Altaf calls for resolving dispute to avert martial law

Published August 25, 2014
MQM chief Altaf Hussain.— Photo courtesy mqm.org
MQM chief Altaf Hussain.— Photo courtesy mqm.org

WASHINGTON: Mutta­hida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain warned the government and D-Chowk protesters on Sunday that the country would have yet another martial law if they did not resolve their dispute.

He noted that the protest had shaken the very foundation of the country “and the army will move in if the situation worsened”.

Addressing the 18th annual convention of the MQM, USA, in Washington, Mr Hussain said the country was “fighting for its survival” in North Waziristan and it was no time for creating another political crisis.

Also read: MQM chief appeals stakeholders to end political turmoil

“It is the most difficult war of our history and we should help the armed forces win this war. Our future, and the future of our coming generations depend on this war,” he said.

Mr Hussain said his warning about martial law should not be interpreted as supporting a military takeover.

“We do not support martial laws because it is the common person who suffers in a military rule. But the current crisis was pushing the country towards that.”

Mr Hussain reminded PTI and PAT leaders that Pakis­tan was a nuclear-armed country in a very sensitive region and a crisis of this magnitude in such a country had also alarmed the international community.

He noted that if the crisis continued, it could endanger the country’s existence and that’s what would get the army involved.

“Who else can save the country from such a predicament except the army? Do we have another institution?” he asked.

Mr Hussain said that his party and he were engaged with both sides, urging them to seek a negotiated settlement. “Only last night, I spoke with Governor Punjab for hours. I spoke with other stakeholders as well,” he said.

Mr Hussain said that he too supported some of the demands raised by the protesters. “The Election Commission and the judiciary need reforms and steps should be taken to end corruption and make the parliament more responsive, but for God’s sake end this dispute.”

Mr Hussain urged PTI and PAT leaders also to think about the safety and wellbeing of their followers who have been camping at D-Chowk for the past 10 days.

“Such a long sit-in creates health hazards. It has created pollution. Bacteria. Garbage. People have not showered for more than a week. The place has not been cleaned for 10 days,” he said. “Who will be responsible if an epidemic breaks out?”

Taking a shot at Imran Khan’s statement that he wanted a new Pakistan so that he could get married, Altaf Hussain said: “Kpataan Saheb, seek a new Pakistan to improve people’s life, to improve the economy, to end the energy crisis. Not to get married again.”

He urged the protest leaders to realise that the country was “passing through a very, very precarious situation” and advised them to resolve their differences with the government through talks.

Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2014

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