London Ė 14 January 2005 MQM Founder & Leader Mr Altaf Hussain has stated that if an army operation is launched in Balochistan then the MQM will quit the Government. He made this announcement during an interview with the ARY Television while speaking with Dr Shahid Masood. He said that any emotional step taken in this regard will not be beneficial for the country and the nation. Replying to a question that the Government of Balochistan has invited army to intervene and take action against terrorists, Mr Hussain said that this is the internal matter of the Government of Balochistan but the provincial government also demanded for its due share in NFC Award and the Provincial Government of Sindh demanded to hold talks for Kalabagh Dam in the light of Sindh Assembly Resolution but no one paid any attention.

Mr Hussain said that when the army operation was launched against the MQM in 1992, all the nationalities kept silent but we will not do the same. We can sacrifice the ministries and the government but will never sacrifice our principles. We are not interested in being part of the government responsible for bloodshed of innocent Baloch. He informed that the MQM Coordination Committee is in session and has recommended that the MQM will quit the Government if an army operation of any sort is launched in Balochistan. Replying to a question that being the coalition partner has the MQM been taken into confidence over this issue, Mr Hussain said that although we are the coalition partner and it is the responsibility of the Government to consult the MQM on all important issues including the issue of Balochistan but unfortunately the MQM has not been consulted on any such issues.  Speaking on the issue Mr Hussain reminded that in 1970, the same justification was used that we are going to East Pakistan to monitor the transfer of power and to provide security to the National Assembly session in Dhaka. But the world witnessed that an army operation was launched resulting in the break-up of the country.

Mr Hussain said that smaller provinces are already under pressure, facing hardships and feel deprived. To alleviate their grievances, representatives of all provinces, nationalists of Balochistan, Sindh and NWFP should have been gathered for a round-table conference to promote national integrity and national unity but this did not happen. The demand of the Government of Balochistan and the Federal Governmentís stance that army is being deployed for security has created anxiety amongst the common Baloch and they are not convinced. Therefore, a round-table conference of all Baloch nationalists must be called to resolve the issues through sincere, peaceful and meaningful dialogue. He declared that army operation is not a solution to these issues as we have suffered huge losses in the past. This is the 21st Century; the big powers of the world on the one hand take pride in their actions whereas on the other hand what they are facing is not hidden from the world. Mr Hussain said that to acquire power is not condemnable but to consider one as God based on this power is dreadful. Therefore, one must always adopt the path of dialogues and negotiations. Mr Hussain said that we are all Pakistanis and army must not be used against its own citizens Ė it should be solely used to protect and defend our borders only. Referring to the Kashmir Fund that is being collected for the past 57 years, Mr Hussain asked why Kashmir has not been won by now.

On the proposed army operation in Balochistan and the MQMís decision to quit the Government, Mr Hussain said that if an army operation will be launched then the MQM Coordination Committee will decide whether to remain in or quit the Government, however, majority of the Members of MQM Coordination Committee are in favour of quitting the Government. Replying to a question if he is in contact with Baloch nationalist leaders, he said that he is not in contact with them at this moment but has been speaking with them in the past and with the current change of scenario it becomes his national, moral, human and religious duty to speak with the true leadership of Baloch people. And being a Muslim and Pakistani it is his duty to offer his support to the Baloch brothers.

Commenting on the attacks on gas-fields, he said that we condemn these acts but these fields can be recreated. Referring to what happened to the daughter of the Baloch Nation; Mr Hussain said that once a sister or a daughter of our nation loses her honour then this can never be restored. He said that we must realise that psycho-reactionary actions takes place everywhere. Replying to the question of foreign hands being involved in Balochistanís situation, he said that he is not aware of this and has no proof of foreign involvement. Addressing the Baloch protestors, he said that we all are saddened on the oppression and cruelty that happened to our Baloch daughter. He requested them to remain peaceful and that he has demanded the Government to hold talks with the Baloch nationalist leaders and resolve the issue with mutual understanding and save the country from further uncertainty. He appealed to both parties to adopt the path of dialogues and refrain from armed confrontation. He said that the MQM Coordination Committee has declared emergency and if an army operation is formally launched then they will inform the public of their decision via electronic and print media.