ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s demand for calling army in Karachi to ‘curb the ongoing violence’ echoed in the National Assembly on Tuesday, drawing criticism from the ruling and opposition parties in the National Assembly, Media reported.
“The Sindh government has completely failed in protecting citizens especially the trader community from gang-war Lyari elements, extortionists and terrorist of Lyari,” said Altaf Hussain earlier today in a statement from London where he has been living in self-exile for several years and heading Karachi-based MQM, the former coalition partner of PPP in Sindh and central governments.
He said that the PM should issue directives for handing over administrative affairs of the city to military to ensure the protection of traders. “The oppressed people and traders of Karachi are now looking towards the army as a last hope.”
Hours after his statement, MQM’s central leader Farooq Sattar defended his party chief’s statement while speaking to media outside the National Assembly, saying that the demand was in line with the Constitution.
“Pakistan is being put on the stake by sabotaging peace in Karachi were common people and especially traders are being killed daily. They are facing threats from extortionists, terrorists and gang war elements. The government should provide security to citizens or let them defend themselves,” Sattar said.
He said that MQM has not demanded for martial law but calls for mere handing over of administrative affairs to the military, which he said was a ‘legal’ and ‘constitutional’ demand, claiming that Rangers has failed to control the situation in Karachi.
“This is a last option we are using… should we call American, British or UN troops if not the Pakistan army?”
Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s PTI and Pakistan Peoples Party, the two main opposition parties in lower house, also condemned MQM’s demand and walked out of the session in protest against government’s apathy over law and order situation in Karachi and Balochistan.
“MQM’s demand is a slap on the face of democracy,” said PPP’s Leader of the Opposition in the house Khurshid Shah. “This seems to be part of a conspiracy and an illegal, unconstitutional and undemocratic demand.”
PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed his ‘shock’ over the demand, saying that MQM is still somehow part of the government. He called upon Governor Sindh to resign from his office.
Ruling PML-N’s Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt. Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch also opposed the MQM’s demand.