A massive crowd turned out at the "istikham-i-jamhooriat" rally organized by the MQM in Karachi on Sunday.—Online Photo

KARACHI: MQM chief Altaf Hussain has advised the Pakistan Muslim League-N to wait for the next election and avoid what he called undemocratic tactics, dictatorial attitude and use of derogatory language against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Addressing an ‘istehkam-i-jamhooriat’ rally here on Sunday, Mr Hussain said the MQM, Pakistan People’s Party, PML-Q and other democratic forces would join hands to foil conspiracies against democracy and raise their voice against undemocratic politics.

The MQM organised the pro-Zardari show in protest against remarks made by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif against the president at a public meeting in Lahore on Friday.

Strict security arrangements had been made for the occasion and a large number of people, including women and children, reached the M.A. Jinnah Road in processions from their areas. The stage was set up at the Tibet Centre pedestrian bridge. Both tracks of the road were filled with people till the Numaish traffic intersection.

Provincial leaders of the PPP and PML-Q also addressed the gathering. They accused the PML-N of hatching conspiracies against democracy and making abusive remarks against President Zardari.

In his telephonic address, Mr Hussain criticised the Sharif brothers for their lifestyle, their ‘conspiracies against democracy’ and for not providing justice to Ayesha Ahad who claims to be daughter-in-law of Shahbaz Sharif.

He also criticised what he called bad governance in some key federal organisations and appealed to the president and the prime minister “to appoint honest people” in Pakistan Railways, PIA and Pakistan Steel to end people’s misery.

Mr Hussain said the participation of “hundreds of thousands of people” in the meeting had proved that the people were against the Sharif brothers and not against President Zardari.

The participants shouted slogans against the Sharif brothers when Mr Hussain said the people were united to protect democracy and stood behind the president.

He said that Shahbaz Sharif had violated the norms of decency when he said that the PPP co-chairman and his people would be hanged at the Bhati Gate. “We do not want to talk about hanging but it was a fact that President Zardari faced incarceration for over 11 years whereas the Sharif brothers struck a deal within 15 days after having been imprisoned and escaped to Jeddah.”

He said the PML-N leaders should criticise the wrong policies of the government but must not use inappropriate language in their speeches.

He said the MQM would have no objection if the PML-N gained a majority in next elections.

“But we will not permit you to use undemocratic tactics and hurl abuses on the president.”

He said political and religious parties should realise that conspiracies were being hatched against the country and there was a dire need for resolving issues in an amicable manner.

He urged leaders of the PPP, PML-Q and Awami National Party to organise a ‘peace rally’ in Karachi to spread the message of love and harmony.

MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar, PPP’s N.D. Khan, Agha Siraj Durrani and Pir Mazharul Haq and PML-Q’s Haleem Adil Shaikh also addressed the meeting.

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