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KARACHI, Jan 10: Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain reaffirmed on Thursday that his party would definitely join Dr Tahirul Qadri’s long march and asked critics if religious and other political parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party, had not organised such marches in the past.

In a telephonic address from London which he termed a ‘political drone attack’, Mr Hussain said democracy without local bodies was nothing but a fraud. “If the government wants to remove the Sindh governor let it do today. Despite being an ally of the government we will participate in the Jan 14 march on Islamabad.”

He warned that if the local government system was not revived in Sindh, ‘Urdu-speaking Sindhis’ would be compelled to raise the slogan dividing the province. He said many people who talked about democracy did not even know the meaning of the word. He asked why the LG system had been abandoned.

The MQM chief said he did not care about the resentment being expressed by nationalists over the issue of local bodies elections. Without naming anyone, he said if they wanted to remove the governor they should do it toady instead of waiting for tomorrow. The MQM could not be pushed to the wall.

He condemned the repeated border incursions by the Indian army and asked the nation to demonstrate unity and rise above political and ideological differences so that the enemy could not take advantage of the country’s internal crisis. “The national defence is not the sole responsibility of the armed forces but of every citizen who should be prepared to render every sacrifice for the country.”

Mr Hussain asked the people criticising his party for supporting Dr Qadri’s march which law book prohibited a coalition partner from holding protests and demonstrations and taking part in a march. “We have accepted the government’s decision and now it should accept our decision to become part of the long march.”

In his speech which lasted about two hours, Mr Hussain touched the issues for which his party faces criticism from religious and political parties, including his dual nationality, democracy in the party, division of Sindh and his living abroad.

He said Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had obtained a British passport and had taken oath of allegiance to King George-VI as governor general. He claimed that 99 per cent people did not know historical facts and said that a majority of intellectuals had distorted history and deprived new generations of their right to know facts.

“The political and religious parties which had opposed the creation of Pakistan have today become the biggest patriotic parties in the country,” the MQM chief said, adding that feudal lords were the biggest opponents of Pakistan, but today their heirs occupied important posts.

He said people had stayed abroad on diplomatic passports for decades and many PPP leaders for years.

Mr Hussain said PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif and members of his family stayed in Saudi Arabia for many years.

He said he wanted to return home and asked MQM leaders and workers if he should come. They advised him to remain in the UK and lead the party from there.