MQM lawmakers resign from Parliament, SA
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmakers simultaneously submitted their resignations in the National Assembly, Senate and the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday, citing reservations over the Rangers-led operation in Karachi.
Speaking on the floor of the House, MQM Parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar said his party's decision to resign from all legislative bodies was taken after long deliberations.
He said the MQM chief was being singled out as in the past, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, JI leader Munawar Hassan and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif have all criticised the military and have expressed insulting remarks against them. The MQM leader claimed that the army chief and Karachi corps commander refused to meet him after he approached them to convey MQM's concerns.
Accusing the state institutions of not understanding the true spirit of the Karachi operation, Farooq said, "If you cannot feel the heat of the fire engulfing our homes, just remember this fire could also engulf your home." Terming a list of wanted MQM workers produced by Rangers fake, Sattar said the Karachi operation is being politicised as real criminals are being given a safe exit.
Ayaz Sadiq verified the resignations, but the decision to accept the resignations will take place after the arrival of PM Nawaz Sharif, said sources in the PML-N. The PML-N leadership is also in contact with PPP leadership, they added. MQM Senators then submitted their resignations to Chairman Senate.
Senator Raza Rabbani initially refused to accept the resignations and asked the MQM lawmakers to submit the resignations in Senate Secretariat - which they later did. Meanwhile, the party's MPAs also submitted their resignations to Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.
The party which have the strength of 51 in the provincial assembly, submitted resignations. However, out of the 51 MPAs, only 38 lawmakers were present.
Farooq Sattar, while addressing a press conference outside NA, said "it has been proved that the implementation of law is different for MQM than that for other parties".
"Even if the statements and speeches of Altaf Hussain are allegedly against the Constitution, it does not give any state institution the leverage to carry out illegal and unlawful acts against MQM and its leaderships," he asserted.
While addressing the National Assembly earlier today, MQM leader Farooq Sattar said that many party workers over the past six months had been arrested by Rangers and other law enforcement agencies but had not been sent on judicial remand, a practice, he said, was against Article 10. The MQM leader said that there were hundreds of fake cases registered against the party chief and workers. "Take a 90-day remand as per the law if required. We have never protested against or objected to it," he said. He demanded an "unbiased operation" in Karachi, saying that the government had failed to set up a monitoring committee to check the Rangers. "We have failed to get justice," he said.
Farooq Sattar said the government was involved in a media trial of the MQM and is trying to "create space for someone" in the upcoming Local Government elections. "A media trial against MQM is being facilitated by releasing stories and confessional statements to media. Who is giving all this stories to media? Under what law and on whose orders?" questioned the MQM lawmaker.
"If someone uses state aggression and tries to build a new political empire by suppressing the actual mandate of the public, it will create a violent backlash," Sattar said. He alleged that the government provides a safe exit to terrorists while the Rangers treat MQM workers like prisoners of war. He asked the speaker how the PPP, PML-N or Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf would react if the same happened to their party members. "We are the fourth largest party and we are being prevented from playing our role, we have been pushed against the wall," he said. Sattar that a judicial commission should be formed to investigate cases of missing citi- zens. "When we ask for justice, why is there a hindrance in providing us justice if this is a democracy with a representative government?"
"Karachi only receives 66 per cent revenue," Sattar said. "We demand justice, and for the establishment of a judicial commission," he said. "We have raised our concerns before the Sindh chief minister, the Sindh home minister, the prime minister and Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, but were never given a clear response," the MQM leader told the NA. "We were told that all of this is a result of Altaf Hussain's speeches from London," he added, saying that the government's ban on Altaf's speeches was in violation of Article 19 of the constitution. He said that Khawaja Asif, Munawar Hassan, Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Maulana Abdul Aziz had also spoken about the armed forces in public. Meanwhile, Altaf Hussain in an interview with Geo television's Hamid Mir, said that he will not issue any statement which would hurt the integrity of the country's institutions.