Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain called for the army to be deployed in violence-ravaged Karachi on Wednesday, as coalition partners in the provincial government mandated President Asif Ali Zardari to negotiate with all political forces to bring peace and normalcy to the provincial capital. Another four people were killed in gang wars in Karachi as Rangers personnel set up makeshift pickets in troubled areas and began spot-checking traffic.
Another four people killed in violence on Wednesday; Altaf says action should be taken against miscreants even if they belong to MQM
Violence subsided somewhat in the city on Wednesday as a semblance of normalcy returned following orders for Rangers to begin targeted operations, and as the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary was given police powers and put on standby.
ALTAF DEMANDS ACTION: Speaking to party leaders via telephone from London, the MQM chief said action should be taken against those involved in terrorist activities, even if they belonged to the MQM, a private TV channel reported.
He said those who claimed ownership of Pakistan today had actually been “slaves of Hindu banias” before partition and the freedom they were enjoying today was because of the Muhajirs’ struggle. “Pakistan came into being because of Muhajirs,” he said.The MQM chief said the army must come to Karachi and see for itself who was involved in the killings. He said if a single MQM worker was found involved, action should be taken against him. He called on President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to stop “patronizing” terrorists and gangsters.
Meanwhile, the Presidency remained engaged in a series of meetings to develop an amicable strategy to bring peace and normalcy to Karachi “at all costs”, with three back-to-back meetings being held in relation to the situation in the violence-hit port city.
ZARDARI AUTHORISED: The coalition partners in the provincial government decided to authorise President Zardari to hold political negotiations with all political forces in order to bring peace and normalcy to the city besides taking appropriate administrative and law and order measures for the purpose.
Presidential Spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the decision was taken in the first of a series of meetings of the Sindh cabinet, comprising provincial ministers from the Pakistan People’s Party, the Awami National Party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and the PML-Functional. The meeting reiterated the government’s resolve to restore peace in Karachi “at all costs and to bring the culprits to justice regardless of their affiliations, if any”.
The president called upon all the political forces to complement the government’s efforts to bring peace to the city and to bring the criminal elements to justice. He said the government believed in taking along all the political forces on the issues of national importance and would continue to do so in future. On a question by the president about the implementation of his previous directives to release funds to strengthen the provincial police, the Sindh finance minister said the first installment of Rs 450 million of the Rs 5 billion package had been released.
The president ordered the remaining amount to be progressively released to meet the police’s demand for vehicles, APCs, bullet-proof vests, helmets, weapons and other accessories. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said meanwhile that a full-scale operation would not be conducted in Karachi, but Rangers would take targeted action based on specific intelligence To a question, Malik said he agreed with the reservations expressed by Altaf Hussain and action was being taken against outlaws and terrorists in Karachi because of that.