Hyderabad – 8 January 2001
Mr. Altaf Hussain, Founder and Leader of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), has said if Benazir Bhutto campaigns to rid Sindh from the oppressive domination of the Punjabi Establishment, complete provincial autonomy according to the spirit of 1940 Resolution and take into account the bloodshed of her father and brother including the extra judicial murder of innocent Sindhis and Mohajirs by the Punjabi establishment, then we are ready to work along with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Mr Hussain stated this today while answering to the questions at the luncheon gathering organised by the MQM Hyderabad Zone in the honour of Sindhi journalists and editors.
Replying to a question he said we do accept that PPP is a large political party and majority of Sindhis vote for the PPP. However, as far as understanding with the PPP is concerned, if Benazir Bhutto openly campaigns for full provincial autonomy according to the spirit of 1940 Resolution, rid the Sindh province of the domination and occupation of Punjabi Establishment, for the rights of Sindh and take into account the bloodshed of her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and her brothers Shahnawaz Bhutto and Mir Murtuza Ali Bhutto including the massacre of all the oppressed Sindhis and Mohajirs by the establishment then we are ready to work along with the PPP.
Mr. Altaf Hussain said, Benazir Bhutto should think that for how long she would continue to work for the interest of the Establishment for the sake of becoming the prime minister? She should think for Sindh, which has been deprived of its legitimate rights and its people are longing for basic necessities including clean drinking water. He said that Benazir Bhutto has to decide whether she wants to bargain and struggle only to attain power or she wants to struggle for the rights of Sindh. If she comes forward for the rights of Sindh, then we are ready to work along with the PPP.
Answering to another question on Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), Mr. Hussain said that in the political history of Pakistan many political alliances came into existence but what was their fate? He said an alliance formed to restore the democracy should within itself reflect the real democracy. Before the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) joined the ARD, a political alliance GDA existed. However, soon after the PML joined the GDA, acting solely on their advice GDA was transformed into ARD. Moreover, its declaration was drafted without even taking the consent and consultation with the component political parties of the alliance. He said on the one hand PML joined the ARD and on the other hand they made a deal with the Military Government. As a result of this secret deal, its leader left the country whereas the PPP kept silent.
He said that what could be expected from such an alliance after the restoration of democracy when its member political parties are involved in deception and betrayal even before the restoration of democracy?
Answering to another question Mr Hussain said that if ARD demands for full provincial autonomy according to the spirit of 1940 Resolution, then the MQM Coordination Committee is prepared to take back some of its other demands.
Replying to another question Mr Hussain said that MQM has never worked for the interest of Punjabi Establishment. If the MQM would have worked for the Punjabi Establishment then such a long State Operation would not have been launched against the MQM, thousands of its innocent workers would not have been murdered, and thousands of its workers would not have been languishing in jails even today. He said, the Establishment detained Nawaz Sharif but no action was taken against the entire PML. Mr. Altaf Hussain said that the people of Sindh have been detained in prisons whereas those belonging to Punjab have been set free despite looting the national exchequer.
Mr Hussain asked how the problems could be resolved and the concept of one nation strengthen when the Sindhis, Mohajirs, Baloch and Pashtoons are labelled as traitors, their patriotism considered doubtful and only the Punjabis are declared as loyal and the most patriotic citizens of the country. Mr. Hussain said that one nation couldn’t be formed only by preaching -- providing equality and justice could only form it.
Mr Hussain said that nation gives birth to another nation and geographical boundaries gives birth to geographical boundaries. If the people of different classes and communities, living in a geographical boundary, are treated equally then one-nation concept strengthens and the concept of ethno-linguistic groups weakens. However, if equal treatment is not provided then the concept of one-nation weakens and the concept of ethno-linguistic groups strengthens.
Replying to a question on the politics of arms in Sindh, Mr Hussain said that we are against the politics of arms and ammunition. However when armed attacks will be carried out upon peaceful localities, thousands of innocent people will be massacred, houses will be torched and the Police, Army and the Administration does not to provide protection to the people then every person has a right to defend according to the constitution, law and even provided by the UN Charter. Mr Hussain said that why it is demanded to only rid Sindh of weapons whereas much more illegal weapons are in Punjab? He demanded to first eliminate weapons from where they are manufactured then talk of purging weapons from Sindh. He further said if cities and villages of Sindh are showered upon with arms and ammunition and the innocent people of Sindh continue to die as a result then it must be demanded that arms and ammunition must be confiscated from whoever is using it against the people of Sindh.
Replying to a question regarding Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement (PONM), Mr Hussain said that we support their demands and we are in contact with the PONM and a working relationship could be established. He said that in this context the MQM Coordination Committee has forwarded some proposals to Sardar Ataullah Mengal, Convenor of PONM. He further said that in the 12 Resolutions presented in the public gathering of 17th September in London, we have talked about the rights of oppressed nations of the country.
On the issue of stranded Pakistanis in the Bangladesh, Mr Hussain said that they sided with the Army in 1971; therefore, it is the moral obligation of the Pakistan Army to repatriate them to Pakistan and settle them in the Punjab.