KARACHI, Jan 18: Founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Altaf Hussain on Wednesday appealed to intellectuals, peasants and workers of Sindh to join MQM for the attainment of their rights.

Addressing a general workers meeting at Lal Qila ground, located adjacent to party’s Azizabad headquarter, he asked them to beware of the so-called nationalists, who he said, were on the pay-roll of security agencies, and had done nothing but exploiting the sentiments of the poor and innocent Sindhi population.

It was the MQM which had realized the dreams of the Sindhi people, Mr Hussain claimed and added that his party could take a legitimate pride in solving the sensitive Kalabagh dam issue, lingering on for 40 years. By succeeding in its campaign against Kalabagh, it had exposed these nationalists.

He detested the tendency witnessed recently to bring people from outside Sindh and give them businesses in Mirpurkhas, Khokhrapar railway stations and demanded that this was the right of the locals and they should be given the business.

The announcement by President General Pervez Musharraf during televised address Tuesday night that Bhasha and Munda dams would be built first was a great victory for the people, especially of smaller provinces. MQM had opposed the project tooth and nail, and had finally emerged triumphant.

The occasion called for festivities, said Mr Hussain and asked the people to celebrate this historic victory of theirs in a befitting manner. The huge crowd overflowing the vast ground danced and chanted slogans in favour of their leader and the party. Pigeons and balloons were released to mark the occasion.

Mr Hussain said that being son of the soil, he would work ceaselessly to secure autonomy for provinces which was the need of the hour. At the same time, he said, efforts should be made to solve the Balochistan problem. He added that by solving the Kalabagh issue, President General Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, and the Federal Cabinet deserved congratulations for bowing to the popular demand and not making the project an issue for their prestige.

Mr Hussain appealed to the people not to be misled by propaganda of elements opposed to the MQM. A systematic campaign was launched to belittle the announcement from him last week that Kalabagh dam would not be built. Some described it a bargaining chip which the MQM was using to enhance its importance in coalition. Others charged him with attempts to befool the people.

He said he was sincere to the people, and espoused their causes with commitment and dedication. Hence such positive results. Others, especially, the so-called nationalists had actually bartered away their rights of the Sindhi people for selfish motives. MQM was different from the rest of the political parties. Its workers were committed to a cause and worked with dedication for solution of peoples problems. Others merely did lip-service.

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