three slain lawmakers belonging to the MQM — Sajid Qureshi, Manzar Imam and Raza Haider. Workers and sympathisers of the party had started reaching the mausoleum before sunset.
Members of civil society, television artists, noted personalities and others also attended the event called ‘Peace for Karachi, peace for Pakistan’.
The event began with the national anthem. Discipline was the hallmark of the MQM’s vigil as the people lined up and waited for their turn to light candles.
Strict security arrangements were made, walkthrough gates were installed and roads leading to the venue were closed for vehicular traffic.
However, the arterial M.A. Jinnah Road remained open to traffic.
No one was allowed to enter the premises of the Quaid’s mausoleum without frisking. Speaking on the occasion, senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar stressed the need for a coordinated and comprehensive strategy to counter the menace of terrorism in the country.
He said a renewed wave of terrorism had gripped three provinces and it appeared to him that the federal government and the provincial governments were not on the same page about a counterterrorism strategy.
He said Pakistan and terrorism could not go together.
“There is a need for a national counterterrorism policy in view of the solidarity of Pakistan.”
Dr Sattar, who is the parliamentary party leader of the MQM in the National Assembly, said the MQM was the biggest hurdle in the way of Talibanisation of the country.
He said the assassination of MPA Sajid Qureshi and his son was an attack on democracy and their killers should be brought to justice forthwith.
He said accommodating the opinion of the opposition in decisions made by the government was necessary for democracy.
Members of the MQM coordination committee, elected representatives and office-bearers of the party paid homage to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, laid a wreath on the Quaid’s grave and offered Fateha before the vigil began.
MPA Sajid Qureshi and his son were gunned down in North Nazimabad outside a mosque after the Friday prayer on June 21. The MQM had announced three-day mourning and the candlelit vigil was the last event in connection with the mourning period.
Soyem of the slain MPA and his son was held at their residence in North Nazimabad on Sunday. A large number of people, MQM leaders and workers attended it.