‘Altaf Hussain on GEO’ largely viewed

The News
"By our correspondent

KARACHI: "Aik Din GEO Kay Saath", the programme of GEO television with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief, Altaf Hussain was largely viewed both in and outside the country and the viewers profusely appreciated it.

Special arrangements were made by the Muttahida at its headquarters Nine Zero, Azizabad, and zonal offices in Hyderabad, Sanghar, Sukkur, Nawabshah and other areas to screen the programme, which was aired on Monday night.

The federal and provincial ministers, the parliamentarians and the members ad-hoc committee of Muttahida watched the GEO TV programme at Nine Zero along with a large number of people. They appreciated the interview of Altaf Hussain, which was conducted by Sohail Waraich.

According to a statement issued here on Tuesday, the programme was also largely viewed in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. And besides Sindh, the programme was watched by a large number of people in Punjab, the NWFP and Balochistan.

The programme, which contained detailed interview, organisational, political and domestic engagements of Altaf Hussain, was widely welcomed by the people from all walks of life and many of them asked the GEO TV to telecast it again.

Altaf Hussain for broad-based moot on national issues

The News
By our correspondent

KARACHI: The leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Altaf Hussain, has called for a broad-based conference of people of all the four provinces to find solutions to the problems confronting the country.

"Such an exercise is absolutely essential to create harmony and oneness," he said in an intimate interview with Geo TV channel, which also provided a deep insight into the life style of a leader living in exile for 12 years.

"The bitter truth, needed to recognised, is that the country, at present was like a patient in an oxygen tent, the remedy for which lay in creating a consensus on the issue of Kalabagh dam and the likes," he said added: "The over-reliance on the IMF and World Bank will have to be shed. The sooner that is done, the better it would be for a nation, which needed to lift itself from the present morass."

He was of the view that the people of the four provinces would have to be brought to a table for airing their views on important issues, which was the only way to generate unity among them.

While rebuking the charge of being an Indian agent as absurd and utter non-sense, he challenged his critics to show a single statement or speech in which he had ever even tried to look for assistance from government or the opinion leaders from the next-door neighbour.

On the other hand, he said, certain leaders of religious parties, who never hesitated to issue edicts for jihad, were in India recently, and spoke about the Line of Control in Kashmir.

"Yes," Altaf emphasised the point that he was a supporter of peace between India and Pakistan, to help them divert resources from armaments to social welfare and uplift projects for their poor, hapless people. The two countries fought three wars, and yet were engaged in a meaningless exercise to build up their respective defences, he said.

Refuting the charge of helping the military, he remarked that the Muttahida had joined the government and elected on the vote of the people and prior to the polls last year in October, the party had avoided joining federal or provincial governments.

Altaf said the Muttahida was a victim of the establishment, and as a democratic organisation, had always opposed dictators and authoritarian regimes.

He said the Army itself, through an ISPR press release, had withdrawn the charge of MQM being involved in turning Karachi into a new state of Jinnahpur. "The plan was the brainchild of Brigadier Asif Haroon, an army officer in the forefront of the 1992 military action to paint the MQM black before people of other provinces, especially of the Punjab," he said.

He felt that the idea was to create hatred between people of different areas of the country, but the army itself had disowned the claim of the former brigadier.

The programme, relayed by Geo TV, was shot in London, and showed the Muttahida leader cooking meals for himself and his family, playing with his only child, a daughter, like an affectionate father, and a helpful husband, assisting wife Faiza in administering day to day home affairs.

He said he preferred modest living, because he never really desired to be president or prime minister, and hated to live a luxurious life, funded by ill-gotten money or one secured through loot and plunder. He lived in a modest home, and was shown to using a small car.

Altaf said like any other human being he too was worked up sometime but only when things go wrong, or fall victim to wilful neglect.

Asked whether the Muttahida was remote-controlled from London, he said unlike other parties, controlled from outside Pakistan, Muttahida was different in nature and style. Unity within its ranks was exemplary, which is evident from the fact despite his long absence from the country, the party had remained unharmed, unaffected by groupings or factionalism.

Denying that the party received secret funds, he said Muttahida workers contributed 1 per cent of their income from the world over to the Muttahida Qaumi Fund. The party had to pay between 20,000 and 40,000 pounds sterling for telephone bills which was a major expense.

He said if some countries had funded the party secretly, things would have been different for Muttahida cadres. It was a party relying solely on white money and accounted for every penny on its ledgers.

He conceded that his life after marriage was comparably difficult because of the added family responsibilities, but his wife, sitting next to him, answered that Altaf was a wonderful husband, over-disciplined being his only weakness, but she said that in a way it was correct to be methodical.