ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan lashed out at the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Monday and vowed to take MQM Chief Altaf Hussain to court, DawnNews reported. In response, MQM announced that it would take Imran Khan to court for the language used against their leader.
The promise of legal action against Altaf is the latest of multiple similar declarations issued by Imran in the past.
Speaking during a press conference in Islamabad, Imran said the PTI would no longer participate in any forum that included the MQM.
“We will take Altaf Hussain to court in London…the time has come for the people to stand up against his terrorism,” Imran stated in the press conference. He added that the accusations against the MQM were very serious and the prime minister should take action on the matter.
“Nawaz Sharif has so far done nothing, but the time for action has come,” he demanded.
“The Baldia Town factory was set on fire for its refusal to pay extortion money,” the PTI chief said, adding that, "The government must take action on the JIT report… the people involved must be caught and punished”.
Imran Khan also called upon members of the MQM to part ways with their leader. He alleged that the MQM chief was responsible for the murder of former PTI leader Zahra Shahid and Geo News reporter Wali Babar.
The PTI Chairman's latest diatribe compounds pressure on the MQM which has recently been charged by law enforcers for being party to major criminal offences.
A Rangers’ report submitted in the Sindh High Court held the MQM responsible for the Baldia fire tragedy that claimed the lives of at least 258 factory workers. The report was based on information collected from an alleged MQM worker, Rizwan Qureshi, in 2013.
Earlier today, the Rangers also apprised an anti-terrorism court that suspect Abdul Rafiq – Muttahida Qaumi Movement's in-charge of the Mehmoodabad sector – would be held in preventive detention for a period of 90 days. The Rangers claimed that Rafiq, who was picked up in a targeted operation, not only ran a team of ‘hit men’ but was also involved in the May 12, 2007 carnage that left at least 45 people dead.
The MQM has denied the Rangers' Baldia fire report and also denied involvement in the May 12, 2007 carnage in Karachi.
The charges have been termed a 'conspiracy' by the MQM.
'Conspiracy against MQM'
Meanwhile during a press conference at MQM headquarters in Karachi's Nine-Zero, party leader Haider Abbas Rizvi called the PTI leaders allegations, "a conspiracy against the party".
"The current situation is telling us that Imran Khan's statement, like his dharnas, is pre-planned," he said.
Rizvi also strongly condemned the PTI leader's remarks against Altaf Hussain, but stated that his party would “not respond to hate with hate”.
He alleged that the PTI had a soft corner for the Taliban and had never condemned their atrocities.
“PTI is the one party that has never condemned the Taliban, their terrorist activities or supported action against them," Rizvi said.
“Those who want to open a Taliban office in Peshawar are in no position to speak about terrorism and taking action against terrorists,” he stated.
Earlier on, MQM leader Waseem Akhtar responded to the PTI Chairman's allegations, saying it was hypocritical for Imran Khan to speak against the MQM right now.
“When he was following a script and holding rallies in Karachi, why didn’t he say anything against the MQM then? This is the height of hypocrisy,” Akhtar said.
He also alleged that the PTI was responsible for jailbreaks in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to which several terrorists had managed to escape.
Meanwhile MQM's Faisal Subzwari also hit back against Imran Khan's statements.
"Let me warn the entire nation, the PTI leader is taking a course that will endanger the democratic process," he said.
“Don’t live in a glass house...Altaf Hussain has hundreds of thousands of supporters and followers,” Subzwari said.