The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) denied on Sunday that its London-based chief Altaf Hussain had talked about seeking “help from India, Nato and the United Nations” in his speech at a party programme held in the United States on Saturday.
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The MQM coordination committee held a late-night press conference in response to widespread criticism of Mr Hussain’s latest remarks.
Party leader Dr Farooq Sattar said Mr Hussain’s speech was within the parameters of the Constitution of Pakistan. “The MQM and Altaf Hussain are inseparable,” he declared. “He is struggling for the rights of Mohajirs and [was] speaking on behalf of 50 million Mohajirs.” In response to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s remarks that Mr Hussain was giving controversial statements because of cases against him in London, Dr Sattar said they had been pending for five years. “Has Altaf Bhai been speaking like this for the past five years?” he asked. He said Altaf Hussain had held pro-military rallies in Karachi, but the ongoing targeted operation in the city had been turned against the MQM.
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He claimed that scores of MQM workers had been ‘missing’, dozens had been killed in an extrajudicial manner and hundreds detained without charges. “No-one is listening to us… What should we do if we don’t get justice,” he said, adding that the MQM had demanded a judicial commission on the issue but it had not been set up. “Is this an unjust demand?” he asked. He said: “We should be told who will ensure an impartial investigation into enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of our workers.” The MQM committee also criticised statements of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti about Mr Hussain’s speech and said he had spoken only the truth. The committee asked why the chief minister had remained tight-lipped when Defence Minister Khawaja Asif issued an allegedly provocative statement against the armed forces.