KARACHI — Pakistani authorities on Tuesday sealed Nine Zero, the headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), after self exiled leader Altaf Hussain delivered a strongly-worded speech to his party workers abusing Pakistan and instigating attacks on private TV channels, reported the News International.
The Rangers and police have launched a crackdown against the party, sealing many offices in different parts of the city and arresting many workers. The crackdown was widened to other parts of Sindh as police raided its offices in Hyderabad and elsewhere.
According to Dawn newspaper, the controversial MQM chief who has been living in exile in London said: “Pakistan is cancer for entire world,” he said. “Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan…it’s down with Pakistan.”
The MQM chief, who has faced a media blackout for his rants against the state and military, went on to instigate violence against media after the party ended its hunger strike against what it said excess meted out to the party during the course of on-going operation against criminal elements in Karachi.
Altaf Hussain gave a telephonic address to his supporters in which he castigated the media for not giving due coverage of his workers and ordered them to attack Geo News, ARY and Samaa.
Following the speech, the authorities took Farooq Sattar, Amir Liaquat, Izharul Hassan and many other leaders and workers of the party with Director General Sindh Rangers assuring private media channels of security.
Meanwhile Inspector Gernal Sindh AD Khowaja said on Tuesday that a treason case had been registered against MQM chief Altaf Hussain for his inflammatory and anti-Pakistan speech.
According to details, AD Khowaja disclosed that two cases had been registered against the MQM. One case pertains to treason for Altaf Hussain’s anti-Pakistan speech to the participants of the hunger strike campaign set up by MQM and the other case pertains to the incident which occurred on Monday, when armed supporters of the party attacked media houses in Karachi.
TV Channels Attacked
Two media houses, ARY and Samaa TV, were ransacked as activists chanting pro-MQM slogans went berserk on Monday evening after listening to the highly provocative speech of their London-based chief Altaf Hussain and resorted to a violent protest, firing and arson that left at least one person dead and a dozen others wounded in an attack reminiscent of the May 12 assault on a private channel, drawing condemnation along with directives for immediate arrest of culprits from the army chief.
Political parties condemned Altaf Hussain’s speech and called for action against those who attacked media houses.
Irum Farooqi, a female MQM lawmaker in Sindh Assembly, decided to resign from the party and the assembly after Hussain’s anti-Pakistan speech. MNA Abdul Rashid Godil, Babur Ghori, Faisal Subzwari and Senator Tahir Mashhadi also seemed to detest the speech delivered by their boss against Pakistan as they tweeted about their feelings for the country.
A number of Pakistanis have approached the UK’s Scotland Yard seeking action against Altaf Hussan who has lived there since he left Pakistan in the early 90s.
What MQM Chief Said…
Meanwhile Dawn newspaper reported that Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Altaf Hussain’s diatribe on Monday took many by surprise who were convinced that state institutions will use the speech as a justification for a strong action against MQM activists.
Parts of the speech that went viral on social media minutes after the violence broke out in the city’s south districts showed that while addressing the MQM workers protesting outside the Karachi Press Club against “enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of workers”, Hussain not only raised slogans against Pakistan but also called the country “a cancer for entire world”.
“Pakistan is cancer for entire world,” he said. “Pakistan is headache for the entire world. Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism for the entire world. Who says long live Pakistan…it’s down with Pakistan.”
The London-based MQM chief then turned to the party workers for different questions about their next “move” after leaving the hunger strike camp, suggesting that something violent was in the offing.
“So you are moving to ARY and Samaa [offices] from here…right?” he asked to receive from the crowd a unanimous and loud reply in the affirmative. “So you go to Samaa and ARY today and then refresh [yourself] tomorrow for the Rangers place. And tomorrow we would lock down the Sindh government building which is called Sindh Secretariat.”
The directives charged the crowd, prompting women workers whose voices can be heard over microphone raising pro-Altaf slogans: “Bhai ka ho ik ishara, hazir hazir lahu hamara [on just directives of Altaf Hussain, we can shed our blood].”
As showed by the news channels and footage shared on social media, the final move before the violence occurred when the workers were directly interacting with Altaf Hussain over telephone.
“Bhai, we just need your nod and nothing else,” a woman worker was heard asking the MQM leader before receiving this from him: “Bismillah, Bismillah, Bismillah.”
Within seconds of Mr Hussain’s reply, the protesters stood up and chanted slogans in his and party’s favour and left the camp. Then different voices of women emerged informing their leader over phone attached with microphone about their move.
“Bhai we are moving from here to ARY and Samaa and don’t you worry that we would get justice on our own,” said one of the voices.