Source: The Nation
Lahore - MQM chief Altaf Hussain still thinks that the general elections should be delayed for a few months to improve the law and order situation in the country before affording the people an opportunity to use their right to vote.
In case the elections are held on May 11, as scheduled, there would be a lot of bloodshed and tens of thousands of people could lose their lives, he said, in a telephonic interview with TheNation on Tuesday.
“I want the elections, but at the same time I want the government to ensure that there is no loss of lives.”
Living in self-imposed exile since 1992, the MQM chief had called for delaying the polls by a month or two even a few weeks ago as well. However, no other party has added its voice to the idea. In fact, all parties warn of unpredictable consequences of delaying the electoral process.
Interestingly, all parties agree that the law and order situation is very bad and killings going on at present must come to an end. But no party says how it should be done.
“I see bloodshed all around,” Altaf Hussain said while answering a question about the likely situation in case the elections are held on time.
He said for him the life of the common man was as precious as his own or that of his party men.
According to him, the country is going to face the wrath of Allah.
In response to a question, he said, no single party would emerge as the majority party in elections. This clearly means that he sees a coalition government.
The MQM has put up 671 candidates for the national and provincial assemblies, said Mr Altaf, adding that it was a great achievement of his party that it had been able to get suitable candidates from everywhere.
Answering a question about the treatment being meted out to former president Pervez Musharraf, the MQM leader said, it was not justice.
He said Gen Musharraf should not be treated the way he was being treated, especially when he had surrendered to courts.
“It’s victimisation, not justice. It’s violation of human rights, because of which state institutions are getting a bad name.”
Referring to the charge that Gen Musharraf was responsible for imposing martial law, the MQM chief said, it could not be attributed to a single individual. In fact, he said, there were many aides and abettors involved in the action. “A whole team is responsible, and if Gen Musharraf has to be tried, other should also be held accountable.”
He likened the takeover to a rape, which is a sin. But he said Gen Musharraf should not be singled out for action.
About the argument that some acts of Gen Musharraf had been validated by the judiciary and the parliament and thus he was to face accountability for whatever had not been given indemnity, Altaf Hussain said a rape is a rape and the first incident should also be dealt like the second or other incidents.
“If Article 6 of the Constitution has to be invoked against Gen Musharraf, all his teammates should also be made to face the consequences.”
Everybody should be investigated like Gen Musharraf, he said, making a strong plea that the former president should not be discriminated against.
Responding to a question, the MQM chief said efforts were being made by certain elements to cut his party to size in Karachi. According to him, the MQM activists were being killed for the last 10 to 12 days but no party had raised any voice against it.
He said he was the first to point out ‘Talibanisation’ of Karachi, but the ANP and the Jamaat-i-Islami were challenging his stand.
At present, he said, the Taliban had taken over most of the ANP offices in Karachi.
When asked how the Karachi situation could be normalised, Mr Altaf Hussain said he had offered his party’s fullest cooperation to the army and the security agencies to cleanse the cosmopolitan city.
“The country should be saved, no matter how many sacrifices are offered for the purpose.”
He regretted that no leader except him had condemned the militants responsible for killing a large number of troops in Tirah Valley.
He questioned the ability of the PTI leadership to run the country in case they won the elections.
He expressed his disappointment over the state of affairs in the PPP, urging the leadership to overcome the party’s weaknesses.