KARACHI: Hurling serious allegations against the United States, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and its chief, Dr Zulfikar Mirza announced on Sunday afternoon that he had resigned from the Sindh cabinet, the assembly and as senior vice-president of PPP’s provincial chapter.
The PPP government was swift to distance itself from Dr Mirza’s trenchant diatribe against the MQM. Federal Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told reporters that the views expressed by Dr Mirza were his own and had nothing to do with the PPP.
Dr Mirza, who is former home minister, was speaking at a crowded press conference held at the Karachi Press Club on a short notice and spread over two hours, probably the longest of its kind.
While he was addressing the conference in the packed hall of the KPC, a huge crowd of his supporters from Lyari gathered outside. The charged partisans, including youths, women and children, arrived in buses and other modes of transport. They raised slogans against Rehman Malik and torched some party flags.
Seated with the general secretary of PPP’s Karachi South chapter, Zafar Baloch, an emotionally charged Dr Mirza alleged that Rehman Malik distorted facts at meetings with President Zardari and said “without the MQM in the government, Karachi would be in flames, the PPP government would be sent packing and Pakistan would suffer”.
He said that at a meeting held in the presidency at which it was decided that the commissioner system in Sindh would be reversed, he had offered in the presence of the Sindh chief minister and party leadership to sign an undertaking that if he failed to restore peace in Karachi and other parts of Sindh within 15 days, he would not only surrender all his property, including sugar mills and bungalows, to the party but would like to be hanged on a busy city square to be made an example for others.
Criticising the MQM chief, he said in 2001 Altaf Hussain had written a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair saying his party was ready to bring thousands of people on the streets in his support. At the end of the letter, the MQM chief had requested him to dismantle the ISI before it could create many more Bin Ladens, he said.
He alleged that Mr Hussain had told him in a meeting in London that the United States had decided to break up Pakistan and his party also supported the move. He quoted Mr Hussain as saying that he would therefore continue killing Pakhtuns.
He alleged that Altaf Hussain was a killer and his party was a terrorist organisation. All orders of killing came from London and, when another order came, killings stopped.
He said if the response to his speech was the killing of any of his family members, the reason could be understood. But instead, 15 poor people, including labourers, were killed.
Calling anyone hungry and unclothed was not an abusive term, he said.
Dr Mirza asked journalists if any of them had seen the list of 15,000 missing workers of the MQM which was often talked about.
He said the killers got released on parole included one who had killed 36 people. He could not have been saved from death penalty by anyone except Allah. “If I get such a person released from prison, for example, he would be prepared to kill 360 more people for me.”
He said once during a meeting at the Governor’s House he had had some altercation with Anees Qaimkhani (of the MQM).
“Governor Ibad called me into his chamber and advised me not to lose my temper. Anees Qaimkhani is a senior party member who has given sacrifices for the party.”
Dr Mirza said he asked Dr Ibad about the name of the father of Anees Qaimkhani which he failed to recall. Then he asked him about his own father and the governor said who did not know “your illustrious father Justice Zafar Hussain Mirza”.
Referring to his meeting with President Zardari two day back in Islamabad, he said he had admitted to him that he could neither tell lies nor do ‘acting’. Therefore, he did not qualify as a politician and asked him to tell him if there was any university where he could be taught how to tell lies and act like politicians, he said.
Criticising the interior minister, he said he had informed the PPP leadership, the prime minister, the speaker of the National Assembly and the chairman of the Senate that if Pakistan suffered, it would be because of Rehman Malik.
He said Mr Malik “is the biggest enemy of Pakistan as he has nothing at stake in Pakistan. He does not even have a barber’s shop here as his entire family lives abroad. Therefore, it would be better to get rid of him,” he claimed having told the president.
He said Rehman Malik was not directly responsible for the murder of Benazir Bhutto but he had failed to provide her protection which was his responsibility.
Dr Mirza praised the sacrifices of the ISI, which, he said, had helped Pakistan survive in the face of odds.
He said he would never think of parting ways with the PPP as he had no differences with its leadership and his good relationship with President Asif Ali Zardari would continue.