KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Saturday announced the observation of a "black day” on Sunday to protest against a statement made by PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah last week.
Speaking at an ‘emergency’ press conference, MQM leaders lashed out at the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, saying the word “Muhajir” is not an expletive but a respectful Islamic word.
Abdul Haseeb Khan said that black flags would be hoisted on MQM offices across the country to protest against what he said amounted to ‘spitting venom’ against the party.
It may be mentioned that Shah had apologised and retracted his statement after facing criticism from the MQM the same day last week. He had said his statement that ’the use of word Mohajir (immigrant) was an insult’ was not meant to hurt or offend anyone and that he was taking back his words in case they caused any offence.
He clarified that he himself was a Mohajir since his ancestors had moved to Sindh several centuries ago but now he considered himself as a native. He added that MQM chief Altaf Hussain also used to call the province ‘his motherland’ so it was better if the community identified itself as Sindhis rather than Mohajirs.
Earlier on Thursday this week, a sessions court had issued notices to the police on an application filed by the MQM seeking the registration of a case under the blasphemy law against Khursheed Shah.
Dr Laila Parveen of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement along with eight other applicants through their counsel moved the application under Section 22-A of the criminal procedure code and contended that on Oct 17 during his visit to Bagh-i-Jinnah, near the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam, Shah stated that the word ‘Muhajir’ was an expletive.
They argued that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), most prophets, Khulfa-i-Rashideen and Sahaba-i-Karam had migrated from one city to another while the word ‘Muhajir’ was cited with great respect in the Quran.
Meanwhile, businesses were reportedly being closed down in different neighbourhoods of Karachi. According to DawnNews, shops, markets and fuel stations were being shut in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, North Karachi and FB Area among other areas of the port city.
It was, however, unclear whether or not the development had any connection with the MQM’s announcement.
Later, speaking at yet another 'urgently' called press conference at midnight, MQM leader Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui announced that besides observing the black day the party will also hold a protest rally in Karachi on Sunday afternoon.
He urged people belonging to all spheres of life to attend the rally near Noorani Kabab House on the adjoining road between Sharae Faisal and Sharae Quaideen at 3pm.