London – 8 January 2001
While talking to the journalists and editors of Sindhi newspapers the other day, MQM leader Mr. Altaf Hussain said that Sindhis and Mohajirs are two branches of the same tree - they are two sons of Mother Sindh. As one mother gives birth to two sons similarly one tree has two branches. Sindh is the land of Shah Latif, the present and future of both the Sindhi speaking Sindhis and Urdu-speaking Sindhis is linked with this land. Both the sons derive sustenance from this soil. They spend their income in Sindh and will die and buried here too. We do not send our dead for burial somewhere else. It is, therefore, imperative that both Sindhis and Mohajirs should join hands in the struggle for their rights of Sindh.
He pointed out that Punjabi Establishment in its own interest is working on the policy of divide and rule. They have created rift and hatred among the Sindhi and Urdu speaking communities and employed agents from both Sindhis and Mohajirs for this purpose to further their nefarious designs. So that the two of us continue to fight with each other whereas the Establishment continue to squander the resources of Sindh and occupy its lands.
It is exactly due to their conspiracies that Sindh is not an autonomous province but a colony of Punjabi Establishment and people of Sindh have been deprived of their fundamental rights and resources. In order to release Sindh from the clutches of Punjabi Establishment both the Urdu speaking Sindhis and Sindhi speaking Sindhis have to jointly struggle for their rights. We have to develop an understanding and acceptance of each other among ourselves in order to defeat the conspiracies of the Establishment.
He further stated that our life and death are linked to the soil of Sindh, we do not want to divide Sindh – such ideas are part of the conspiracy of the Punjabi Establishment and not part of MQM policy. Mr. Altaf Hussain assured the Sindhi brethren that he would never betray the land of Sindh so they should trust him. He asked Sindhi brethren to try him out and they will see that he will struggle for their interests.
Addressing the Sindhi brothers, sisters, mothers, intellectuals, journalists and Sindhi elders and people at large he declared that he is the son of Sindh and will never compromise with the enemies of Sindh. He also recited two verses of Sindhi poetry. “We should unite, like the grass on the bank of a river, if it does not assist those drowning it also drown with them”. Mr Hussain assured Sindhi brothers, sisters, mothers and intellectuals that if he could not save Sindh; he would sink with them rather than made a deal with Punjabi Establishment to save himself. Those Mohajirs who take part in the massacre of Mohajirs with Punjabi Establishment, they apparently call themselves Mohajirs but actually they are stooges of Punjabi Establishment. Similarly, those Sindhis who work against the interests of Sindh with the Punjabi Establishment are traitors of Sindh. He said that it is greatly regrettable that even during the period of Sindhi rulers, the people of Sindh had been neglected in the same manner as during any non-Sindhi ruler, whether it was the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto or Benazir Bhutto. He asked Benazir Bhutto as to how long would she continue to pursue to premiership of Pakistan and when would she unveil the murderers of her father, brother and those who have exploited Sindh? When would she provide the evidence of being the daughter of Sindh? For how long would she continue to make deals with the Punjabi Establishment and the army, allowing them to strengthen their stranglehold upon Sindh? Mr. Altaf Hussain asked the audience as to how many amongst the nationalists leaders of Sindh are there who have struggled and are ready to sacrifice their lives for the rights of Sindh.
He reminded the audience that the army operation against the MQM is continuing since 19 June 1992. Such a lengthy operation has never been conducted against any political party in Pakistan. The Punjabi Establishment has extra-judicially murdered more than 15000 Mohajirs, thousands of our workers are still in prison and waiting to be hanged and thousands are living in exile overseas. But despite all these atrocities MQM has not surrendered to Punjabi Establishment. He recalled the extra-judicial killings of Mohajirs during Benazir premiership. The very first point of Presidential Order dismissing her government was extra-judicial killings. But Ms. Benazir Bhutto continues to claim that her government acted only against the terrorists to fulfil its duty and no one was killed extra-judicially. Does Benazir Bhutto and her colleagues regard the extra-judicial killing of Mir Murtaza Bhutto as an act of duty of her state functionaries? Does she have the courage to say that the murder of Murtaza Bhutto was not an extra-judicial killing?
Mr. Altaf Hussain pointed out that the atrocities committed upon the MQM have no parallel in the history of Pakistan. Whereas Nawaz Sharif, despite his conviction on serious charges was whisked off overnight because he belongs to the Punjabi privileged class. On the other hand Dr. Farooq Sattar and thousands of other MQM workers are incarcerated in prisons for years on false and fabricated charges. Our movement started on 11 June 1978 as a student’s organisation, APMSO, from the Karachi University. Soon after its inception the Establishment, the army and its intelligence agencies with the help of their patronise student’s party – Islami Jamiat Tulba began their conspiracies to crush APMSO. Under this policy, APMSO was evicted by force from all the educational institutions of Karachi on 3 February 1981, through the militant Thunder Squad of Islami Jamiat Tulba. This happened because it was not acceptable to Punjabi Establishment that any nationalist party should emerge amongst the middle and poor class of Sindh.
He pointed out that the agents of the Punjabi establishment have maliciously propagated that the MQM was created by General Zia Ul Haq to harm PPP. He said, “whereas the fact is that during General Zia’s rule I was the only student of Karachi University who was sentenced to 9 months rigorous imprisonment and 5 lashes by the Summary Military Court after my arrest on 14 August 1979 for peacefully demonstrating in front of Quaid-e-Azam’s Mausoleum. The authorities offered me bribe to abandon my struggle but I did not trade my conscience and served the entire 9 months of my sentence. The Martial Law authorities even contacted my mother to persuade me but my mother declined to do that saying that my son is on the right path, he has not committed any crime so why should he ask to be pardoned.”
After being thrown out of the educational institutions on 3 February 1981 we started our work among the masses and established Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM) on 18 March 1984, which was transformed into Muttahida Quami Movement on 26 July 1997, in order to spread the ideology of MQM to the poor and middle class people of the country. But the Establishment did not allow us to work freely throughout the country because they knew that the MQM is the only party in the country that belongs to the poor and middle class people and all its leaders and workers came from these classes. Those countries where feudalism and dictatorship is in vogue, their Establishments do not tolerate a movement or party with grass root support. In Pakistan all those parties who were allowed to form a government, their leadership belonged to feudal and privileged class, whether it is Muslim League or Peoples Party. Although Nawaz Sharif does not come from a feudal family but he has been moulded as such by the Establishment and with all his privileges his mindset has become feudal. Finally Mr. Altaf Hussain reiterated that MQM is the only party that has its roots in the masses. The struggle of MQM is for all the poor and deprived people of all the provinces including Mohajirs.