KARACHI: Demanding immediate arrest of a pro-Taliban cleric for allegedly ‘preaching terrorism’, Muttahida Qaumi Move-ment chief Altaf Hussain urged the government on Friday to take stern action against all Taliban apologists who were justifying terrorist attacks and refusing to even condemn the killing of innocent schoolchildren.
He was addressing from London by phone a large MQM rally held here on the M.A. Jinnah Road to express solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar school carnage and the armed forces.
The MQM chief called upon the government and the army to expand the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation from tribal areas to all over the country to eliminate the Taliban, militants of other banned organisations and all those supporting them. “Operation Zarb-i-Azb should be continued till the elimination of the last terrorist in Pakistan.”
The rally was attended by a large number of MQM supporters, including women and children, and both tracks of the road from Tibet Centre to the Numaish intersection were packed. Representatives of other political and religious parties, traders and artists also attended the event.
The participants shouted ‘crush Taliban’ when Mr Hussain said the people were ready to sacrifice their lives to eliminate terrorists who were killing their children.
He paid rich tribute to the victims of the Army Public School and said the ‘martyrs of Peshawar’ had united the nation.
He said that although the MQM had organised the rally, it was an event of national solidarity and not restricted to one party.
He praised members of civil society for staging a demonstration in front of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid in protest against stick-wielding supporters of Maulana Abdul Aziz.
Mr Hussain asked the government to arrest the mosque’s cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz because he had termed the Peshawar terrorist attack a reaction to the bombardment of Taliban hideouts in tribal areas in order to justify the killings.
He asked how those killing innocents in the name of Islam could be called Muslims. “The supporters and sympathisers of the Taliban will rot in hell.”
He said: “It is my demand to the government and the armed forces to arrest Mullah Abdul Aziz and shut Jamia Hafsa since he conceded that the girl students of the seminary had links with Daish [the Islamic State militant group].”
He asked the law-enforcement agencies to launch a countrywide crackdown against the Taliban, banned groups and their supporters and sympathisers. “We have to get rid of the Taliban if we want to save Pakistan.”
He reiterated his demand that more administrative units be formed for good governance.
MQM leaders Qamar Mansoor and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, PPP’s Nisar Khuhro, PML-N’s Nihal Hashmi and others also spoke.
Published in Dawn December 20th , 2014