MQM, PPP take row to diplomats
ISLAMABAD: Finding no way out of the Karachi quagmire, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have taken their fight to the Diplomatic Enclave in the federal capital, Dawn has learnt.
Former MQM senator and member of the party’s coordination committee Nasreen Jalil has written letters to the embassies of the United States, the United Kingdom and China, informing them about the situation in Karachi and accusing the PPP of trying to “push them to the limit”.
In the letters, copies of which are available with Dawn, sent to the consuls general of these countries last month, Ms Jalil had cited a news article which alleged that the PPP was behind a “conspiracy” to “pit the ANP against MQM” in Karachi.
Diplomatic sources told Dawn that PPP leaders, particularly those belonging to Sindh, had also been presenting their viewpoint to the diplomats in response to the MQM letters.
The sources said Sindh Minister for Local Government Agha Siraj Durrani visited the US Consulate in Karachi on Thursday afternoon and passed on his party’s concerns over the situation in the provincial metropolis where more than 100 people lost their lives last week in incidents of target killings.
Ms Jalil said in a letter: “In the first week of July 2011, terrorists of land mafia, drug mafia, extortionist mafia and religious extremists under the protection of the ANP carried out indiscriminate firing from Kati Pahari at the residents of Qasba Colony and Orangi Town” taking lives of more than 100 people and keeping the area residents “hostage for five days till the Rangers came to their rescue.” She added that the “MQM fears that the violence in Karachi is instigated under the protection and patronage of the PPP”.
Through another letter written a day after Senior Sindh Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza made controversial remarks against MQM chief Altaf Hussain and the Urdu-speaking community, Ms Jalil informed the diplomats that her party believed that Dr Mirza had done it at the behest of PPP Co-Chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari.
“Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, acting on the instructions of his boss, in collusion with ANP’s Shahi Syed and terrorists of PPP Aman Committee expressed his intent in clear terms on July 13, 2011, night to the media,” she wrote.
“No condemnation has come from the PPP leadership which demonstrates President Zardari’s tacit approval. This alone is more serious than the mere statement of Dr Mirza. It is the biggest threat to the stability of the region and particularly Karachi.”
Dr Mirza has always been in the news for his outspokenness and verbal attacks on the MQM and it was because of one of harsh remarks and his open support for the now disbanded peace committee that the MQM had the first time quit the ruling coalition in December last year.
“It is for you to understand who is the culprit in destabilising Karachi/Pakistan,” Ms Jalil said in her letters.
When contacted, the MQM leader defended her action and said her party had written the letters only to brief them on the situation. “We are a political party. We want them to know what is happening and don’t expect anything from them and nor do we want them to get involved,” she said.
She said these countries were interested in stability and peace in Karachi. Therefore, she said, they ought to know what really was happening in the city.
PPP’s Agha Siraj Durrani could not be contacted.
Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar expressed his ignorance about the letters written by the MQM or PPP members to the diplomats.
When asked about Mr Durrani’s visit to the US Consulate General in Karachi, he said politicians’ visits to embassies and consulates were a routine matter.
There has been a huge trust deficit between the PPP and the MQM despite the fact that the two parties have been continuously holding talks with each other for over three years.
Each party claims to have “solid proof” of the involvement of the other in incidents of target killing in Karachi.