LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Tuesday apologised to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif and Director General (DG) Rangers Maj-Gen Bilal Akber for his vitriolic speech a day earlier in which he referred to Pakistan as “a cancer for entire world”.
“From the depth of heart, I beg pardon from my remarks against Pakistan, the establishment including Gen Raheel Sharif and DG Rangers,” he said in a statement shared on Twitter by MQM spokesperson Wasay Jalil.
“I was under severe mental stress over extra-judicial arrests and precarious condition of my workers sitting at the hunger strike camp.”
Parts of the speech that went viral on social media showed that while addressing MQM workers protesting outside the Karachi Press Club against “enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings”, Hussain not only raised slogans against Pakistan but also called the country “a cancer for [the] entire world”.
"Being a Pakistani, I assure the Pakistani people, establishment, army, ISI, all higher authorities and leaders that I will never use such words again," said the MQM supremo.
He urged the authorities to "end all steps taken against MQM".
"For God's sake, don't cut MQM from the national mainstream."
Hussain also regretted the violence against media houses that were attacked in the aftermath of his speech and asked for the release of MQM leaders who were later arrested.
MQM leader Syed Ali Raza Abidi had hinted in a Tweet that the people who resorted to violence were not party activists but had been "sent for a purpose".
Two media houses were ransacked as activists chanting pro-MQM slogans went berserk on Monday evening after listening to a highly provocative speech of their London-based chief Hussain and resorted to a violent protest, firing and arson.
At least one person died and a dozen others were wounded in an attack reminiscent of the May 12 assault on a private channel, drawing condemnation along with directives for immediate arrest of culprits from the army chief.
Nisar phones British officials
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Tuesday contacted British authorities to condemn the use of foreign soil to facilitate 'anti-Pakistan' activities, BBC Urdu reported.
Expressing his concern on the MQM supremo's speech on Monday, the interior minister conveyed to British officials that involvement in Pakistani matters by Hussain, who is a British citizen, will not be tolerated in any condition.
He asked the British government to cooperate with Pakistan in delivering justice to those involved in the 'serious crime'.
Cases registered against MQM
Two cases were registered against the MQM in Lahore and another two in Karachi.
The Pakistan Justice Party (PJP) submitted an application at Lahore’s Anarkali police station against MQM chief Altaf Hussain and other party members, including Dr. Farooq Sattar, Dr. Aamir Liaquat Hussain, Amir Khan and Izharul Hassan.
The PJP’s application accused them of treason and violating the law and constitution by chanting anti-Pakistan slogans, incitement to violence, spreading chaos, attacking TV channels, burning vehicles, and spreading terror.
A similar application was filed in Rawalpindi at Civil Lines police station by Advocate Raja Mohammed Rizwan Charagh.
No cases have been filed in Islamabad against the party or its leader yet.
With additional reporting from Haseeb Bhatti from Rawalpindi, Ishaq Tanoli from Karachi, Shakeel Qarar from Islamabad and Imran Gabol from Lahore.