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KARACHI, Jan 2: Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s leader Altaf Hussain said on Monday that his party would never compromise on principles and would continue to support the just demands of the people of Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP.

Mr Hussain was simultaneously addressing general workers’ convention and supporters of all the 18 party zones in Sindh.

He said some of London-based party leaders had recently visited Pakistan and upon their arrival in London, they reported him the impression that the supporters of MQM might desert the party if it quitted the power.

But Mr Hussain did not agree, nor did the cheering crowd which said an emphatic “no”. He then said: “I have firm belief that my people who love and support me would never leave the party alone. They would never continue supporting me if we remain in power or not.” He made it clear that his party believed in “practicalism” and realism and Altaf Hussain would never bargain on principles.

He said the MQM had condemned the operation in Balochistan and would be doing that in future. “We condemn the military operation in Balochistan and every worker of the MQM is with the people of Balochistan in their just demands.”

He said the operation would not bring any solution to the conflict and such disputes could only be settled through dialogue and deliberations.

“I demand again from the rulers to stop the military operation in Balochistan and start deliberations to settle the dispute,” said Mr Hussain.

With regard to the Kalabagh Dam issue, Mr Hussain said the MQM was firm on its stand that such projects were not acceptable which were not in conformity with the aspirations of the people of Sindh.

“We are with the people of Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan and we remain to stick to our just stand no matter what price we have to pay,” he said.

He said the people of Sindh had effectively foiled the conspiracies of the vested interests by which they had been getting the people of rural and urban Sindh fighting.

“Such conspiracies are no longer effective because our people have realized that such divide would only benefit to the vested interest,” said the MQM leader.

Mr Hussain said that MQM workers had never left the party into oblivion whenever it faced the wrath of state oppression.

The MQM leader was critical of Sindhi nationalists and said instead of fighting for the rights of Sindh, they served their masters in the intelligence agencies and minted money.

He asked the “so-called nationalists” what steps had they taken with regard to NFC Award. It was only the MQM. On the other hand, these so-called nationalists made their fortunes by exploiting the emotions of our people, he said.

He said the MQM had expanded its roots beyond Sindh and it was now gaining popularity in Balochistan, Punjab, NWFP and Kashmir due to its sincere efforts for the betterment of the poor.

He chanted slogan of “Jeay Sindh” and said every Pakistani should chant such slogans for one’s respective province because it ultimately gives one’s affection for Pakistan. “We are striving for the provincial autonomy and will definitely get it,” he said.

He lauded the efforts of MQM workers busy in the relief operations in the earthquake hit areas in Pakistan’s north and said the party had provided relief goods to the people of affected areas worth Rs 3.5 billion and further efforts were on.

Mr Hussain asked party workers to work hard to get more sacrificial hides during Eid. But, simultaneously, he asked them not to force people for that.

KKF chief Sheikh Liaquat Hussain, In-charge Coordination Committee Anwar Alam and deputy chief Abdul Haseeb also spoke.