KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement urged the authorities on Sunday to stop what it describes as ‘extra-judicial killings’ of its workers and other citizens and immediately withdraw an unannounced ban on its political and welfare activities.
A large number of workers and sympathisers of the party, including women and children, gathered at the Shuhada-i-Urdu Chowk at Liaquatabad No. 10 to take part in a rally organised by the party to protest against ‘extra-judicial killings’ and ‘enforced disappearances’ of MQM workers.
Carrying MQM flags and portraits of ‘missing’ and deceased workers, they demanded that their ‘missing’ loved ones be recovered forthwith from ‘illegal detention’ of law-enforcement agencies and presented in courts if they had committed any crime.
UN and other inernational rights organisations urged to take notice of the matter
From its starting point in Liaquatabad, the rally marched towards the Numaish traffic intersection, where it was addressed by MQM leaders.
“We are not here to defend any target killer,” said senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar. “We demand restoration of our welfare activities and urge the authorities to stop extra-judicial killings of MQM workers and other Pakistanis.”
He said that about 50 MQM workers had been killed in extra-judicial circumstances. “We want rule of law and the Constitution and freedom of expression.”
MQM workers and supporters, he said, took to the street not only for their own survival but for solidarity and integrity of the country.
He said certain quarters had planned to hand over Karachi to religious extremists who supported the ideology of Daesh, or self-styled Islamic State, and Al Qaeda. “Initially they imposed Haqiqi terrorists and now they are trying to impose the Taliban,” he alleged.
Dr Sattar said that conspiracies were being hatched to weaken the MQM so that religious extremists could take over the city in the coming local government elections. “A civil martial law has been imposed in Karachi but the people would foil all plots to snatch their mandate.”
He appealed to Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif to take notice of the matter and order an investigation into allegations being levelled against the MQM by some ‘biased Rangers officials’.
He presented a resolution demanding that the extra-judicial killings of MQM workers be stopped; all missing workers be recovered and treated as per the Constitution and law; a ban on the party’s welfare and political activities and speeches of its chief Altaf Hussain be lifted. The gathering unanimously approved the resolution.
MQM legislator Waseem Akhtar called upon the UN and other national and international rights organisations to take notice of ‘extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances’ in Karachi.
“Today’s rally is not a political matter but it is related to serious human rights violations.”
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2015