'MQM' letters to Indian HC sought help over missing workers

Updated August 06, 2015

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One letter stresses "lawlessness of law enforcement agencies" and requests HC to improve the situation of urban Sindh. AFP/File
One letter stresses "lawlessness of law enforcement agencies" and requests HC to improve the situation of urban Sindh. AFP/File

KARACHI: Letters purportedly written by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to the Indian High Commission emerged on Thursday, in which the party asked the mission to raise its voice to safeguard human rights “particularly in Karachi”.

In one letter — apparently penned by Nasreen Jalil of the party's central co-ordination committee — the party stresses the "lawlessness of law enforcement agencies" and requests the high commission to use its good offices "to improve the situation of urban Sindh".

— Letter purportedly from MQM dated June 18 this year
— Letter purportedly from MQM dated June 18 this year

The letter undersigned by the MQM senator is addressed to Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Dr. T.C.A Raghavan.

It reads, "The targeted operation in Karachi was initiated to bring law and order in the city but since then, 40 MQM workers have been killed in custody, 90 party workers are missing while hundreds are killed in target killings.

It also added that that no compensation has been paid to the families of victims belonging to MQM who were killed "extra-judicially" or to those who are missing.

The document dated June 18, 2015 tells the HC that the provincial government did not form a monitoring committee to oversee the operation and to check whether the activities of law enforcement agencies are judicious.

The letter also laments the unchecked 'high handedness' of law enforcement agencies during the operation along with other issues in urban Sindh which, according to the letter, is giving rise to a feeling of alienation among the people of Karachi.

Another letter dated July 30 on a letterhead of the party's international secretariat bears the subject 'Unathorised arrest of MQM innocent workers'. It reads: "We have the honour to bring to your kind notice that inn workers and sympathisers of MQM have been arrested while they were going from Karachi to Hyderabad to attend a marriage ceremony on 29th July 2015"

Second letter dated July 30 appears to be from the party's international secretariat
Second letter dated July 30 appears to be from the party's international secretariat

"We request your honour to kindly look into this matter and raise your voice for the safeguard and protection of human values/rights particularly in Karachi."

The letter is addressed to Indian HC Raghavan and undersigned by Arif Khan Advocate, ex MNA and member of central co-ordination committee-MQM; Adbul Qadir Khanzada ex-MNA and member of central co-ordination committee-MQM and Shabbir Qaim Khani ex-MPA and Sindh and Member of central co-ordination committee-MQM.

Letter to Indian HC is an error, says Sattar

MQM lawmaker Farooq Sattar in a press conference said that "no letter has been written to the Indian High Commissioner regarding the arrest of party activists".

"If any our leaders' letters written to diplomats included the email address of Indian High Commissioner then it can be a technical error but it was not an intentional effort," he clarified, not stating the exact contents of the letter or whom it was sent by.

He requested that the media refrain from discussing the letters in their talkshows.

Such letters are 'routine', says Akhtar

MQM leader Waseem Akhtar, however, told DawnNews "it is normal practise" to routinely send letters to all consulate generals, the prime minister of Pakistan and chief justice of Pakistan whenever party activists are arrested.

"Any such letter or its contents is never a secret as it is copied to the people mentioned by me."

"Parliamentarians write letters to all concerned consulates and submit petitions with high courts and relevant chief justices whenever arrest of activists occurs like it did recently when party workers en route to attend a wedding ceremony in Hyderabad were arrested by security agencies."

The MQM leader said that the party had written letters to consulate generals of other countries as well but only the letter addressed to India was leaked in the media.

The letters have sparked interest as allegations of Indian support to the political party were made in a startling report on the BBC news website in June.

Read: India provided funds to MQM, claims BBC report

After party activists went ‘missing’ on July 30, while they were on their way to Hyderabad from Karachi to attend the wedding of a friend of theirs, MQM had also submitted a letter to United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, claiming excesses committed by the para-military Rangers in their ongoing security operation in Karachi.

Also read: MQM submits letter to UN chief over alleged mistreatment of activists

The letter was submitted by MQM's International Secretariat, and was undersigned by the party's Head of International Relations.

On August 1, Altaf Hussain, while addressing the 19th worker's convention in Dallas, asked MQM activists to approach the United Nations and Nato headquarters in the United States and "inform them of human rights abuses against the muhajir community", according to a statement on the MQM website.

He also told MQM activists to, "ask for Nato and UN forces to be sent to Karachi to ascertain who is responsible for the bloodshed in Karachi."

Also read: Altaf Hussain's statement tantamount to waging war against Pakistan: Nisar

Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on August 2 had termed MQM chief Altaf Hussain's statement tantamount to waging war against the country.