KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Altaf Hussain’s diatribe on Monday took many by surprise who were convinced that state institutions will use the speech as a justification for a strong action against MQM activists.

Parts of the speech that went viral on social media minutes after the violence broke out in the city’s south districts showed that while addressing the MQM workers protesting outside the Karachi Press Club against “enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of workers”, Mr Hussain not only raised slogans against Pakistan but also called the country “a cancer for entire world”.

“Pakistan is cancer for entire world,” he said. “Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan...it’s down with Pakistan.”

The London-based MQM chief then turned to the party workers for different questions about their next “move” after leaving the hunger strike camp, suggesting that something violent was in the offing.

“So you are moving to ARY and Samaa [offices] from here...right?” he asked to receive from the crowd a unanimous and loud reply in the affirmative. “So you go to Samaa and ARY today and then refresh [yourself] tomorrow for the Rangers place. And tomorrow we would lock down the Sindh government building which is called Sindh Secretariat.”

The directives charged the crowd, prompting women workers whose voices can be heard over microphone raising pro-Altaf slogans: “Bhai ka ho ik ishara, hazir hazir lahu hamara [on just directives of Altaf Hussain, we can shed our blood].”

As showed by the news channels and footage shared on social media, the final move before the violence occurred when the workers were directly interacting with Altaf Hussain over telephone.

“Bhai, we just need your nod and nothing else,” a woman worker was heard asking the MQM leader before receiving this from him: “Bismillah, Bismillah, Bismillah.”

Within seconds of Mr Hussain’s reply, the protesters stood up and chanted slogans in his and party’s favour and left the camp. Then different voices of women emerged informing their leader over phone attached with microphone about their move.

“Bhai we are moving from here to ARY and Samaa and don’t you worry that we would get justice on our own,” said one of the voices.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2016

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