Altaf Hussain calls for establishing a forum for promoting unity and sectarian harmony.
Founder and Leader of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Mr Altaf Hussain has said that Pakistan is surrounded by internal and external threats and hence the enemies of Pakistan can take advantage of our disunity and differences. He said that the spirit of religious tolerance and sectarian harmony was equally essential besides the need for forging solidarity among all the linguistic, cultural and ethnic entities in the country. He was addressing a large gathering of prominent religious scholars belonging to various schools of thought at the “Muslims Unity Conference” in Lal Qila Ground, Azizabad on the telephone.
Mr Hussain stressed upon the need for the establishing of a forum for promoting unity and sectarian harmony among Muslims of different schools of thought saying that the killing of an innocent Muslim because of sectarian differences was gross injustice, barbaric and an act of bestiality. He said that the forum should have representation of scholars belonging from every school of thought.
Speaking on the occasion Mr Hussain exhorted the Ulema to come forward and play an active role instead of merely delivering sermons from the pulpit. “If we continue to shift our responsibilities without doing anything practical it would be nothing but deception and pretence.”
Mr Hussain said that the religious scholars should give up expediency and opportunism and make practical efforts for stopping the bloodshed of innocent people.
Referring to his statement on the religious creed of the Quaid-i-Azam, Mr Hussain said that a number of people had objected as to why he was talking about one particular sect only and what was the need to talk about the religious beliefs of the Quaid-i-Azam.
“I have always said not to talk about sects and religious beliefs. If the religious beliefs and particular school of thoughts are mentioned, then the religious beliefs of the Quaid-i-Azam would also come under discussion. However, no one heeded to what I had said.”
Mr Hussain said that in the past there used to be isolated instances of the killing of the Shia people, but now they were being killed after being identified, and the videos of their gruesome murders were being uploaded on the YouTube.
Mr Hussain said that slogans were being raised that the Shias are infidels. “If the Shias are infidels, then, God forbid, the Quaid-i-Azam was also an infidel. I say this because I can say with confidence that the Quaid-i-Azam was the follower of the Twelver Shia sect. I will stand by my statement unless someone proves me wrong by coming up with incontrovertible evidence.”
Mr Hussain said that the Sunni Ulema had also fallen victim to the incidents of targeted killings but there was no example where Sunni people were killed by the Shia people after being taken out of buses and verifying their identity by seeing their identity cards.
Addressing the Ulema Mr Hussain asked about the ISI, the MI, the IB, the FC, Rangers, and other law-enforcing agencies. He warned that there would be unrest and if these agencies would fail in protecting the life and property of the public. Maintaining the law and order in the country was the foremost responsibilities of these agencies.
Mr Hussain said that if the public was left at the mercy of the terrorist elements, the law-enforcing agencies should be dissolved, and people should be given the freedom to protect themselves.
Mr Hussain said that the people of Pakistan should be considered as Pakistanis and everyone should make the effort to save Pakistan from disintegrating.
Mr Hussain asked the Shia Ulema to exercise restraint in their speeches and sermons. He asked them to preach sectarian harmony and reach out to the Sunni Ulema. He asked the Shia and Sunni people to join hands and get united against the elements creating feud among the people.
Mr Hussain stressed upon the Ulema that there was no time for mere talking. “It is time to act.”
Mr Hussain said that it was highly unfortunate that the killers are released after they are arrested. “Does the freedom of judiciary mean releasing the killers accused of killing scores of people and removing the prime minister who was elected by the votes of people by sentencing him?”
“I would say to the people of Pakistan to hold the judges of the Supreme court, High Courts and sessions courts also who set free known killers just as it holds accountable the politicians.”
Mr Hussain said that the government, the Army and the ISI would have to take courageous decisions. “If they did not take bold decisions, there would be left nothing in their hands and God forbid Pakistan may be wiped out from the map of the world.”
Mr Hussain asked the religious scholars to make a forum having representation of the religious scholars from every school of thought. He assured them that the MQM workers would stand shoulder to shoulder with them for eliminating the scourge of sectarianism and protecting the lives of innocent people. “Allah will help us if the Shia Ulema would deliver lectures in Masjids and the Sunni Ulema would deliver sermons in Imam Bargahs.”