- Pashtun leader demands probe in to May 12, 2007 killings
- Says around 8,300 criminals released from jails in Karachi under NRO
- MQM demands apology from Achakzai for calling Karachi city of terrorists
Pashtun nationalist leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai, whose party Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party is an ally of the PML-N in federal and Balochistan governments, on Tuesday rubbed more salt into the already worsening relations between the PML-N government and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), demanding a through probe into the killings of May 12, 2007 and punishment for perpetrators.
The move is being tipped by political pundits as a bid by the Pashtun nationalist leader to spoil a move made by the ruling party – PML-N – for brokering a deal with the MQM under which the arrested MQM leader Nadeem Hashmi had been released and more releases were on the cards.
Achakzai went on to claim that Karachi had been turned into a “den of terrorists”, adding that until target killers were not brought to justice, peace could not be restored in the port city.
He regretted that (former) president Zardari’s government did not act against terrorists who had killed on streets of Karachi just to please the then dictator, while the PML-N government would have to act now.
The remarks made by the Pashtun ethnic leader ignited resentment from MQM lawmakers who reacted strongly against Achakzai, and insisting he apologise for terming Karachiites as “terrorists”.
Taking part in the debate over the address of former president Asif Zardari to the joint sitting of parliament, Achakzai said Pakistan could not be run fairly without bringing to justice the perpetrators of the mass killings of May 12, 2007. He said that he was ready to register an FIR of the incident in Karachi if the government could not do so.
About the introduction of the infamous National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), Achakzai was of the view that due to the underhand deal, around 8,300 criminals had been released from jails in Karachi who were now killing people.
He said since Pakistan came into being, corrupt people broke into the establishment and since then they were running the affairs of the country. “How such people could work for the interests of Pakistan,” he maintained.
About FATA, the Pashtun nationalist leader said the people of the tribal belt could not even think about the unlawful activities and mischief, which were happening in other cities. He said the Pashtuns had rendered many sacrifices for independence of Pakistan. Assuring his party’s full support to the government’s operation in Karachi, Achakzai said Pakistan was currently passing through a difficult situation and the nation should unite in interest of Pakistan.
Responding to the remarks made by Achakzai, MQM’s lawmaker Sajid Ahmed sought an apology from the Pashtun leader for his remarks about Karachi, stating that if he was saying Karachi was a city of terrorists, it meant all citizens of the port city were terrorists.
He said their forefathers had migrated from India for Pakistan and for religion of Islam. “The MQM is product of sense of deprivation,” he added.
He said the MQM had faced a number of allegations including ‘Mohajir Liberation Army, Jinnah Pur’, etc but its leadership successfully got the party away form all these blames.
MQM leader Rashid Godil also reacted to Achakzai’s remarks and questioned why the Pashtun leader was aiming at dividing the country on linguistic basis.
“Some people have MQM phobia,” he said, adding that his party strongly opposed the idea of giving representation to people on community or linguistic basis.
PPP lawmaker Abdul Sattar Bachani lamented that the debate had been shifted to the blame-game over Karachi, while not a single word was uttered about presidential address.
The Awami Muslim League chief, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, criticised the PML-N government’s 100-days performance, saying it was unfortunate that India was being given status of the most-favoured nation (MFN) on the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his government’s poor show in first 100 days and took him to task for keeping nine ministerial portfolios with him.
Jamshaid Dasti said the government should inform the nation about Abbottabad Commission’s report.
PPP lawmaker Imran Zafar Leghari said the government should take appropriate steps against those who troubled law and order.
“The government should make it clear either it wanted to pursue dialogue process with Taliban or it was going to adopt some other option…They should also tell the nation when the dialogue process will be initiated.”
PPP’s Nafeesa Shah said the government should take steps to reopen YouTube, which had been blocked by the previous government. Arifa Khalid proposed a committee be formed to investigate the reasons behind increasing incidents of sexual harassment in the country.
Responding a calling attention notice, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed told the House that subscribers identity module (SIMs) of cellular phones of Afghan origin were being sold in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on a large scale, especially in the bordering areas.
Sheikh Aftab Ahmad also took the House into confidence about giving MFN status to India, stating that despite cabinet’s nod, the process was yet to be completed as the Ministry of Commerce was consulting with other ministries and private sector stakeholders to assess and evaluate level playing field to be enjoyed by Pakistani exports to India.