KARACHI: In the first Sindh Assembly session since the then chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Altaf Hussain’s incendiary speech, a joint resolution with signatures of MQM and other party lawmakers was unanimously passed on Wednesday seeking treason case against those responsible for anti-Pakistan slogans, hate speech and subsequent violence on Aug 22.
In the resolution, the house condemned his attack on the very foundation and solidarity of Pakistan and media houses, ARY channel in particular. “This house also flays every crime, terrorism and anti-Pakistan slogans or actions,” said the resolution while expressing complete solidarity with the parliament, armed forces, media, judiciary and all other democratic institutions of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The resolution, which was jointly moved with the signatures of Leader of the Opposition Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan, PPP Parliamentary Party leader Nisar Ahmad Khuhro and others, was read out by the MQM Parliamentary Party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad.
PML-F lawmaker Nusrat Sahar Abbasi, PTI legislator Khurram Sherzaman, PPP lawmaker Khair-un-Nisa Mughal and PML-N lawmaker Sorath Thebo, who had tabled separate resolutions, also endorsed the joint resolution that was prepared keeping in view the resolutions of the MQM, PPP, PML-F and PTI.
In the house, which was called to order by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani at 10.20am, before adoption of the joint resolution, speeches were delivered by Leader of the Opposition Khawaja Izharul Hassan and other MQM lawmakers including Faisal Ali Sabzwari and Rauf Siddiqui, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, deputy speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, Provincial Minister Shamim Mumtaz of the PPP, Ms Abbasi of the PML-F and Mr Sherzaman of the PTI.
In his emotional speech on the resolution, Mr Hassan said no one could comprehend the tribulations of the party. On Aug 22, he recalled, it was decided to end the hunger strike by the evening after leaders of almost all political parties visited the camp and expressed solidarity. But the incident that happened suddenly on Aug 22 was extremely regrettable, he said.
He said he asked the chief minister to take severe action when the latter informed him about the incident. “The night was not less than doomsday. We wanted to announce our disassociation from London on the same night as we had decided to condemn it and express regret and shame over the incident.”
He said even on this day the MQM fully supported the Karachi operation. “We have options to go abroad or switch to other party, as accepting the responsibility was the most risky option that we preferred according to our conscience without any fear and pressure so that millions of MQM followers could be taken out of the crisis. We still have the option to change the party and get certificate of a respectable Pakistani. But we decided to walk on the embers. Although we have de-linked ourselves from London, we don’t have any formula to assure others about our change of heart,” he said.
MQM tables a joint resolution with signatures of lawmakers of all parties in the house
He said workers became violent because they had link with the leader for years. “We fail to understand why we are asked repeatedly of the wish list when we have changed the party manifesto and flag by removing the name of the party founder and tabled resolutions against him which was not an easy job.”
Mr Hassan added: “I think we must keep an eye on those people who while raising slogans of long live Pakistan indulge themselves in plundering country’s wealth.”
The leader of the opposition also expressed gratitude to the chief minister for his timely order to get him released. He said the people of Karachi could never think of enmity with this land and its soil nor of treachery with the country. He pledged that they would not allow any agency, including RAW, to disturb Karachi’s peace.
Syed Faisal Sabzwari said the MQM had observed a hunger strike to draw attention of the government towards genuine demands and not for raising anti-Pakistan slogan but unfortunately that incident happened. “We have sacrificed our youth and all life for one name only from which we are delinking ourselves now. This tough decision has been taken just to discharge our responsibility towards our homeland.”
Rauf Siddiqui said how could one hear anything against the country for which their elders had sacrificed their lives. He said the voices against Pakistan which came from outside the Karachi Press Club had convinced him to delink all his connections with the person who had commanded his love and respect until then.
Senior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmad Khuhro said when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was martyred, Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto pledged to become a “Chain of Pakistan” and when Ms Bhutto was martyred the PPP raised the slogan of “We Want Pakistan”. He said the people who were welcomed with open heart in Sindh alienated themselves from the people of this land and started politics of ethnicity. They changed the party’s name later but never deviated from politics of ethnicity, he said. Finally when things started slipping from their control, anti-Pakistan slogan was raised, he added. He said it was a positive step that the MQM was expressing its shame over the incident.
Mr Khuhro said Pakistan was not founded on the basis of language. “If extremism on the basis of religion is bad, then extremism on the basis of language is also unwanted.”
He said the person who used foul language against Pakistan was being rejected by his own people.
PML-F lawmaker Mehtab Akbar Rashdi said it was not an easy task for anyone to table a resolution against the chief of their own party. One ought to see why all the parties, including the MQM, had tabled the resolution, she said, advising the people who had migrated from India more than half a century ago not to consider or call themselves Mohajirs. They all were Pakistanis, their life and death was now in Pakistan, she said.
She also pleaded the case of the need of teaching Sindhi language to all children in schools across the province.
PTI lawmaker Khurram Sherzaman said he saluted the MQM for tabling the resolution against the traitor. He said the PTI had been calling Altaf Hussain a traitor and a friend of RAW. He should be tried under Article 6 of the constitution, he said, adding that people would no more tolerate the politics of bodies in gunny bags, extortion and targeted killings.
PML-F legislator Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said: “We will not forget the August 22 speech. Altaf Hussain had been declared traitor. We should not restrict ourselves to a resolution but need to carry out legislation so that people like Altaf Hussain could be given exemplary punishment.”
PPP lawmaker Shamim Mumtaz appreciated the spirit of MQM which presented the resolution and advised them to also give up the slogan of dividing Sindh of “half yours and half ours”and raised the slogan that “All is ours and all is yours”.
PML-N leader Sorath Thebo said Altaf Hussain often used foul language that brought him name, fame and dignity. His high handedness was always ignored, as people had the hope that he would get himself corrected but he could not. She also advised Mohajirs to live like Pakistani instead of remaining Mojahir.
Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza said that MQM Pakistan by tabling the unanimous resolution had saved the sacrifices of their elders from going waste. “We have to live here and die here and have to move forward on this soil.
After adoption of the resolution at 1.55pm, the house was adjourned till Thursday at 10am.
Earlier, Speaker Durrani read out the nine bills whose assent was given by Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad. The two amendment bills pertaining to the Jinnah Sindh Medical University Act and The Zulfikarabad Development Authority Act, which were tabled by the parliamentary affairs minister, were introduced and referred to the standing committee on law with instructions to report back to the house on Sept 23.
It was one the most disciplined sessions in the past couple of decades when no member during the four-hour proceedings on Wednesday attempted to take liberty to violate the rules of business. Even when newly elected lawmakers Aurangzeb Panhwar from Jacobabad and Murtaza Baloch form Karachi were administered the oath by the speaker and were greeted by the members of the assembly, their supporters who were sitting in the visitors’ gallery did not cross the limit while expressing their joy.
The house, which met formally for the first time after Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took over his office, had a new seating arrangement. Former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah also graced the session, while MQM lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui was brought from jail to the Sindh Assembly.
Published in Dawn September 22nd, 2016