The Founder and Leader of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Mr Altaf Hussain has said that it was time for the moderate, progressive, liberal and enlightened people to break their criminal silence and come forward for saving Pakistan. They should make Pakistan a peaceful, civilized, educated and developed country by getting rid of the religious fanatics. He was addressing a seminar held at the Marriott Hotel in Karachi.
He said unless the large majority of the liberal segment of the society came forward, the wave of extremism and violence by religious extremists would continue unabated in the country. He said that a peace march could be organized by the MQM for promoting religious harmony if people belonging to different schools of thought and followers of different faiths gave support.
He said that he was the first to write condemnatory letters to the US president Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Secretary General of the United States stressing upon them to respect the religious sensibilities of over 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world.
He declared that the liberal, enlightened and moderate Muslims would have to decide if they would surrender abjectly in front of bloodthirsty and uneducated terrorists or wage a struggle against them for living a life of honour and dignity. Their silence would not free the country from the clutches of looters, plunderers and terrorists.
Mr Hussain warned that if the people continued to behave in a servile manner in front of terrorists who had smeared the name of Islam and Pakistan in the world, a time may come when these terrorists would storm into their houses, abduct their women and slaughter them under the name of the prophet and Allah.
He said that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was sent as a mercy for the entire world. What was the rationale behind killing our own people during protests against the sacrilegious film while the maker of the film was ensconced in comfort in the United States.
He said that the terrorists who had vandalized properties, looted bank ATMs, burnt down cinema houses, petrol pumps, foreign restaurants, police mobiles, cars and motorcycles had sent a highly negative image of Islam throughout the world. He asked if there was any difference left between the maker of the blasphemous film and the violent protesters.
He said that a Church was set ablaze by the terrorists on the pretext of expressing love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and said that this would entice non-Muslims to attack our places of worship.
He said that the liberal, democratic, progressive and secular people would have to forget their differences for the larger interest of the country and for saving Pakistan. He particularly appealed to the younger generation and students to make Pakistan a developed and educated country.
He said that he wanted to transform Pakistan according to the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who wanted Pakistan to be a secular, liberal and democratic country. He said that leadership of the country should be given in the hands of educated and honest people belonging to the poor and middle classes.
Mr Hussain said that the religious zealots could be effectively dealt with if the people came towards the MQM by rejecting fake leaders. He said that the genuine leadership would not descend from the heaven like angels. He asked the people to come forward and support Altaf Hussain for saving Pakistan.
Mr Hussain said that the people living in Pakistan were citizens of equal status irrespective of their religious beliefs and thoughts. Everyone should be given equal rights and their places of worship should be protected.
Mr Hussain regretted that no one had supported him when he raised his voice against the forceful implementation of Sharia by the clerics of the Lal Masjid. People would say that the security forces had used phosphorous bomb in the Lal Masjid operation but no one speaks about the fact that they had martyred army and police personnel, burnt CD shops and subjected foreigners to torture.
Mr Hussain praised the head of Tehreek-i-Minhaj-ul-Quran Dr Tahirul Qadri for holding peaceful rallies against the denigrating film. He said that the students who cleaned the streets after the violent protests were true lovers of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
He said that both General Ziaul Haque and General Pervez Mushrraf were dictators. He said that some people think that the MQM had made a mistake by supporting General Musharraf. If it were so, what about the people who had taken oath from General Musharraf by wearing black armbands? He asked if taking the oath by wearing black armbands mitigated their sin. He said that the people cannot be fooled and they know it very well that General Mushrraf was better than those who are looting and plundering the country.
Mr Hussain said that the opponents of the MQM are averse to giving the women even their basic rights. The MQM has always raised voice for the rights of the women and it was instrumental in the legislation done by the assembly for their rights.
In the end Mr Hussain appealed to the people of Pakistan to support the MQM for bringing inter-faith tolerance and sectarian harmony in the country.