MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Sunday demanded army action against the Taliban and said that if the need arose, party activists were ready to sacrifice their lives to save “Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan from extremist forces.”
Speaking over the phone from London to a large public gathering at the Jinnah Ground near Nine Zero, the MQM leader, once again, condemned the attack on child activist Malala Yousafzai and her two classmates Shazia and Kainat.
With his speech being broadcast to 36 other locations across the country, Altaf said that Malala was a beacon of light, who aspired to acquire knowledge, which the Prophet (PBUH) had made obligatory on all Muslim men and women. He warned that extremist forces were “hell bent on extinguishing beacons of light like Malala Yousafzai”, which was contrary to the teachings of Islam. He also termed Malala Yousafzai as the “Daughter of Pakistan”.
“The time has come to decide the fate of Pakistan. We have to choose between the Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan and the Taliban’s Pakistan,” he said.
Calling the Taliban “inhumane, illiterate and Stone Age people”, Altaf said that the civil society, media professionals and lawyers needed to join hands to rid Pakistani society of these elements.
He praised the religious scholars who unequivocally condemned the actions of the Taliban and had the moral fibre to call them “barbaric”. As for those religious scholars who were reluctant to condemn the acts of the Taliban, Altaf said these people were, in fact, “selling the names of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for petty worldly gains”.
Drawing parallels between the present national spirit and that of the 1965 war, Altaf, directly addressing the heads of the armed forces and the ISI, said that the nation was now united behind the military and wanted it to annihilate the Taliban.
Calling the present moment a ‘crucial time’ in the history of Pakistan, the MQM chief said that the nation needed to decide whether it wanted to save Pakistan or have it wiped off the world map.
Criticising the apparent silence of political and religious parties on the rising tide of extremism in the country, Altaf questioned where the long marches against those who attacked the shrines of Sufi saints, mosques and Imambargahs as well as the religious places of non-Muslims were?
Citing the cold-blooded murder of former governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer by his security guard Mumtaz Qadri as a glaring example of intolerance in society, Altaf advised the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, to take suo motu notice of the lawyers who showered Qadri with rose petals when he appeared in court.
He said it was high time that the people, and especially the armed forces, repaid the debts of those soldiers who were martyred fighting the Taliban. Altaf regretted that some people tried to justify the actions of the Taliban as retaliation to drone strikes.
Altaf appealed to the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the merciless attack on Malala Yousufzai and her class fellows.
Dispelling the notion that the MQM supported drone strikes, Altaf said that the party had always condemned the acts and even organised protest demonstrations against them.
Altaf appealed to the people to stop donating money to organisations that pampered extremist elements, who would not even hesitate to attack students like Malala Yousufzai.
Speaking about the Lal Masjid, Altaf said that certain television anchorpersons were saying that women were burnt alive during the Lal Masjid operation. He urged them to name the women supposedly burnt to death in the Lal Masjid incident with their fathers’ names and complete addresses in order to lay the real facts before the public.
“The TV channels should have also shown the footage of the women students of Lal Masjid carrying Kalashnikovs in their hands,” he remarked.
He also asked if the so-called students of the Lal Masjid were unarmed.
“Were they not firing bullets? Did they not vandalise CD shops in Islamabad? Did they not kidnap Chinese women?”
Altaf asked the chief justice of Pakistan and other judges of the Supreme Court to take action against the killers and those who wanted to enforce Shariah law by force.
He said that the Supreme Court should move against those who had looted national wealth, but no party should be singled out.