Dawn: Altaf urges caution in dialogue with militants
LAHORE: Notwithstanding the criticism he had to face from almost all political quarters for urging the armed forces to assume charge of the country if the rulers failed to aptly tackle the Taliban issue, MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Sunday again called upon the army “to hold the hands of the masses” in the present situation.
He was speaking by phone at a ‘Sufi conference’ organised by his party amid tight security. Police pickets had been set up almost 1km from the venue to frisk the participants before allowing them to pass by.
Because of security reasons, even a bazaar held nearby on Sundays was not permitted to be organised this time. Walk-through security gates were set up outside the Wahdat Colony Doongi Ground.
In addition to around 1,000 police personnel, party activists manned key positions in the area while the site was checked thrice for explosives by personnel of the bomb disposal squad and sniffer dogs.
Whirling dervishes presented their performance on the occasion. Ulema from Barelvi and Shia schools of thought were in attendance. Sajjada nasheens of two known Indian shrines — Ajmer Sharif and Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia — were also present.
Delegations of the PPP, Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr Tahirul Qadri, All-Pakistan Muslim League and Sunni Ittehad Council joined the moot to show solidarity with the MQM against terrorists.
Urging the rulers to “come out of their confusion” and be careful in holding dialogue with the militants, Mr Hussain warned that otherwise the masses in alliance with the armed forces would be confronting the extremists. He said the situation was so grave that the army should take hand of the masses and the masses should stand by the army.
He asserted that ‘right’ decisions would be essential for improving the situation facing the country.
Stressing the need for unity among various segments of society and the political parties, he said all would have to join hands for a positive change instead of making solo flights. One had to change oneself before expecting to see a changed world.
Referring to the terrorist attacks on various shrines, the MQM chief said no religious tenet permitted such an act. He lamented that innocent people were being attacked with bombs and army men were being killed in the name of Islam.
Recalling the flogging of girls in Swat by the Taliban, he said people were meted out a cruel treatment in the name of Islam. In the federal capital too a woman lawyer with hijab had been killed by the so-called champions of Islam, he added.
Express Tribune :Talks with Taliban: Altaf urges govt to take nation on board
By Rana Tanveer
Lahore : Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Sunday said government should take all stakeholders on board over peace dialogue with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
“I do not want to say anything about the government over [the issue of dialogue with Taliban] but it should be careful in this regard and take all stakeholders on board,” he said, addressing a Sufi Conference, organised by the MQM on Sunday.
Altaf Hussain said he wanted to see the army and people of Pakistan united on the issue. “It has become the matter of the survival of Pakistan –a matter affecting 20 crore people and their children,” he said, adding that if the nation did not change its attitude, it would to face a great loss.
The MQM chief said he wanted Pakistan, Islam and the prosperity of every citizen. “I want to come to Pakistan to serve Pakistani people,” he added.
He said no Pakistani wanted anything contrary to Islam in the Constitution of Pakistan. “However, the meaning of Islam is peace,” he said, adding that killing of children, youth and old men by attacking worship places was beyond Islamic injunctions.
Altaf also condemned the terror attack at Islamabad courts, and expressed sorrow over the death of the 23-year-old woman advocate, who had just returned from the UK to practice as a lawyer.
He said he could not understand what happened to the rulers and politicians of Pakistan who were against ‘one Altaf who is already facing thousands of allegations’.
“I want to end hatred from Pakistan and am holding the conference for this very purpose. Islam spread with the lives of Sufis and not through the sword,” he said, adding that one should feel ashamed by introducing himself as a Muslim and acting like a Satan.
He prayed for unity among armed forces and people of Pakistan and urged the government to ensure security and sanctity of shrines. He said after seeing such successful gatherings, everyone felt that the message of Altaf Hussain had won over Punjab. He also recited from the poetry of Bullay Shah and Sultan Bahu.
The MQM Coordination Committee member Khalid Mahmood Siddiqi, Allama Tanvirul Haq Thanvi, Allama Abbas Kumaili, Allama Jamil Rathore, Sahibzada Ahmed Masood Chishti, caretaker of the shrine of Hazrat Nizamudin Aolia in Dehli Sahibzada Nazim Ali Nizami, and Sajjada Nasheen Shah Abdul Latif Bhattai’s shrine Sayed Raza Shah were among other speakers.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2014.
The News : Altaf cautions govt on talks with Taliban
Says country’s future will be at stake if terror issue remains unresolved; terrorists killing innocent people in the name of Islam
Monday, March 10, 2014
From Print Edition
LAHORE: MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Sunday warned the ruling PML-N government to carefully handle peace dialogue with the Taliban militants, as the country’s future will be at stake if the issue of terrorism stayed unresolved.
In a telephonic address from London to a crowded Sufi conference at Doongi Ground on Wahdat Road, Altaf said terrorists had no religion. He said targeting innocent people and ‘namazis’ belonging to any sect couldn’t be justified.
Altaf said Islam spread in the subcontinent due to the efforts of the Sufis who always taught love and tolerance to people. On the other hand, he said the terrorists were killing innocent people in the name of Islam. He said Shariah never allowed anyone to attack the shrines of saints.
Condemning terrorist incidents, he said extremists beheaded soldiers, attacked Malala Yousafzai, murdered a woman lawyer and flogged innocent girls.
Altaf said all these incidents clearly reflect a mindset that had nothing to do with Islam, as it always preaches love, tolerance and brotherhood.
He said the Holy Quran had ordered Muslims to fight against cruel elements. He read out verses of Baba Bulleh Shah and thanked the Punjab Government for its cooperation in the holding of the conference.
The News : Sufi shrines hit in Pakistan since 9/11
Monday, March 10, 2014
From Print Edition
LAHORE: While the MQM conference in Lahore on Sunday did succeed in attracting thousands of people to pay reverence to the Sufi saints, it is imperative to recall that terrorists have ruthlessly bombed the shrines of many of these peace-loving noble personalities since May 27, 2005.
In May 2005, some 20 people were killed and 82 wounded in a suicide attack targeting the mausoleum of Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi (1617–1705), more commonly known as Barri Imam to his devotees.
The Barri Imam shrine lies at Nurpur Shahan, a village located at the Margalla foothills in Islamabad.
Apart from receiving spiritual knowledge from a widely-acknowledged saint Hazrat Hayat-al-Mir (Zinda Pir), Barri Imam had traveled extensively throughout Kashmir, Badakhshan (Afghanistan), Bukhara (Uzbekistan), Mashhad (Iran), Baghdad (Iraq) and Damascus (Syria) etc to master fiqh, hadith, logic, mathematics, medicine and other disciplines.
It is said that once Moghul Emperor, Aurangzeb Alamgir, had himself came to pay his respects to Barri Imam. It was Aurangzeb Alamgir who had originally built the silver-mirrored shrine of Barri Imam.
On March 5, 2009, unidentified miscreants had blown up the mausoleum of Rehman Baba (1653–1711), the most-revered mystic poet of the Pashtuns.
The terrorists had planted four bombs inside the structure of the shrine situated in Hazarkhwani area of Peshawar, almost destroying the grave, the gates of the adjacent mosque, the canteen and the conference hall. No one was hurt in the bombing, but the blast has left the local residents deeply shaken.
The shrine’s watchman had received a threat from suspected militants on his cell phone three days ago. He told police that the attack had taken place to crack down on the tradition of women making pilgrimages to the site of the grave of Rehman baba.
Rehman Baba had lived during the Moghul era and is famous for penning down an anthology that contains 343 poems.
A collection of his poetry has been treasured by the British Library in London, the Bibliotheque Nationale Library in Paris, the John Rylands Library in Manchester, the Bodleian Library in Oxford and the University Library of Aligarh.
Rehman Baba, along with his contemporary Khushal Khan Khattak, is considered one of the most popular poets among the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The shrine had reopened in November 2012 after Rs39 million reconstructions.
On July 1, 2010, at least 42 people were killed and more than 180 others wounded after two suicide bombers had attacked the shrine of Hazrat Daata Sahib in Lahore.
Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery (990-1077), also known as Daata Ganj Bakhsh, was a Persian Sufi and scholar of the 11th century. He had significantly contributed to the spreading of Islam in South Asia.
Globally-known for his book “Kashf Al Mahjub” (Revelation of the Veiled), Data sahib’s towering stature can be gauged from the fact that it was a practice of Sufi saints coming to South Asia to first visit his shrine.
For example, as many of us know, upon arriving in the subcontinent, Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri had first paid homage at Hazrat Daata Ganjn Bakhsh’s shrine, where he had spent time in meditation before attaining enlightenment.
Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri was then directed by his mentor to settle in Ajmer Sharif (India)
and carry out his spiritual mission.
On October 7, 2010, at least nine people were killed and another 55 others injured after two suicide bombings had occurred at Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine in Karachi.
Hailing from the linage of the Fourth Islamic Caliph Hasan Ibne Ali Ibne Abu Talib, Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi had lived nearly 1300 years ago.
He had caused a lot of concern amongst the powerful Ummayyad dynasty of the time, which had to dispatch an army to Sindh to diffuse the influence of the saint.
During the fight with a well-equipped Army, Abdullah Shah Ghazi had displayed exemplary valour in the face of the Ummayyad dynasty.
His brother, Misry Shah, who is also buried along the coastline in Karachi, is also remembered as a saint.
On October 25, 2007, at least six people were killed and more than 15 others injured in a motorcycle bomb attack outside the shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Fariduddin Masud Ganjshakar (1173-1266) at Pakpattan, near Sahiwal.
Baba Farid’s lineage is traced back to the second Caliph Umar ibn Khattab (RA). His mentor (murshid) was Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki (RA), who is buried in New Delhi near the Qutab Minar.
Hazrat Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki was the disciple of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmeri (RA).
Nizamuddin Auliya/Khawaja Nizamuddin Aulia was the disciple of Khawaja Fariduddin Masud Ganjshakar.
On April 3, 2011, a pair of bombings had occurred at the Dera Ghazi Khan shrine of a 13th-century Sufi saint, Hazrat Ahmed Sultan, also known as Sakhi Sarwar. This attack had left more than 50 people dead, besides wounding 120 humans.
Amended by first Moghul King Zahir-ud-din Muhammad Babur, Sakhi Sarwar’s shrine is a unique building of Mughul architecture.
Thousands of devotees from all over the subcontinent come here on the annual birth celebrations of Hazrat Sakhi Sarwar in March every year to pay their respect to him.
On June 21, 2012, a bomb on a donkey cart had killed three people at the shrine of Hazrat Panj Peer (the shrine of five saints) in Peshawar. The shrine houses the graves of several Sufi saints. The tomb of popular Pashto poet Rahman Baba is also located near the Panj Peer shrine.
On October 28, 2012, four persons were killed when a bomb had exploded at the shrine of Hazrat Kaka Sahib at Nowshehra.
On November 3, 2012, the shrine of Phandu baba at Chamkani, near Peshawar, was bombed and partially destroyed.
Earlier, the bomb disposal squad had defused an improvised explosive device at the shrine of Hazrat Umer Baba in the same village.
And on February 26, 2013, four persons had died and 10 other injured, when an explosive device planted in the compound of the shrine of Pir Hajan Shah Huzoori at Marri village near Shikarpur, had exploded.
The Nation : Altaf asks nation to back Army against terrorists
MQM’s Sufia Conference | Says Islam guarantees peace and security to all while some elements trying to impose their own definition of religion on others
March 10, 2014 JAWAD R AWAN
LAHORE - In his traditional oratory style during a 45-minute telephonic address from London, MQM chief Altaf Hussain prayed to Allah Almighty for bringing the Taliban on the right path or give strength to the people to stand by Pak Army against the terrorists.
Altaf, in his telephonic address to the participants of Sufia Conference here on Sunday, emphasised the need for clearing the state of confusion concerning dealing with the issue of terrorism. He said, “The people of Pakistan should stand by Pak Army if the Taliban do no adopt the right path.”
Altaf also became emotional while referring to the incidents of terrorism across the country during the address. He said, “Terrorism is the issue of the entire nation and cannot be dealt by a few. This is high time that we should take on-time right and positive decisions to avert any national tragedy.” He said that some elements were beheading Pak Army soldiers and mercilessly killing women even in veil in the name of Islam. He added, “The people who claimed themselves to be true followers of Islam had ruthlessly killed our soldiers and murdered a woman who was wearing veil during an attack on Islamabad court.” He said, “Sharia doesn’t allow attack on the people who are offering prayers in a mosque or a shrine.”
The MQM chief remarked, “Who are these people carrying out terrorism in the name of Islam? The masses don’t want their brand of Islam which advocates attacks on security forces, innocent citizens and shrines of saints, he added. He said, “Islam guarantees peace and security to all, while some elements in our motherland are trying to impose their own definition of religion.” He added that Islam commands Muslims to protect the members of other religions and their places of worship. He questioned how a person who claims himself to be a Muslim can target a mosque in the name of religion.
Altaf said, “No Pakistani has any doubt that any provision of the Constitution is against Islam.” He observed that the existing situation in the country demands that all Pakistanis should ponder upon bringing a change from within to save the country from complete destruction. He said that clarity was needed on part of the ruling party and other political parties concerning the serious issues of the country; however they were confused in taking important decisions.
The MQM chief said that he wanted to comeback to serve his countrymen in person and asked the masses to pray to Allah Almighty for creating an environment for his return. He said, “The Sufia Conference is organised to promote peace and love in the society, which is under serious stress due to terrorism, as the MQM believes in the ideology of peace and love.”
Meanwhile, the MQM specially invited two famous Custodians of Sufi saints from India. Custodian of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya shrine, Syed Nazim Ali Nizami and Custodian of Ajmeer Sharif shrine, Syed Bilal Hussain Chishti came from India to attend the conference on MQM’s special invitation.
Syed Raza Shah, Custodian of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai shrine, Dewan Ahmed Masood Chisti, Custodian of Baba Fareed Gunj Shakar, Allama Tanvirul Haq Thanvi, Allama Abbas Komeli, Allama Jamil Ahmed and Allama Sadiq Qureshi were among the prominent guests who attended the conference.
Delegations of the PPP, PAT, All Pakistan Muslim League, Sunni Ittehad Council and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen also participated in the conference.
On this occasion, famous qawals Amjad Sabri and Sher Miandad also performed by singing the poetry of saints. Among other classical singers who performed on this event included Saeen Zahoor, Ustad Hamid Ali Khan and Sanam Marvi.
Hundreds of people participated in the conference, which was well-organised by the MQM as usual; however many participants came from parts of Sindh including its provincial capital Karachi.
The MQM administration committee organised the seating arrangement of around 4000 people; however many of the seats remained vacant till the conference was concluded. MQM security committee body searched all the participants before allowing them entry into the conference venue.
The Punjab government had made special security arrangements of the event and police with the assistance of bomb disposal squad performed security check inside and the outer cordon of the venue thrice, besides deployment of special branch personnel. Also, mobile jammers were installed around a radius of the stage and VVIPs seating to ensure security to its fullest.
Daily Times : Conference urges country to unite against terrorism
March 10, 2014
LAHORE: Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said that the entire country has to unite on a common front to fight terrorism.
Speaking to MQM leaders and activists over the phone at the Sufiya-e-Kiram Conference organised by his party in Lahore, the MQM chief said that if terrorism was not tackled, the future of the country – home to 200 million people – would be bleak.
He said that Pakistan was going through a very difficult period, and that the country would face massive devastation if terrorism was not dealt with.
“Pakistan had fallen apart when we did not give due attention in the past,” he recalled, referring to the Fall of Dhaka.
“I want every person in Pakistan to be happy... I shed tears often seeing the state of the people,” he said.
“We do not want the Sharia of people who blow up places of worship,” Altaf Hussain said. “What kind of Sharia allows the bombing of people who are offering their prayers?”
The MQM chief said that he alone had been raising a voice against terrorism.
He lamented that the country’s leaders and politicians had not been able to face the problem head on. “Prudent decisions have to be made in order to improve the situation,” he said.
He also denounced the killing of a 23-year-old female lawyer in last Monday’s attack on a district court in Islamabad.