Mirpurkhas – 24 February 2001

Mr Altaf Hussain, Founder and Leader of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), has stated that in Pakistan it is always the Army Generals and not the people who have dislodged the elected governments and abrogated the Constitution.  Therefore, those who are raising the slogan of democracy today should first start a movement against those Army Generals who are responsible for dismissing the elected governments and should announce that in future any army general who abrogates the Constitution would be hanged in public.  He was addressing a gathering of journalists, intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets and general public at Mirpurkhas in Sindh, Pakistan.

Mr Hussain said that the people of Sindh are deprived of their rights.  They are even deprived of clean drinking water and forced to commit suicide due to unemployment.  He said that we should ponder whether it is only the Establishment that is responsible for the deteriorating condition of Sindh province or we are also responsible for this?  He said that a few people in the subcontinent, to gain favours and titles, aided the British Army in occupying the entire province.  He said that the majority of the so-called nationalist leaders of Sindh by raising the slogan of the rights of Sindh have attained nothing for the people of Sindh but instead have made enormous personal gains.  Pakistan Peoples Party came into power three times at the Federal as well as the Provincial level but what it achieve for Sindh? Similarly, what did Pakistan Muslim League achieve for Sindh?  Mr Z A Bhutto drafted the 1973 Constitution, however, this Constitution could not even protect him or the Governments of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (PML).  Today once again, slogans for democracy are being raised. Now the people of Sindh must ponder what is meant by such democracy?  When in the democratically elected National Assembly the question for the rights of Sindh is raised then the standpoint of the Members belonging to Sindh province is opposed by the Members belonging to the Punjab province who are in majority regardless of their affiliation, either with the PPP or the PML.  Similarly, before the creation of Pakistan, Hindus were in majority and the Muslims were in minority, therefore, the leaders of the Muslim League feared that after the independence of the Undivided India the Hindus would rule, being in majority, therefore, this lead to the concept of two-nation.  After the creation of Pakistan, Bengalis were in majority and according to the democratic norms they had the right to govern, however, despite enjoying majority in the General Elections of 1970, the slogan of Idhar Hum – Udhar Tum (We Rule Here and You Rule There) was raised and the Army, in violation to all the democratic norms, despite transferring power carried out a military operation against the Bengali people, which resulted in the disintegration of the country.  In the 1956 Constitution, the Bengalis despite being in majority accepted the rule of parity in the larger interest of the country, however, today the Establishment of Punjab does not accept the demand of applying parity for the smaller provinces.

Mr Hussain said that today one must ponder on the slogans being raised for democracy. Is it that once again the same game of power politics is being played to grab power for oneself and one’s family so that the national exchequer could be looted to increase one’s personal wealth within and outside the country?  Such a democracy would not achieve anything either for the oppressed people of Sindh or Pakistan and the feudal system would continue to flourish.  He demanded that it is essential that a new constituent assembly is formed with equal representation of all provinces, to constitute a new Constitution according to the spirit of the 1940 Resolution on the basis of equality of all the provinces.  The Army should be reconstituted in such a manner that from the Army General to an ordinary soldier, every province must have equal representation.  Mr Hussain said that Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto being a Prime Minister belonging to Sindh was hanged over an allegation of issuing instruction for a murder, whereas Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif being from the Punjab province are allowed to honourably leave the country despite being convicted by the courts.  Leaders from Sindh and Balochistan including Dr Farooq Sattar are being incarcerated on false and fabricated charges engineered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), whereas, the plunderers of national wealth and billionaire sons of Army Generals belonging to Punjab are roaming freely.

Mr Hussain said that the patriotism of the people of Sindh is under suspicion because majority of Hindus live here who are considered as “security risk” by the Establishment, however, in Punjab the Sikhs are invited and welcomed, the Jamaat-e-Islami openly declares that they and the Sikhs have the same God.  If Hindus are non-Muslims then so are the Sikhs, but inviting Sikhs in Punjab is not considered as “security risk” because both of them speak the same language.  To meet their relatives, the people of Sindh have to go to Lahore where while crossing the Wahga Border, they have to pay heavy bribes.  But the Khokhrapar Border in Sindh is not opened as it is considered to be a “security risk”.  Mr Hussain invited the people of Sindh to jointly struggle for the rights of Sindh and if force would be used to crush our peaceful struggle then nobody should object if the people of Sindh would demand for the right to self determination according to the United Nations Charter.

Mr Hussain said that now he has been awarded the British citizenship, he would like to assure the people of Sindh that to present the Sindh Case he would visit Geneva, other democratic countries and the human rights organisations throughout the world.  Mr Hussain emphasised that the Urdu Speaking Sindhis and the Sindhi Speaking Sindhis have to live and die together, therefore, both should get united and struggle for the rights of Sindh.  Similarly, those Punjabis and Pakhtoons who are permanent settlers in Sindh should also struggle alongside their Sindhi brothers for the rights of Sindh province.  Mr Hussain demanded that the Khokhrapar Border should be opened, the victims of earthquake in Sindh must be compensated and provided aid, aid should be provided to the victims of drought in Thar and Sindh province should be provided its due share of water and in the NFC Award.