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PML-F slams call for army deployment in Karachi

Updated September 01, 2013

KARACHI, Aug 31: The Pakistan Muslim League Functional (PML-F) opposed on Saturday the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) demand for deployment of the army in Karachi for the restoration of peace and supported the federal government proposal for targeted operations in the city against all criminal gangs.

Talking to reporters after meeting his leaders and candidates in the recent by-elections, federal minister for overseas Pakistanis and a senior leader of the PML-F Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi said the demand for army deployment was against democratic norms and it could affect the overall recently completed democratic process.

“The constitution allows army deployment in certain cases, but the situation in Karachi doesn’t need to call the armed forces,” he said. “If such a demand in Karachi meets success, it would set a precedent and the deteriorating situation in any part of the country would lead to a call for army deployment.”

Answering a question, he said he supported the proposal of the interior minister that called for targeted operations in Karachi which, he said, would be effective and result oriented.

“We support the PML-N government and also their proposal for Karachi. The political parties should act in a way that may lead to a consensus policy on Karachi and our party believes that the police and Rangers have the capability to handle the situation,” said Pir Rashdi.

The PML-F reaction followed the trend of major parties opposing the MQM demand for army deployment as both the ruling parties at the centre and in the province called it an ‘undemocratic’ move and a ‘condemnable call’. The Awami National Party, however, found it in line with the ANP’s longstanding suggestion.

The PML-F also criticised the PPP government in Sindh and said the trend did not suggest that the ruling party in the province would be able to meet any success in the local bodies’ elections.

“I don’t think the way they (PPP) are running the affairs, they can sustain it very long. By the time local bodies electrions are announced, a major change will have appeared,” he said, adding that the recent by-polls helped his party learn to prepare itself for future polls.

“We made some mistakes in the general and by-polls and we are open to criticism to learn. But a large number of people showed their trust in the PML-F candidates. We are determined to bring change in the national and as well as Sindh’s political scenes,” he added.