MQM’s form of political protest is unjustified.

The fact remains that it is the right of the provincial government to decide what the local government system is in any province. It’s unfortunate that the local government system preferred by many PPP leaders would not be as decentralized as the local government system preferred by MQM. But that’s beside the point. The point is that MQM should be held accountable for its role in the killings in Lyari, Landhi, Orangi, Qasba Colony. No matter how much they oppose the provincial government’s plan for local government, their chosen form of protest and pressurization is completely wrong.

MQM supporters argue that it is their workers who are being targetted by PPP forces backed by Zulfiqar Mirza and other local PPP leaders and it’s true that MQM workers have been targetted as well. The perpetrators of these killings should be brought to justice. But at the very highest level, it seems that Rehman Malik, PM Gillani and President Zardari are pursuing policies of reconciliation with the highest leadership of MQM (Altaf Hussain and Farooq Sattar) whereas Farooq Sattar and other MQM leaders are constantly doing hard bargaining for more concessions on the local government issue. So at the highest level, the party that is using the violence in Karachi for its own political ends is MQM. And at the highest level, the party that is using violence to achieve political goals that are outside of its constitutional rights and against the concept of provincial autonomy is also MQM. And for this, MQM leaders should be called out by the media and condemned. But that’s not happening. Most media reports are calling the violence in Karachi a turf war in which both major parties are equally to blame. However the fact remains that the Sindh government is well within its rights to decide whatever it wants
on the local government issue and MQM, no matter how strong it is in Karachi, should still accept that it is a part of Sindh and submit to the will of the Sindh assembly no matter how much they dislike its decisions.

24 responses to “MQM’s form of political protest is unjustified.”

  1. Comments from Facebook:

    By Mohammad Jamal:
    Political decisions are carried out by consensus. PPP should tell people what the weakness of the System introduced by Pervez and the merits of the system they want to bring back.

    1973 constitution is not Quran. People have a right to add or delete provisions according to their needs.

    I recommend the post writer to read K.M Arif’s Book ‘Khaki Shadows’. It has a chapter that tells us why MQM was formed.

    Failure and apathy of political parties led the formation of MQM. Before the advent of MQM on Sind’s political scene, people of Karachi used to vote for PPP,JI and JUP. But they did not pay attention to solve their problems.

  2. US State Deptt on MQM

    Pakistan: Information on Mohajir/Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A)
    Query: Provide information on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A) in Pakistan.,,USCIS,,PAK,,414fe5aa4,0.html



    The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A) has been widely accused of human rights abuses since its founding two decades ago. It claims to represent Mohajirs— Urdu-speaking Muslims who fled to Pakistan from India after the 1947 partition of the subcontinent, and their descendants.
    In the mid-1990s, the MQM-A was heavily involved in the widespread political violence that wracked Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, particularly Karachi, the port city that is the country’s commercial capital. MQM-A militants fought government forces, breakaway MQM factions, and militants from other ethnic-based movements. In the mid-1990s, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and others accused the MQM-A and a rival faction of summary killings, torture, and other abuses (see, e.g., AI 1 Feb 1996; U.S. DOS Feb 1996). The MQM-A routinely denied involvement in violence.


    The current MQM-A is the successor to a group called the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) that was founded by Altaf Hussein in 1984 as a student movement to defend the rights of Mohajirs, who by some estimates make up 60 percent of Karachi’s population of twelve million. At the time, Mohajirs were advancing in business, the professions, and the bureaucracy, but many resented the quotas that helped ethnic Sindhis win university slots and civil service jobs. Known in English as the National Movement for Refugees, the MQM soon turned to extortion and other types of racketeering to raise cash. Using both violence and efficient organizing, the MQM became the dominant political party in Karachi and Hyderabad, another major city in Sindh. Just three years after its founding, the MQM came to power in these and other Sindh cities in local elections in 1987 (AI 1 Feb 1996; U.S. DOS Feb 1997, Feb 1999; HRW Dec 1997).

    The following year, the MQM joined a coalition government at the national level headed by Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which took power in elections following the death of military leader General Zia ul-Haq. This marked the first of several times in the 1980s and 1990s that the MQM joined coalition governments in Islamabad or in Sindh province. Meanwhile, violence between the MQM and Sindhi groups routinely broke out in Karachi and other Sindh cities (AI 1 Feb 1996; Jane’s 14 Feb 2003).
    In 1992, a breakway MQM faction, led by Afaq Ahmed and Aamir Khan, launched the MQM Haqiqi (MQM-H), literally the “real” MQM. Many Pakistani observers alleged that the MQM-H was supported by the government of Pakistan to weaken the main MQM led by Altaf Hussein, which became known as the MQM-A (Jane’s 14 Feb 2003). Several smaller MQM factions also emerged, although most of the subsequent intra-group violence involved the MQM-A and the MQM-H (AI 1 Feb 1996; U.S. DOS Feb 1999; Jane’s 14 Feb 2003).

    Political violence in Sindh intensified in 1993 and 1994 (Jane’s 14 Feb 2003). In 1994, fighting among MQM factions and between the MQM and Sindhi nationalist groups brought almost daily killings in Karachi (U.S. DOS Feb 1995). By July 1995, the rate of political killings in the port city reached an average of ten per day, and by the end of that year more than 1,800 had been killed (U.S. DOS Feb 1996).

    The violence in Karachi and other cities began abating in 1996 as soldiers and police intensified their crackdowns on the MQM-A and other groups (Jane’s 14 Feb 2003). Pakistani forces resorted to staged “encounter killings” in which they would shoot MQM activists and then allege that the killings took place during encounters with militants (U.S. DOS Feb 1996). Following a crackdown in 1997, the MQM-A adopted its present name, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, or United National Movement, which also has the initials MQM (HRW Dec 1997).

    MQM-A leader Hussein fled in 1992 to Britain, where he received asylum in 1999 (Jane’s 14 Feb 2003). The MQM-A is not on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations (U.S. DOS 23 May 2003).
    While the multifaceted nature of the violence in Sindh province in the 1980s and 1990s at times made it difficult to pinpoint specific abuses by the MQM-A, the group routinely was implicated in rights abuses. In 1992 after the Sindh government called in the army to crack down on armed groups in the province, facilities were discovered that allegedly were used by the MQM-A to torture and at times kill dissident members and activists from rival groups. In 1996, Amnesty International said that the PPP and other parties were reporting that some of their activists had been tortured and killed by the MQM-A (AI 1 Feb 1996).

    The MQM-A and other factions also have been accused of trying to intimidate journalists. In one of the most flagrant cases, in 1990 MQM leader Hussein publicly threatened the editor of the monthly NEWSLINE magazine after he published an article on the MQM’s alleged use of torture against dissident members (U.S. DOS Feb 1991). The following year, a prominent journalist, Zafar Abbas, was severely beaten in Karachi in an attack that was widely blamed on MQM leaders angered over articles by Abbas describing the party’s factionalization. The same year, MQM activists assaulted scores of vendors selling DAWN, Pakistan’s largest English-language newspaper, and other periodicals owned by Herald Publications (U.S. DOS Feb 1992).

    The MQM-A has also frequently called strikes in Karachi and other cities in Sindh province and used killings and other violence to keep shops closed and people off the streets. During strikes, MQM-A activists have ransacked businesses that remained open and attacked motorists and pedestrians who ventured outside (U.S. DOS Feb 1996; Jane’s 14 Feb 2003). The MQM-A allegedly raises funds through extortion, narcotics smuggling, and other criminal activities. In addition, Mohajirs in Pakistan and overseas provide funds to the MQM-A through charitable foundations (Jane’s 14 Feb 2003).

    Since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, the MQM-A has been increasingly critical of Islamic militant groups in Pakistan. The MQM-A, which generally has not targeted Western interests, says that it supports the global campaign against terrorism (Jane’s 14 Feb 2003).

    This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

  3. یم کیو ایم فوج کے ہاتھوں میں؟
    حسین عسکری
    بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام، لندن
    وقتِ اشاعت: Thursday, 17 May, 2007, 00:14 GMT 05:14 PST
    ایم کیو ایم تشدد کی سیاست سے باہر نہیں نکل سکی
    چیف جسٹس افتخار محمد چودھری کی معطلی کا معاملہ بارہ مئی کو جو شکل اختیار کر گیا ہے اس نے لوگوں کے ذہنوں میں کئی سوالات پیدا کیے ہیں۔
    نو مارچ کو صدر مشرف کی جانب سے چیف جسٹس افتخار چودھری کے خلاف ریفرینس کے بعد سے چیف جسٹس نے پاکستان کے مختلف شہروں میں بار کونسلوں سے خطاب کیے اور وکلا اور سیاسی جماعتوں نے بھرپور لیکن تقریبا پر امن احتجاج کا سلسلہ جاری رکھا۔ آخر چیف جسٹس کے کراچی کے دورے پر ہی صورتحال نے خوفناک حد تک پُرتشدد شکل کیوں اختیار کی۔ حکومت نے ان کو بار بار یہ مشورہ کیوں دیا کہ وہ کراچی نہ جائیں کیونکہ ان کے کراچی جانے سے شہر میں حالات خراب ہو سکتے ہیں۔
    اِن سوالات کے جواب معلوم کرنے کے لیے ہمیں گزشتہ بائیس برسوں کے دوران کراچی پر بلاشرکتِ غیرے راج کرنے والی جماعت متحدہ قومی موومنٹ کے سیاسی کردار کا جائزہ لینا ہوگا۔
    انیس سو پچاسی میں بشریٰ زیدی نامی طالبہ کی ایک ٹریفک حادثے میں ہلاکت کے بعد شروع ہونے والے عوامی احتجاج کو نسلی فسادات میں بدل دیا گیا۔ اُس عوامی احتجاج کے اندر ایک موثر تحریک بن کر اندرون سندھ اور آنے والے دنوں میں پورے ملک میں مارشل لا حکومت کے خلاف ایک بڑی تحریک سے جڑ جانے کی پوری صلاحیت موجود تھی۔
    کراچی کے شہریوں کو یہ اچھی طرح یاد ہوگا کہ شہر میں کس طرح افواہیں پھیلائی گئیں کہ پٹھان مہاجر بستیوں پر حملہ کرنے آ رہے ہیں۔ پٹھان علاقوں میں بھی اسی طرح کی افواہیں پھیلائی گئیں۔ کراچی یونیورسٹی میں ڈیموکریٹک سٹوڈنٹس فیڈریشن نامی تنظیم کے طلبہ و طالبات نے طے کیا کہ وہ پٹھانوں کے ایک علاقے بنارس جا کر وہاں لوگوں کو اِس سازش کے بارے میں سمجھائیں گے۔
    لیکن نامعلوم افراد نے بنارس میں یہ افواہ پھیلا دی کہ مہاجر ایک بس میں بھر کر پٹھانوں پر حملہ کرنے آ رہے ہیں۔ نتیجہ یہ کہ اس بس کے طلبہ پر تشدد ہوا، کچھ طلبہ زخمی ہوئے اور علاقے کے لوگوں تک اپنا پیغام پہنچائے بغیر وہاں سے چلے گئے۔ لیکن شہر میں یہ افواہ پھیلا دی گئی کہ بس میں سوار مہاجر طالبات کو پٹھانوں نے اغوا کر لیا ہے۔ امن قائم کرنے کی کوئی کوشش امن خراب کرنے والوں کے ہاتھوں کامیاب نہ ہوسکی۔ شہر میں امن ریلیاں بھی نکلیں لیکن بے سود رہیں۔
    اُن دنوں کے فسادات میں بڑے پیمانے پر پٹھانوں، پنجابیوں اور مہاجروں کے درمیان مسلح جھڑپوں میں سیکڑوں افراد ہلاک اور اربوں روپے کی املاک تباہ ہوئیں اور شہر کی اردو بولنے والی آبادی کی اکثریت نے ایم کیو ایم کے سائے تلے پناہ لے لی ۔
    اس وقت کے فوجی ڈکٹیٹر جنرل ضیاالحق کی قیادت میں فوجی ایسٹیبلشمنٹ نے اس طرح کئی فائدے حاصل کیے۔ جنرل ضیاالحق کے خلاف صوبہ سندھ میں تحریک برائے بحالی جمہوریت ( ایم آر ڈی ) کی تحریک کمزور ہوئی۔ پاکستان کی سب سے بڑی مڈل کلاس آبادی کو مرکزی دھارے کی سیاست سے کاٹ کر ملک کی جمہوری قوتوں کو ناقابلِ تلافی نقصان پہچایا گیا۔ اس وقت سے آج تک کراچی ملک کے مرکزی دھارے کی سیاست سے کٹا ہوا ہے اور اِس شہر کی منتخب جماعت جمہوریت کے خلاف فوج کے ہاتھوں استعمال ہوتی ہوئی نظر آ رہی ہے۔ تشدد کے نتیجے میں وجود میں آنے والی یہ جماعت آج تک تشدد کی سیاست سے باہر نہیں نکل سکی۔
    فوج نے ایم کیو ایم کے لیے سیاست میں جو کردار متعین کیا ہوا ہے ایم کیو ایم نہ تو اس سے باہر آ سکی ہے نہ اسے ایسا کرنے دیا گیا ہے۔ انیس سو بانوے اور پھر انیس سو پچانوے میں کراچی میں دو ریاستی آپریشنوں کے ذریعے ایم کیو ایم کو یہ بات پوری طرح سمجھا دی گئی ہے کہ اُسے فوج کے بتائے ہوئے راستے پر ہی چلنا ہے۔ فوج کے لیے مرکزی دھارے سے کٹی ہوئی جماعت کو یہ سمجھانا آسان ہوتا ہے۔
    ریاستی آپریشن کے دوران جب ایم کیو ایم کے رہنما چھپتے پھر رہے تھے اور کارکنوں کے جعلی مقابلوں میں ماورائے عدالت قتل ہو رہے تھے تو یہ میڈیا ہی تھا جس نے اِس کے خلاف آواز اٹھائی تھی۔ بعد میں جماعت کے ایک اہم رہنما آفتاب شیخ نے کراچی پریس کلب کی ایک تقریب میں صحافیوں سے میڈیا کے ساتھ اپنے رویے کی کھلے عام معافی مانگی تھی۔
    کراچی میں بارہ مئی کو ’آج‘ ٹی وی پر کئی گھنٹوں تک ہونے والی فائرنگ کی معافی کے لیے بھی شاید لوگوں کو کئی برس تک انتظار کرنا ہوگا۔
    وہ انیس سو اٹھاسی اور انیس سو ترانوے میں پاکستان پیپلز پارٹی کی حکومتیں ہوں یا انیس سو نوے اور ستانوے میں مسلم لیگ نواز کی حکومتیں، ایم کیو ایم کو اِن منتخب حکومتوں کو غیر مستحکم کرنے کے لیے استعمال کیا گیا۔ ایم کیو ایم نےان حکومتوں میں شامل ہوتے ہوئے بھی اِن ہی کے خلاف کام کیا اور ملک میں جمہوریت کے خلاف سازش میں اہم کردار ادا کیا۔
    انیس سو ستانوے میں قومی اسمبلی کے انتخابات میں تقریبا یقینی جیت کے باوجود عین وقت پر بائیکاٹ کرکے اس جماعت نے سب کو حیران کر دیا تھا۔ ٹھیک دو دنوں کے بعد صوبائی اسمبلی کے انتخابات میں ایم کیو ایم نے حصہ لیا اور بھرپور کامیابی حاصل کی اور ثابت کیا کہ شہر کی سب سے مقبول جماعت ہونے کے باوجود اس جماعت کے انتخابات میں حصہ لینے یا نہ لینے کا فیصلہ نائن زیرو میں نہیں بلکہ کہیں اور کیا جاتا ہے۔
    ایم کیو ایم نے لوگوں کی اِس امید کو بھی ختم کر دیا کہ متوسط طبقے کی نمائندگی کرنے والی جماعت ملکی سیاست میں مثبت کردار ادا کر سکتی ہے۔ وکلا کی تحریک متوسط طبقے ہی کی تحریک ہے اور دیکھا جائے تو ایم کیو ایم کو اس کا حصہ ہونا چاہیے تھا ۔
    ایم کیو ایم کے اسی کردار کے تناظر میں اگر دیکھیں تو بارہ مئی کو چیف جسٹس کی کراچی آمد اور جبری واپسی کے موقع پر کراچی میں ہونے والا تشدد اور ایک ہی دن میں چونتیس افراد کی ہلاکت کا معاملہ سمجھ میں آنے لگتا ہے۔
    چیف جسٹس افتخار چودھری کی معطلی کے خلاف ملک بھر میں وکلا اور سیاسی جماعتوں کا احتجاج اور چیف جسٹس کے ملک کی مختلف بار کونسلوں سے خطاب کے موقع پر ججوں کی اکثریت کا موجود ہونا، اس سارے معاملے کو نشر کرنے کے دوران میڈیا پر حکومتی دباؤ اور ٹی وی چینلوں پر حملوں کے باوجود میڈیا کی جانب سے اس دباؤ کا سامنا کرنا، یہ سب وہ عوامل ہیں جنھوں نے موجودہ حکومت اور اس کے فوجی سربراہ جنرل مشرف کو سخت پریشانی میں مبتلا کیا ہوا ہے اور ظاہر ہے فوج کو بھی ایک ادارے کی حیثیت سے ہر وہ تحریک پسند نہیں جس سے ملک میں جمہوریت اور قانون کی بالادستی کا کوئی امکان پیدا ہو۔
    اس موقع پر ایم کیو ایم ایک مرتبہ پھر فوج کے کام آئی ہے اور چیف جسٹس کی معطلی کے خلاف چلنے والی پر امن تحریک میں تشدد کا عنصر کراچی کے ذریعے داخل کیا گیا ہے ۔
    اسی دوران صدر مشرف اور پیپلز پارٹی کی سربراہ بے نظیر بھٹو کے درمیان رابطوں اور ڈیل کی خبریں بھی سامنے آئی ہیں۔ وہ صدر مشرف جو ظفراللہ جمالی جیسے بے ضرر وزیراعظم کو بھی برداشت نہیں کر سکے وہ بے نظیر سے بات کرنے پر مجبور ہوئے ہیں۔ فوج کے اندر بھی یہ احساس پایا جاتا ہے کہ صدر مشرف اپنے آٹھ سالہ دورِ حکومت میں جتنے کمزور آج ہیں اتنے پہلے کبھی نہیں تھے۔
    اسی لیے موجودہ فوجی ایسٹیبلشمنٹ مجبوراً یہی چاہتی ہے کہ اب پیپلز پارٹی جیسی عوامی جماعت کو شریکِ اقتدار کر کے صدر مشرف کو مزید موقع دیا جائے۔ ادھر موجودہ حالات میں امریکہ کی طرف سے بھی یہ اشارے ہیں کہ ماشل لا یا ایمرجنسی فی الحال اُسے قبول نہیں۔ خاص طور پر وہ اس بات پر گہری نظر رکھے ہوئے ہے کہ جوہری ہتھیاروں سے لیس پاکستان میں کوئی جہادی جنرل اقتدار پر قابض نہ ہو جائے۔لیکن زمینی حقائق یہ ہیں کہ ہرگزرتے دن کے ساتھ صدر مشرف کی اقتدار پرگرفت کمزور ہورہی ہے اور بظاہر یہ دکھائی دے رہا ہے کہ اگر صدر مشرف نے جلد ہی پیلپز پارٹی کے ساتھ معاملات طے نہیں کیے تو نہ وہ وردی نہ ہی بغیر وردی کے صدر رہیں گے۔ان حالات میں امریکہ کے لیے یہی مناسب ہے کہ صدر مشرف بے نظیر کے ساتھ مل کر حکومت کریں اور امریکی یہ بات صدر مشرف کو بھی سمجھا رہے ہیں۔
    اسی تناظر میں اگر وکلا اور سیاسی جماعتوں کی موجودہ تحریک کے دباؤ میں آ کر فوج پیپلز پارٹی کے ساتھ اقتدار کی شراکت پر مجبور ہو جاتی ہے تو اس شراکت میں اسے بہت سے اختیارات سے محروم ہونا پڑے گا اور اقتدار کا ایک بڑا حصہ سیاسی جماعتوں کو منتقل ہو جائےگا۔
    ایم کیو ایم کے ذریعے کراچی میں تشدد کروا کر یا جامعہ حفصہ کا معاملہ کھڑا کرنے کا مقصد یہ ہے کہ عدلیہ کی آزادی کے نام پر چلنے والی اس تحریک کو جس حد تک ممکن ہو کمزور کر دیا جائے تاکہ اقتدار کی اس شراکت میں فوج اپنے لیے زیادہ سے زیادہ
    حصے کو یقینی بنا سکے

  4. The hidden risks of the photo op Stewart Bell, National Post Published: Saturday, April 14, 2007

    In Pakistan, Syed Safdar Ali Baqri was a senior official in a political party called MQM, but since moving to Toronto in 1998, he has become an active supporter of the Conservatives. During the past two federal elections, Mr. Baqri has been photographed with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, House Speaker Peter Milliken, Conservative campaign cochairman John Reynolds and several other Conservative and Liberal MPs.

    In some of the pictures, the 42-year-old is shown handing the politicians a booklet listing the “issues that matter most” to the MQM’s Canadian chapter, MQM-Canada, which Mr. Baqri heads. MQM-Canada endorsed the Conservative party in 2004 and 2006, and held a Support Conservative Car Rally and a “Picnic and BBQ” for the Conservative candidate in Don Mills. It says its volunteers worked on campaigns in seven cities.
    “We welcome MQM-Canada’s support and hope to receive cooperation from all chapters of MQM-Canada,” says a statement attributed to Conservative MP Leon Benoit and posted on the group’s Internet site in 2004. (Mr. Benoit said he does not recall making the comment.)

    The ties between MQM-Canada and the Conservatives continued post-election. When MQM held its three-day annual convention in Toronto last June, Conservative MP Patrick Brown gave a speech. But what exactly is the MQM?
    The Conservatives are apparently beginning to ask that same question. The Privy Council Office did some background research on the group last year and sent a memo to Mr. Harper’s chief of staff, Ian Brodie.
    The four-page memorandum, released under the Access to Information Act, says the MQM is a Pakistani political party with a history of involvement in ethnic riots, kidnapping, torture and murder.

    A Q&A with Syed Safdar Ali Baqri
    MQM homepage
    A report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the MQM
    1996 Amnesty International report on the human rights crisis in Pakistan
    Federal Court decision: Baqri v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)
    Federal Court decision: Ali v. Canada (Solicitor General)
    “Terrorist elements” in the MQM have engaged in harassment of opponents and used crime to raise money for the party, it says, adding that MQM leader Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in Britain, faces “numerous” criminal charges.

    While the MQM was at one time considered a security threat to Canada, it has not been a serious concern since it renounced violence and curbed the extremists in its ranks.

    But some still wonder why the Conservatives have aligned themselves with a Pakistani political party that human rights groups and even Canadian officials say has a violent past.
    “The MQM has a long and well-deserved reputation for violence, extortion and other criminal acts such as murder,” said Tom Quiggin, a former RCMP terrorism expert now working at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

    When they were the Opposition, the Conservatives often criticized the Liberals for attending events hosted by organizations close to violent groups such as the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka. But since taking office, the Conservatives are apparently finding it is not always easy to avoid such situations. Which of the many community associations that want the ear of the Prime Minister are worth meeting and which are fronts for extremists? Which photo ops are harmless and which could prove politically damaging down the road?

    Conservatives said in interviews they had no idea that even as they were posing for photos with MQM-Canada reps, the Canada Border Services Agency was working to deport dozens of former MQM party workers –and continues to do so — on the grounds the group was involved in crimes against humanity.

    Among those that immigration officials have claimed were complicit in atrocities in Pakistan: Mr. Baqri, the MQM-Canada leader, who was an MQM party boss in Karachi before coming to Canada.

    A former minister of industries in the Sindh region of southern Pakistan, Mr. Baqri served as the head of an MQM zone in Karachi. He fled Pakistan and eventually made his way to the United States, where he was part of a committee that tried to build the MQM in North America.
    In 1994, an anti-terrorist court in Pakistan convicted him in absentia of kidnapping and torturing an army major, but a higher court overturned the ruling.

    When his U.S. asylum claim was rejected, he came to Canada in 1998. The Canadian immigration board’s Convention Refugee Determination Division turned down his refugee claim on the grounds that he was aware of abuses committed by MQM members while he was a party leader.
    That decision was set aside in 2001 by the Federal Court of Canada, which said immigration officers had failed to query Mr. Baqri about any specific incidents. The court sent the case back for another review, but Mr. Baqri still does not have landed immigrant status.

    “He has continued his political activity while in Canada,” Mr. Justice Allan Lufty wrote in his 2001 decision on Mr. Baqri’s case. “He has organized protests in Ottawa and in Toronto against the government in Pakistan. There are some 9,000 MQM supporters in Canada.”
    In interviews, Mr. Baqri said it was not unusual that he had met so many of Canada’s most powerful politicians despite his unresolved immigration status.

    “I’m legally residing in Canada under the prevailing Canadian immigration laws. Also, regarding those politicians, Canada is still a free country and one of the freedom leaders in the world. Therefore, any democratic-minded person can meet with the politicians with [a] common agenda.”
    A physician by training, Mr. Baqri said he has been unable to work as a doctor in Canada because of his ongoing immigration case. He estimated 100 other former MQM party workers are in a similar limbo.

    But he said neither he nor the MQM had ever been involved in violence, and the memo sent to the Prime Minister’s Office is inaccurate.
    Mr. Baqri said that while individual members of the MQM may have committed crimes on their own, the party did not sanction their activities and those involved were expelled.

    Made up partly of MQM party workers who have moved to Canada, MQM Canada describes itself on its Web site as an “active unit” of the MQM. Mr. Baqri said the Canadian group reports to the exiled British leader rather than to MQM headquarters in Pakistan.

    MQM-Canada has never been linked to violence. It has chapters in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, Calgary and Montreal and describes itself as “perhaps one of the most dynamic Pakistani organization[s] in Canada.” A Vancouver chapter is to open soon.

    In 2003, MQM-Canada formed a Political Action Committee, and when the writ dropped the following year, the group backed the Conservatives.
    “Our workers and supporters in Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver were very active with their candidates in their respective cities,” Mr. Baqri said.

    He said their main objectives are to become part of mainstream Canadian politics and to bridge the gap between immigrants and non-immigrants. “In this process we also like to clarify misunderstandings towards the MQM in Canada,” he said.

    Political action is just one of the MQM’s activities in Canada. In an attempt to stop immigration officials from deporting party members, an MQM activist filed a $50-million lawsuit against the Canadian government in 2005. The suit alleged that MQM members were being routinely refused permanent residency in Canada because immigration authorities have concluded the group has been involved in terrorism. A judge dismissed the case last May.

    Supporters of the group also took their complaints to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, the watchdog over the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. A decision is expected any day, although the government is not obliged to follow its recommendations.
    The MQM was formed more than two decades ago to represent the interest of Muhajirs, Urdu-speaking Muslims whose families migrated to Pakistan from India at partition in 1947.

    Many Muhajirs settled in the southern cities of Karachi and Hyderabad, where they dominated business and the civil service– until the Pakistani government purged them from key government posts and nationalized their businesses. A quota system was imposed to limit their access to universities and government.

    A student leader at the University of Karachi, Altaf Hussain, formed the MQM in 1984 to defend the rights of Muhajirs, and confrontations followed. Tensions between Muhajirs and ethnic Sindhis, Pashtuns and Punjabis led to violence. “MQM was the main player in the ethnic riots of 1986-87,” the Canadian government memo says.

    Mr. Baqri disputes that, saying: “We were the victims of the riots.”
    He said the riots were instigated by Pakistan’s ISI military intelligence service.
    Human rights groups acknowledge that the MQM was the target of a brutal crackdown by Pakistani government forces, but they say MQM activists engaged in violence as well.

    “Despite protestations by MQM leader Altaf Hussain that the MQM does not subscribe to violence, there is overwhelming evidence and a consensus among observers in Karachi that some MQM party members have used violent means to further their political aims,” Amnesty International wrote in a 1996 report.
    The rights group said there was evidence that opponents of the MQM were tortured and killed while in MQM custody. Pakistani forces in Karachi allegedly found torture rooms used by the MQM.

    “During its early history,” the Canadian government memo says, “MQM drew its power from terrorist elements in the party, who helped it maintain a stronghold over the densely populated poor areas of Karachi and Hyderabad.
    “In addition to the harassment of political and ethnic opponents, these insurgent elements were also responsible for generating funds for the party through criminal activities. The resulting lawlessness effectively crippled Karachi until the Pakistan army launched an operation to restore law and order in 1992.”

    With Karachi in chaos, the military was sent in to intervene and a repressive campaign against the MQM ensued. “Before the Pakistan army launched its 1992 operation,” the memo says, “Altaf Hussain had already fled to the UK in order to avoid prosecution; he remains there in self-imposed exile.”

    The MQM split into two factions, called MQM (H) and Mr. Hussain’s group MQM (A). The MQM (H) was allegedly supported by the Pakistani government to weaken the MQM(A). “Since 1992, the MQM factions have directed their violence against each other, as well as against the Pakistani government,” the memo says.

    There were almost daily killings between the factions in 1994, and the following year there were up to 10 political killings a day in Karachi, according to a research paper published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Mr. Baqri said the human rights groups are wrong. They were relying on locals for their information who were either biased or influenced by the government, he said. “It was an organized campaign to malign MQM in the eyes of the West.”
    In Pakistan’s 2002 elections, MQM emerged as the leading party amongst Urdu-speaking Pakistanis. It now has 18 members in the Pakistan National Assembly and is an ally of President Pervez Musharraf against the Islamist militant groups in the political opposition.

    The Canadian memo adds that nine MQM members were sentenced to death for the murder of the Governor of Pakistan’s Sindh province. While it says Mr. Hussain was acquitted of charges stemming from the kidnapping of an army major, “There are still numerous other criminal cases pending against him.”
    The memo concerning MQM-Canada was written by Kevin Lynch, the Clerk of the Privy Council. Why it was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office is not explained in those parts of the document made public.

    “We have no comment on specific pieces of correspondence,” said Myriam Massabki, the Privy Council Office spokeswoman.
    Mr. Benoit said he knew nothing about the group, although he did remember attending an MQM-Canada campaign event with several Torontoarea Conservative candidates.

    He said a news conference was held following the meeting, but he does not believe he made the statement that is attributed to him on the MQM-Canada Web site. “I do know what they had attributed to me, I absolutely didn’t know that that was being attributed to me. I mean, they’ve done that on their own.”

    Wajid Khan, the Pakistan-born MP who ran for the Liberals but crossed the floor to the Conservatives, had no recollection of meeting the MQM, although his photo is shown on the Web site with Mr. Baqri.
    “I can tell you that Mr. Khan has no affiliation, nor has he ever, with the group you mentioned,” said his executive assistant Stefano Pileggi.
    “He barely remembers meeting someone from MQM ? He doesn’t even remember the man’s name, and no he had no knowledge of any criminal allegations.”
    Melisa Leclerc, Mr. Day’s spokeswoman, said the Minister had no idea Mr. Baqri had been accused of atrocities. People often see Mr. Day and ask to have their photo taken with him, she said. “I don’t think the Minister knew. He’s a strong defender of human rights.”

  5. The bloody Saturday By M. Ziauddin DATELINE LONDON May 18, 2007 Friday Jamadi-ul-Awwal 01, 1428

    SOME sections from among the Pakistani legal community in London are pouring over the cases of Abu Hamza, Augusto Pinochet and Omar Bakri Mohammad. The first one, controversial cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri has been jailed for seven years after being found guilty of inciting murder and race hate.

    The second one, Bakri, chief of the banned Al-Muhajroon and allegedly the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, was not allowed to return to the UK by the Home Office from Lebanon where he had gone voluntarily in 2005 after ‘sheltering’ in the UK for 20 years.

    The third one, the late Augusto Pinochet, the former military dictator of Spain had to fight off a long-drawn extradition battle in British courts after the Spanish courts had found him guilty of being involved in grave human rights violations when he was ruling the country.

    I would like to leave it to the imagination of my readers to puzzle over why these British lawyers of Pakistani origin joined also by a section of Pakistani students here are studying these cases trying hard perhaps to find parallels to take up.

    “As his fiefdom descended into brutal violence, with the deaths of at least 40 people reported amid the worst political bloodshed Pakistan has witnessed in years, Altaf Hussain directed his followers by telephone from a safe place more than 5,000 miles away.,” so said the Sunday Telegraph in its May 14 edition. The story was headlined ‘Running Karachi from London (partly covered by Dawn on May 15).

    Most Pakistanis here are highly distressed over the bloody happenings back home in recent weeks. They seem at a loss to understand why President General Musharraf looked the other way when fascist elements were unleashed against protesting lawyers and agitating political workers. Doesn’t it go against the very spirit of his own declared doctrine—Enlightened Moderation? They ask. And in recent months he has been preaching the Muslim Ummah to resolve the conflicts within through dialogue. Then why is he rejecting this same route to a grand political reconciliation in his own country? They question.I have no answers. But I can recall for the benefit of those quizzing me some past events and recorded statements so as to help them find the answers to their questions on their own. I recall vividly the victory dance the president performed as he concluded his first and last address to the joint session of the current parliament in 2002. He then raised his two clenched fists and waved them at the opposition which had kept thumping the desk and shouting ‘Go Musharraf Go’ throughout his speech. Next, he turned towards the ruling coalition and saluted them smartly before making an exit clearly with spring in his feet.

    And who can forget the chilling statement of his in one of his TV interviews before his troops killed Sardar Akber Khan Bugti? He had said something to the effect that today was not 1970s and that they (the Baloch Sardars) would not know what hit them. He carried out this threat in letter and spirit. One can only assume that Akber Bugti did not know what hit him before he died.

    “Our neighbourhood, Nazimabad, was a tough place to live, and it has become tougher since. I would not call it the Harlem of Karachi, but perhaps it was the South Bronx (This scribe has lived in Nazimabad in 1950s and 60s. It never was a tough place in those days and certainly was not South Bronx. It became tough for its inhabitants only in late 1980s well after Musharraf had joined the army). A boy had to be street-smart to survive. There were inevitable street gangs, and needless to say, I joined one. Needless to say too, I was one of the tough boys…There was a bully in our area who would walk up to the boy who had caught a kite and demand that he hand it over, or else. Most boys would oblige. One day my older brother got hold of some string from a cut kite. The bully, accompanied by two other boys, rudely asked him to hand it over. I held my brother’s hand and said, ‘Why should we give you the string?’ Then, without thinking, (the emphasis is mine) I punched the bully hard. A fight ensued, and I really thrashed him. After that people recognised me as a sort of boxer, and I became known as a dada geer—an untranslatable term that means, roughly a tough guy whom you don’t mess with. The lesson I learned was that if you call a bully’s bluff, he crumbles. The secret is to stand your ground for a few seconds, and your initial fright vanishes. This lesson later stood me in good stead as a
    commando.” This is from Musharraf’s book In the Line of Fire (Pages 26-27).

    So, Musharraf is standing his ground believing that the Chief Justice, the lawyers’ community and the opposition political parties backing the struggle for independence of judiciary would crumble in due course of time. But then by the time that time comes, would not the nation suffer beyond repair? So what? A commando does not waste time on thinking before taking the plunge as Musharraf did when he punched the fictional bully without thinking and learned a great lesson which later stood him in good stead as a commando. But then can you use as effectively the same lessons which stood you in good stead as a commando when handling political issues from the offices of the Presidency and the COAS?

    “I first encountered General Musharraf when he acted as a Turkish interpreter during visits by the Turkish military. I declined to make him my military secretary. We initially refused his promotion because of his suspected though unproven links with the ethnic, often violent, party known as the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM).” This is Benazir Bhutto in the revised edition of her book Daughter of the East, an autobiography (page 429). But then you don’t have to believe everything BB says. In any case she herself says that the suspicion was unproven. It was actually Major General (retd.) Naseerullah Khan Baber who reportedly advised the former prime minister on the matter of Musharraf’s promotion. Later, though on the advice of the then Chief of the Army Staff, Benazir is said to have overruled Baber, the then interior minister.

  6. Muttahida’s swinging pendulum May 27, 2007 Sunday Jamadi-ul-Awwal 10, 1428
    By Maheen A. Rashdi METRO VOICE

    KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement seems to have messed up in a big way this time. If the issue wasn’t so grim, the incoherent statements made by its “leaders” would have made a comic story. Post May 12, there has been a constant trickle of discordant statements issued from Karachi and London, each setting off a fresh controversy. A better example of the expression –- “shooting yourself in the foot” -– will be difficult to find.

    The reaction to the May 12 bloodbath in Karachi has perhaps taken the establishment by surprise, if not by shock. This time Karachiites have shown more than just resilience and that was an eventuality not taken into consideration when the May 12 ‘event’ was being planned. As public outcry reverberated from Karachi to Khyber — and subsequently found its way to the United Kingdom – inconsiderate political leaders started to expose themselves to odium and ridicule as they spun a paradoxical web of betrayal under the relentless glare of the media.

    To recap, just days after the Karachi killings, Sindh Home Secretary Brigadier (Retd) Ghulam Mohammed Mohtaram and the Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Home Affairs Waseem Akhtar categorically declared that they had given right orders for May 12 to all the law enforcement agencies in Karachi.

    As government functionaries responsible for law and order, both the ‘honourable’ gents declared on record that if the ‘measures’ they had taken had not been in place that day, “thousands would have died”. By the word “measures” it was further explained that it was these representatives of the MQM in the government who had decided to block the city and disarm the police and Rangers.

    But, soon after these statements were splashed far and wide came the startling question from MQM chief Mr Altaf Hussain in his open letter addressed to “Patriotic Pakistanis” from London: “Where were the police and Rangers on May 12 during the bloodbath?”

    With public outcry gaining momentum rather than dying down, the same contradiction continued at successive press conferences, where blame and accusation shifted back and forth from law enforcement agencies to “other” elements involved in the mayhem.

    It is obvious that the ruling coalition was not prepared for the current reaction of Karachiites and the support from Punjab and the NWFP when it was planning the May 12 display of power play.

    The latest disagreement within the party has exposed an even more serious lack of coordination as the MQM coordination committee has disowned the statement issued by its allied organisation, the Mohajir Rabita Council, which issued a press release on May 22 that included a list of journalists described as “chauvinistic”, among other insults.

    With Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad doing his utmost to calm down opposition members — as is obvious from his meetings with ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Naib Amir of the Jamaat-i-Islami Ghafoor Ahmed and Sindh Pakistan People’s Party president Syed Qaim Ali Shah — the Council’s statement again belies all good intentions (if any) of the MQM leaders in government who are trying to salvage their position at this crucial pre-election juncture. And then, there is the ‘three option’ statement given by the Muttahida coordination committee after a ‘marathon session’ of meetings held in London.

    The options are: the MQM members in the federal ministries might resign; the MQM members in both the federal and provincial ministries might resign; and the MQM members in the assemblies might join the opposition.

    Political analysts can’t wait to see which way the party’s pendulum will eventually swing. But then there is the ever-present hand of the party’s guardian angel in the form of the president who has continually been asking the coalition partners to support the MQM. You can’t clap with one hand, after all.

  7. Muttahida’s swinging pendulum By Maheen A. Rashdi METRO VOICE May 27, 2007 Sunday Jamadi-ul-Awwal 10, 1428

    KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement seems to have messed up in a big way this time. If the issue wasn’t so grim, the incoherent statements made by its “leaders” would have made a comic story. Post May 12, there has been a constant trickle of discordant statements issued from Karachi and London, each setting off a fresh controversy. A better example of the expression –- “shooting yourself in the foot” -– will be difficult to find.

    The reaction to the May 12 bloodbath in Karachi has perhaps taken the establishment by surprise, if not by shock. This time Karachiites have shown more than just resilience and that was an eventuality not taken into consideration when the May 12 ‘event’ was being planned. As public outcry reverberated from Karachi to Khyber — and subsequently found its way to the United Kingdom – inconsiderate political leaders started to expose themselves to odium and ridicule as they spun a paradoxical web of betrayal under the relentless glare of the media.

    To recap, just days after the Karachi killings, Sindh Home Secretary Brigadier (Retd) Ghulam Mohammed Mohtaram and the Adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister on Home Affairs Waseem Akhtar categorically declared that they had given right orders for May 12 to all the law enforcement agencies in Karachi.

    As government functionaries responsible for law and order, both the ‘honourable’ gents declared on record that if the ‘measures’ they had taken had not been in place that day, “thousands would have died”. By the word “measures” it was further explained that it was these representatives of the MQM in the government who had decided to block the city and disarm the police and Rangers.

    But, soon after these statements were splashed far and wide came the startling question from MQM chief Mr Altaf Hussain in his open letter addressed to “Patriotic Pakistanis” from London: “Where were the police and Rangers on May 12 during the bloodbath?”

    With public outcry gaining momentum rather than dying down, the same contradiction continued at successive press conferences, where blame and accusation shifted back and forth from law enforcement agencies to “other” elements involved in the mayhem.

    It is obvious that the ruling coalition was not prepared for the current reaction of Karachiites and the support from Punjab and the NWFP when it was planning the May 12 display of power play.

    The latest disagreement within the party has exposed an even more serious lack of coordination as the MQM coordination committee has disowned the statement issued by its allied organisation, the Mohajir Rabita Council, which issued a press release on May 22 that included a list of journalists described as “chauvinistic”, among other insults.

    With Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad doing his utmost to calm down opposition members — as is obvious from his meetings with ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Naib Amir of the Jamaat-i-Islami Ghafoor Ahmed and Sindh Pakistan People’s Party president Syed Qaim Ali Shah — the Council’s statement again belies all good intentions (if any) of the MQM leaders in government who are trying to salvage their position at this crucial pre-election juncture. And then, there is the ‘three option’ statement given by the Muttahida coordination committee after a ‘marathon session’ of meetings held in London.

    The options are: the MQM members in the federal ministries might resign; the MQM members in both the federal and provincial ministries might resign; and the MQM members in the assemblies might join the opposition.

    Political analysts can’t wait to see which way the party’s pendulum will eventually swing. But then there is the ever-present hand of the party’s guardian angel in the form of the president who has continually been asking the coalition partners to support the MQM. You can’t clap with one hand, after all.

  8. Blair might be dragged into controversy over Altaf’s role Friday, May 18, 2007 Rauf Klasra

    LONDON: Prime Minister Tony Blair might be dragged into the controversy over the role of British passport holder Altaf Hussain in the recent unrest in Karachi as the UK media has turned its guns on the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and has given a prominent coverage to accusation of PTI chief Imran Khan and other opposition leaders for giving “sanctuary” to a politician whose party was linked to killings in Pakistan.

    The threats of Pakistani opposition leaders to file cases in the courts of Britain against the British government for giving asylum to Altaf has also generated a lot of interest in the media. Imran’s criticism of Tony Blair has been given prominent coverage in the British media on Thursday and there is strong possibility that it might echo in the House of Commons where Blair or Labour party leaders might be asked to explain the position of Britain with regard to the role of one of its citizens in the Karachi carnage.

    Observers here believe that British media might create troubles for Altaf Hussain in the days to come as the statements of Pakistani politicians against the MQM and its involvement in the recent violence were being given big coverage. Altaf had obtained British passport in the 90s. Since Saturday’s killings in Karachi, the British media has already started asking serious questions from its government about the role of Altaf in the killings in Karachi. Daily Telegraph was the first British paper that had filed stories against Altaf and his role in the violence in Karachi. The next day, its reporter met Altaf at his residence and the newspaper ran a four-column story on its front page with the headline “Running Karachi from London”. Altaf who usually does not meet Pakistani journalists, spent a lot of time with the British journalist knowing how much power the media enjoyed in this country. Altaf defended the position of his party and rejected allegations that he or his party was responsible for violence in Karachi.

    Despite denials by the MQM, almost all the British newspapers in their reports, comments and editorials put the blame of violence on the shoulders of MQM workers and had asked that to what extent the man running MQM from London could be responsible. Imran in his statement accused Blair of giving sanctuary to a politician whose party he claimed was linked to killings in Pakistan at the weekend. Daily Telegraph says that armed gunmen linked to MQM are accused of sparking a series of clashes between rival groups when they opened fire on an anti-government protest.

    However, Mohammed Anwar, head of international relations for the MQM, denied that Altaf had been responsible for any violence in Karachi, saying: “He is living here [Britain] since 1992 so how could he stir up violence when he is not even living in Karachi?” Anwar pointed out that women and children joined the rallies, which the MQM organised in the city. “If we wanted to commit carnage, would we bring our mothers and sisters and daughters on to the streets with us? It simply isn’t plausible.” He said Imran’s criticism of Altaf was motivated by the MQM’s success in “making inroads into other parts of Pakistan”.


    Our Generals i.e. Retired and Serving both that they after butchering innocent MQM Political Workers in Army Operation against MQM 1992 to 1999 has the audacity to say that Operation was not against MQM???

    MQM was established to counter Sindhi nationalists: Beg Daily Times Monitor Saturday, September 05, 2009\story_5-9-2009_pg7_4

    LAHORE: Former army chief Mirza Aslam Beg said on Friday the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was established as a political measure to counter the Sindhi nationalist movement following the hanging of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

    Ex COAS General Aslam Beg sabotaged the alliance between PPP-MQM in 1988 and ignited Sindhi Muhajir Clash to attain certain Strategic Depths, before the election in 1988 and then again before 1990 election Aslam Beg send the money to MQM and Altaf Hussain and MQM returned the Money. Brig Imtiaz had contacted MQM on behalf of Hamid Gul and Beg to pressurize MQM to join IJI and MQM refused, now after 1988 Elections when MQM-PPP formed the coalition government, the same hidden hands started the present day tactics [exploiting the minor policy differences between PPP-MQM].

    Many of our friend are younger here and maybe they don’t know and it is a duty of those person who know that they should tell about the Dark Past. Pucca Qila Operation in Hyderabad against MQM was launched by the Police during the first PPP Govt. and the then Corps Commander Asif Nawaz had intervened and stopped that operation and gues what he himelf launched Operation Cleanup against MQM which was started against Dacoits in Interior of Sindh. On February 11, 1990, the army oversaw the messy business of exchange of 27 political workers captured by both the MQM and the PPP sides in tit-for-tat abductions. The exchange followed talks at the military headquarters at the instructions of Karachi Corps Commander Lt. General Asif Nawaz Janjua. There was General Asif Nawaz’s famous interview to the BBC, during which he dubbed the MQM as a terrorist organization. Whether this was true or not, it was no business of an army chief to pass this judgment. Subsequently, the army played a far from passive role in helping the dissidents of the MQM Haqiqi to take over the offices of the mainstream MQM.

    Human Rights Crisis in Karachi 1996 REPORT OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL/UNHCR:,,AMNESTY,,PAK,,3ae6a9b40,0.html

    While law enforcement personnel appear to be responsible for some of these human rights violations, there is strong evidence that armed opposition groups have also perpetrated torture, hostage-taking and killings in Karachi. Amnesty International continues to appeal to armed opposition groups to refrain from abusing the fundamental rights of people in Karachi to life and the security of the person, to end hostage-taking, torture and arbitrary killings. The organization again calls on these groups to observe minimum standards of humanitarian law which forbid such abuses.

    The high rate of political killings over the last months is strong evidence of the failure of the government’s strategy to protect political activists, journalists and ordinary residents of Karachi from human rights abuses. Indeed, in some cases, those in authority appear to have condoned abuses by some armed opposition groups. Amnesty International believes that the government must act consistently and lawfully to end human rights abuses by armed opposition groups and send a clear signal that all those responsible for such abuses will be brought to justice.

    The human rights abuses perpetrated by armed opposition groups may never be used by law enforcement personnel as an excuse to ignore national and international human rights safeguards and to commit human rights violations themselves, to torture, kill or to “disappear” people described by the government as “terrorists”. Amnesty International calls on the Government of Pakistan to set up independent and impartial inquiries into every single report of unlawful detention, torture, death in custody, extrajudicial execution and “disappearance” and to ensure that every member of the law enforcement agencies found to be responsible for such human rights violations is brought to justice. Only if the self-perpetuating cycle of violence, in which human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated without punishment and in which impunity facilitates further violations, is broken, can people in Karachi again live in safety and dignity and enjoy their fundamental rights.

    The present paper first describes the political context in which human rights abuses are committed in Karachi; it then documents reported cases of arbitrary arrest, torture, deaths in custody, extrajudicial executions, “disappearances” allegedly committed by law enforcement personnel and the human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by armed opposition groups. It also focuses on the lack of protection given to people reporting human rights abuses in Karachi and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights abuses. The concluding section sets out Amnesty International’s concerns and its recommendations to the government and to armed opposition groups. The appendix contains an analysis of the government’s responses to a statement issued by Amnesty International on the human rights situation in Karachi in August 1995.

    1. Introduction

    Amnesty International continues to urge the Government of Pakistan to adopt measures to stop the large scale human rights violations which are regularly reported from Karachi, the capital of Sindh, the southernmost province of Pakistan. The organization has received reports of hundreds of cases of unlawful detention, torture, deaths in custody, extrajudicial executions and “disappearances”, mainly in Karachi, but also to some extent in other cities of Sindh such as Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur. According to official figures, some 1,770 people were killed in 1995 in Karachi alone, Pakistani media speak of over 1,990 killings (around 700 in 1994). The victims include apolitical residents of Karachi, including women and children, law enforcement personnel and members of political parties.

    Deaths in custody and extrajudicial killings are reported from other parts of the country as well; there have been reports of several so-called “encounter” killings (extrajudicial executions after which police declare that the victims have been shot dead in armed clashes) in Punjab in the last few months and the media in Pakistan have extensively covered the recent death of a young Christian in police custody in Hyderabad. However, nowhere have deliberate and arbitrary killings reached as massive a scale as in Karachi.

    While law enforcement personnel appear to be responsible for some of these human rights violations, there is strong evidence that armed opposition groups have also perpetrated torture, hostage-taking and killings in Karachi. The organization continues to appeal to armed opposition groups to refrain from abusing the fundamental right of people in Karachi to life and the security of the person, to end hostage-taking, torture and deliberate and arbitrary killings. The organization again calls on these groups to observe minimum standards of humanitarian law which forbid such abuses.

    Amnesty International believes that the human rights abuses perpetrated by armed opposition groups may never be used as an excuse by government law enforcement personnel to ignore national and international human rights safeguards and to commit human rights violations themselves, to torture, kill or to “disappear” people described by the government as “terrorists”.

    The high rate of political killings over the last months is strong evidence of the failure of the government’s strategy to protect political activists, journalists and ordinary residents of Karachi from such abuses. Indeed, in some cases those in authority appear to have condoned abuses by some armed political groups.

    Amnesty International has carefully monitored the Pakistani press, verified reports as far as possible with lawyers and human rights activists on the ground and spoken to a large number of victims and victims’ families during a visit to Pakistan in December 1995. Many concerned residents in Karachi have directly approached Amnesty International to communicate their experiences, observations and fears. On the basis of the material so collected, Amnesty International once again urges the Government of Pakistan to set up impartial and independent inquiries into every single report of unlawful detention, torture, death in custody, extrajudicial execution and “disappearance” and to ensure that everyone alleged to have been responsible for human rights violations is brought to justice. Only if the self-perpetuating cycle of violence, in which human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated without punishment and in which impunity facilitates further violations, is broken, can people in Karachi again live in safety and dignity and enjoy their fundamental rights.

    The present paper first describes the political context in which human rights abuses are committed in Karachi; it then documents reported cases of arbitrary arrest, torture, extrajudicial executions, “disappearances” and incommunicado detention of political activists allegedly committed by law enforcement personnel and the human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by armed opposition groups. It also focuses on the lack of protection given to people reporting human rights violations in Karachi and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights abuses. The concluding section sets out Amnesty International’s concerns and recommendations to the government and to armed opposition groups. The appendix contains an analysis of the government’s responses to a statement issued by Amnesty International in August 1995.

    Members of Amnesty International in Pakistan do not participate in research on their own country in accordance with rules applicable to Amnesty International’s membership worldwide. They have neither supplied information on human rights abuses in Karachi nor have they assisted in verifying it.

    2. The political context of human rights abuses in Karachi

    The ongoing conflict in Karachi has involved mainly two factions of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM, literally National Movement of Refugees), the federal and the provincial governments of different complexions, and to a much lesser extent some other ethnic and religious groupings. Mohajirs (literally: refugees) who are Urdu-speaking Muslims who migrated to Pakistan, mainly Karachi and Hyderabad, during and after the partition of British-India in 1947, and their descendants, quickly advanced in the bureaucracy, business and the professions but felt disadvantaged in relation to ethnic Sindhis by a quota system that secured access to universities and civil services. The earliest political organization of Mohajirs, the All Pakistan Mohajir Student Organization (APMSO) founded in 1978 by Altaf Hussain, evolved into the MQM in 1984. Ethnic and religious divisions in Sindh were exacerbated during the years General Zia-ul Haq was in office (1977 to 1988, of these 1977 to 1985 under martial law) as he used them to suppress and divide democratic opposition to his rule. Ethnic strife between Mohajir and Sindhis who had initially jointly opposed the influx of Punjabis and Pathans into Sindh, rapidly increased in Karachi and Hyderabad from the mid-1980s. The MQM, led by Altaf Hussain, meanwhile consolidated its hold on the Mohajir community.

    In November 1987, the MQM won local body elections in Karachi, Hyderabad and other urban centres in Sindh. Following the death of General Zia in August 1988, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won the general elections in November 1988; short of an absolute majority, the PPP entered a cooperation agreement with the MQM which enabled it to form the government. In Sindh, the PPP held a majority only in rural areas while the MQM enjoyed a majority in the urban areas. The PPP-MQM alliance in Sindh broke up in October 1989, after which the MQM lent its support to the PPP’s opponents, the Pakistan Muslim League. In early 1990, political violence in urban Sindh increased rapidly; the MQM organized a series of rallies and strikes while the PPP federal government responded with mass arrests and a sweeping “Operation Clean-up” to seize unauthorized arms. In May 1990, the law enforcement agencies raided the Pucca Qila area of Hyderabad, inhabited mainly by Mohajirs, after cutting off essential supplies for three days. In the ensuing clashes some 100 people, mostly Mohajirs, died, including women and children who had protested against the stoppage of water supplies. Ethnic violence flared up after this incident throughout Sindh; calm only returned gradually after the army was called in and curfew was imposed.

    In general elections in October 1990, following the dismissal of the PPP government in August, the MQM again emerged as the third strongest party in the country. It entered an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif both at the federal level and in Sindh.

    In the early 1990s, a small faction of the MQM, the MQM Haqiqi (literally: the “real” MQM, short MQM(H), led by Afaq Ahmed, left the main body of the MQM, the MQM (A for Altaf). According to many commentators in Pakistan, this faction was supported by successive federal governments and the military to weaken the main MQM.

    Responding to chronic unrest in the province, the Sindh Government in mid-1992 called in the army to assist police in restoring law and order. While the operation was in the first few weeks concentrated on the rural areas of Sindh, its focus shifted from 19 June 1992 to Karachi and Hyderabad where the army claimed it sought to eliminate “terrorists” of any political group. The MQM(A) viewed the operation as an attempt to wipe out the party altogether. Raids on MQM(A) strongholds were believed to have been conducted with the help of the MQM(H) and frequently MQM(H) members were reported to have abducted, tortured and killed people in the presence, with the connivance and perhaps with the participation of members of the law enforcement agencies. Torture cells allegedly maintained by the MQM(A) were discovered in which party members were alleged to have tortured and sometimes killed dissidents and members of other parties. At this stage, 12 of 15 MQM(A) members in the National Assembly and 24 of 27 MQM (A) members of the Sindh Provincial Assembly resigned in protest against the army operation.

    The MQM(A) boycotted general elections in October 1993 claiming systematic intimidation by the army. It participated in provincial elections in Sindh a few days later and secured 27 seats while the PPP with 56 seats won an outright majority. The MQM(H) did not gain any parliamentary seats either at the federal or the provincial level.

    In late November 1994, the army was withdrawn from law enforcement duties in Sindh; however the paramilitary Rangers were reinforced and specially trained police were inducted.

    The killings, abductions and “disappearances” reported in the last months from Karachi have occurred in the context of an ongoing struggle between the two factions of the MQM and a government campaign to restore law and order, implemented by police and the paramilitary Rangers. While in 1994, fighting between Shia and Sunni political groups also led to deliberate and arbitrary killings, these have considerably reduced in recent months. Ordinary criminals also appear to use the prevailing atmosphere of fear and intimidation to pursue their own criminal ends and to commit abductions and killings in the shadow of political violence.

    The government holds the MQM(A) responsible for most of the human rights abuses perpetrated in Karachi, while conversely the MQM(A) has declared that the government is attempting to crush the MQM(A) as an organized political force by unlawfully detaining its workers, torturing and extrajudicially killing them, forcing them to change their political allegiance and perpetrating crimes for which the MQM(A) is then held responsible. Despite mutual accusations, the government and the MQM(A) in July 1995 began talks to reach a political solution to end the crisis in Karachi. The MQM(A) has presented a charter of 18 demands, including the unconditional withdrawal of criminal charges against its workers, and the holding of a census and local body elections in Sindh. The government’s 21 conditions include demands that the MQM(A) publicly renounce violence, surrender illicit arms and wanted activists.

    While these proposals and counter-proposals are being negotiated, the daily violence in the streets of Karachi continues unabated. Many people fear to leave their homes and to send their children to school; armoured personnel carriers patrol the streets in embattled parts of Karachi and paramilitary Rangers man sandbag bunkers at important road junctions. Cultural and recreational activities in Karachi have come to a standstill. Doctors and psychologists have told Amnesty International that the incidence of psychosomatic diseases and suicides as a result of tension and fear are on the rise in Karachi.

    The monthly political journal Newsline has begun to publish a “Death File”, listing daily killings in Karachi: Randomly chosen entries, the first for 4 August , the second for 6 August read:

    “A former student activist was killed on main University Road. Police found mutilated bodies in the boot of a car in Gulbahar with a note attached … saying ‘Revenge for Farooq Dada’s murder”. The corpse of a policeman’s son, who had been kidnapped earlier, was found in a gunny bag in Nishtar Road. The corpse of a Haqiqi activist was found in New Karachi and a bullet-riddled corpse was found in Azizabad. Two corpses were also found near Usmaabad Memorial Hospital. Another bullet-riddled body was found in Orangi Town. Daily toll: 8; monthly toll since 24 July: 107″.

    “Two MQM workers were killed in Federal B area. The corpse of an Haqiqi activist was found in the Old Exhibition Area. Three bullet-riddled bodies were found in Orangi Extension. Two bullet-riddled bodies were found in Mominabad. A five-year-old boy was shot dead by a stray bullet in Rasheedabad. The body of a young electrician was found in Karimabad and another corpse was found inKorangi. A 35-year-old man who had earlier been kidnapped, was killed in Khawaja Ajmer Nagri. Daily toll: 12, monthly toll since 24 July: 128″.

    The present deterioration of the human rights situation is attributed by observers to several factors. The government has expressed its determination to restore law and order in Karachi and in this context has called upon police to use “ruthlessness” and to shoot “terrorists” on sight (see below government statements on the human rights situation). The police appear to have been tempted to use harsher, and sometimes unlawful methods in dealing with armed opposition groups who have targeted law enforcement personnel, killing some 195 in 1995. A government official told Amnesty International in December 1995 that police who are often recruited from the rural areas, “have been given a gun but don’t understand human rights or the urban situation. If one of their colleagues is killed then it becomes a matter of honour to kill the attacker”. Amnesty International was also told that the slowness of the judicial process (in mid-1995 some 23,000 cases were reportedly pending in the Sindh High Court) and the ease with which criminal suspects can obtain bail to return to the criminal underground or buy witnesses, as well as the lack of witness protection measures, has led police officers to take the law into their own hands.

    Armed opposition groups may be resorting to more violent means as many of their leaders are dead, in hiding or in detention. Many commentators, not necessarily sympathetic to the MQM, have pointed out that the human rights violations and the harassment to which Mohajirs and MQM members are subjected, alienate them further and may drive young Mohajirs to extremism. An article in the daily Dawn of 7 July 1995 describes how Esa, a student wearing a black shirt to peacefully protest against the operation in Karachi, was picked up, beaten and abused by Rangers at his university in Karachi; he said, “while being beaten I told them that one day I will take my revenge”.

    The government’s heavy-handed searches of troubled neighbourhoods in which many innocent citizens are humiliated, arrested and made to pay bribes to be released, has antagonized Mohajirs. Amnesty International has been told by many Mohajirs in Karachi that having seen their relatives blind-folded, beaten and often taken away to unknown places of detention has left them bitter; some women have reported that they are encouraging their sons to avenge arbitrary killings of family members by law enforcement personnel. “Ruthless and indiscriminate use of force and extra-judicial killings have swelled the ranks of Karachi’s frustrated and angry youth who will continue to supply recruits to the militants” (Newsline, August 1995). Altaf Hussain has warned that the MQM may not be able to control its members: “I warn that if the government is not stopped from pushing the Mohajir nation to the wall, then a time may come when people will lose their patience and take the law in their hands, and a civil war may arise” (Financial Times, 16 October 1995). Some observers have told Amnesty International that the MQM leadership may already have lost control over some of the militant youth groups of the party. But links of communication would seem to exist; some former prisoners have told Amnesty International that during their detention they were told by fellow prisoners belonging to the MQM that they continued to receive instructions directly from London, where Altaf Hussain lives.

    The present levels of human rights abuses would not have been possible without a glut of arms in the city. Pakistan’s position as a frontline state in the Cold War confrontation in Afghanistan meant that it became a conduit for millions of dollars worth of sophisticated weapons; once the Soviet forces withdrew, many of these weapons found their way into the open markets in Pakistan at a fraction of their original cost, enabling every group to acquire as much armament as it thought necessary. A study published by the Centre for Defence Studies, University of London, observes that “violence across Karachi reached unprecedented levels prior to the intervention of the army in 1992. Modern weapons, such as assault rifles, were carried openly by party activists from all quarters, especially during political demonstrations, and large stockpiles were accumulated by the warring factions in open defiance of the authority of the state. … Several pundits from Karachi agree that the dramatic increase in violence and polarisation dates from 1985/86, the time when weapons from the Afghan pipeline began to find their way into commercial channels. … Modern and relatively sophisticated arms, especially the Kalashnikov, began to appear throughout the region in the mid-1980s … Ammunition is also freely available in rural and urban areas and sold by the kilo.”[1]

    Armed political groups have used increasingly heavy weapons in Karachi. Since May 1995, rocket launchers have been used which fire rocket-propelled grenades; according to some estimates there are around 100,000 automatic assault weapons in the hands of armed groups.

    3. Human rights violations in Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh

    In its report of June 1995 on the situation in Karachi, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that it had found the residents of Karachi

    “traumatized by the terror to an extent beyond anything HRCP had noticed during its earlier Sindh probes. Unlike the previous experience, when witnesses had been willing to go on record publicly, many of those interviewed in Karachi were reluctant to disclose in its entirety what they had gone through or what they knew about the plight of their fellow-citizens. Nearly all of them were extremely bitter about the violent tactics of the different political factions and the lawlessness they alleged the law-enforcing and intelligence agencies were indulging in. Their anger at having been deprived of their basic rights — to security of life, to the right of peaceful economic activity, to the protection of law, to a fair judicial redress of grievances, and to participation in democratic governance — was matched only by their feeling of utter despondency.”

    Amnesty International agrees with this description. When an Amnesty International delegation visited Karachi in December 1995, people told it that they feared for their lives from attacks by militants, and that their trust in the law enforcement agencies to protect them and in the judiciary to provide redress, was severely eroded. They were particularly reluctant to report human rights abuses perpetrated by armed political groups. Many people only dared do so from the perceived security of their party’s offices. Amnesty International is aware that such reports may not be entirely objective. It has in fact come across instances in which victims of human rights violations were incorrectly described as members by a particular party in order to create the impression that that party was the target of violations or abuses by another group or the government. However, Amnesty International also contacted a large number of people through non-party channels to obtain independent testimonies.

    In the highly politicised climate of Karachi, the truth is difficult to establish with certainty by any human rights organization and Amnesty International therefore reiterates its call to the Government of Pakistan to set up independent and impartial judicial investigations of every reported human rights violation with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice.

    3.1. Arbitrary arrests

    The practice of arresting family members of wanted men to put pressure on them to surrender or to punish them, documented in the past by Amnesty International, was reported to persist. For instance, Shazia Farooq, the widow of Farooq Putney who was killed on 2 August 1995 in an alleged “encounter” with police, was arrested on the same day; seven months pregnant, she was allegedly taken to Islamabad and her whereabouts remained unknown for several weeks. She was later declared by official sources to be held in “protective custody”. On 12 August 1995, the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) arrested two MQM workers against whom they claimed charges were pending, along with their wives and a brother-in-law from their home in Pathan Colony in Karachi. The women were released after several days.

    The wife and six-week-old baby son of an MQM fugitive were detained in Nazimabad for two days in August to force him to surrender. Similarly the father-in-law of a wanted person, Ali Mohammad Sonara, vice-president of the PPP (SB) of Benazir Bhutto’s brother Murtaza Bhutto, was arrested on 25 June 1995 and detained for several weeks; according to the PPP(SB), 65-year-old Mohammad Umer had not been involved in any criminal offence and was detained without charge solely to force his son-in-law to surrender.

    Hundreds of residents have reportedly been arbitrarily arrested during cordon-and- search operations in Karachi in the past months. During such raids, reportedly conducted without search warrants and without declaring curfew, homes were ransacked and looted and the young men of the locality rounded up. Most were released within a few hours or days, if there were no charges against them. Legal safeguards relating to detention and interrogation were usually not observed: arrests were not recorded and remand was not obtained from magistrates. An elderly man told Amnesty International that several hundred people in his locality in North Nazimabad were rounded up in August and taken in trucks to the local Rangers headquarters. They had to wait for several hours before they were made to walk before a window in which masked informers scrutinized the detainees. Most were released in the evening.

    Family members were usually not informed of the whereabouts of people taken away during raids; when habeas corpus petitions were filed in the High Court, the detaining authorities sometimes resorted to the practice of transferring prisoners from police station to police station under a series of so-called “blind FIRs”. These are First Information Reports filed with police which do not name criminal suspects and which can be abused to remand anyone to police custody for up to 14 days. Once a suspect is found innocent with respect to a specific charge, he can be transferred to another police station under another charge, resulting in prolonged untried detention. An unknown number of people continue to be held in Karachi at any one time. The non-governmental organization War Against Rape (WAR) in August 1995 expressed “outrage” at the growing number of complaints of women unlawfully arrested and harassed during cordon-and-search operations in Karachi, particularly in the Liaquatabad and Korangi areas of the city. It said that the number of women victims of harassment was on the increase and that women were being held “without judicial authority” and “without family members being present” as required by the law.

    The government indirectly acknowledged the practice of arbitrarily arresting citizens when it announced in June 1995 in an effort to regain the confidence of the people that “henceforth the law enforcement agencies would not make indiscriminate arrests and haul up only those who are criminals and indulging in arson and terrorist activities” (Dawn, 6 June 1995). The Director-General of the Rangers in Sindh, General M. Mushtaq, told the HRCP in mid-1995 that there was no other way to arrest wanted offenders than to round up large numbers and screen them.

    Amnesty International regards people arrested instead of their wanted family members as prisoners of conscience, that is prisoners arrested solely for their political beliefs, association or kinship ties who have not used or advocated violence. Minister of State for Law, Raza Rabbani’s statement to the press in Islamabad on 19 August 1995 that there are no prisoners of conscience in Pakistan is not borne out by the reports cited above which are confirmed by a large number of independent sources.

    3.2. Torture and deaths in custody

    Torture, ill-treatment and intimidation of prisoners and detainees in the custody of the police continued to be frequently reported in Karachi. During cordon-and-search operations, people were driven out of their homes in hundreds, blindfolded, loaded onto trucks and interrogated in official or unofficial detention places. The detained persons are known to have included boys as young as 12 and old men. Women were less frequently detained, but during search operations they are reported to have been verbally abused and threatened, robbed of their jewellery and other personal or household possessions and forced to pay ransoms for their release. On 31 August MQM woman worker Seema Zarin, aged 28, was reportedly arrested along with her father by police from their home in Nazimabad and repeatedly beaten and kicked, threatened and verbally abused for 18 hours in the custody of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) centre in Civil Lines, Karachi. She said upon her release that she had been blindfolded and beaten and kicked by two women constables, and then beaten on her back with a belt by a police officer while she was interrogated about MQM activities and activists. The Director-General of the Rangers in Sindh, General M. Mushtaq, told an investigating team of the HRCP that “suspects had to be blindfolded to protect the informers and witnesses” (HRCP report, June 1995).

    On 30 May 1995, several newspapers in Pakistan carried reports and photographs of four MQM activists who were produced in court blindfolded and with what they claimed to be cigarette burn marks on their arms and legs and several other injuries. The four men had reportedly been arrested from their homes on 6 May by police from New Karachi police station; on the following day, an MQM member of parliament had approached the Director General of Police to have their arrest recorded but police denied holding them. The four young men were brought before a magistrate on 28 May. On 29 May they were brought blindfolded before a Special Court for the Suppression of Terrorist Activities. They told newspaper correspondents that they had been kept naked in various interrogation centres, blindfolded for days together, given little foodand subjected to torture to reveal the whereabouts of MQM leaders. Mohammad Shahid, a textile industry worker, was reported as saying: “They forced us to stand during the daytime. In the nights they hung me upside down and gave a severe beating. … I was kept blind-folded and was also shifted to an unknown interrogation centre where I was kept for six days.” Jamil Ahmed, who had injuries on legs and hips, reportedly said: “We don’t know who interrogated us as we were blindfolded. They beat us mercilessly to obtain information about the underground party leaders and workers” (Dawn, 30 May 1995). Police claimed that the four men had been arrested only three days earlier after an “encounter” and that they were bandits. Government officials told Amnesty International that the men had inflicted these wounds on themselves to implicate the government in human rights violations. The presiding judge on 28 May reportedly ordered the four men to be sent to judicial custody and to be given medical treatment. Instead, police reportedly returned them to the police station.

    Amnesty International has been told by several MQM workers in Karachi and Hyderabad that they were detained and tortured until their families paid money for their release. Torture of criminal suspects or political prisoners with intent to extract money from concerned family members is frequently reported in Pakistan. The frequency with which people believed to be MQM members, or to be closely associated with MQM members, are subjected to torture and extortion suggests that police assume that they can do so with impunity.

    An MQM activist in Hyderabad [name, date and location withheld] reported to Amnesty International that he was arrested in mid-November 1995 and taken to a police station where he was made to undress and to squat. His ankles and wrists were then tied together with a rope and a wooden stick passed between them. The stick was then supported by two chairs so that he hung upside down, suspended by wrists and ankles. His bare buttocks were then hit with leather belts. Police officers cursorily asked about activities of his party. They then threatened to make him impotent by hitting his genitals and to implicate him in a criminal case if his family did not pay ransom for his release. When his family complied, he was released. No criminal charge had been brought against him. The name of the Station House Officer (SHO) who supervised this man’s torture and took the ransom money was mentioned to Amnesty International by several other victims of torture, lawyers and journalists in Hyderabad, yet no action appears to have been taken against him.

    Amnesty International has received several dozen reports over the last few months of people who have died in the custody of the police, allegedly as a result of torture.

    The circumstances of the death of Aslam Sabzwari, a former MQM councillor, in police custody on 7 July 1995 remain unclear. According to the MQM, Sabzwari was arrested at around 1.30 pm of 6 July by plain clothed members of the law enforcement agencies outside the National Registration Office in Nazimabad in Karachi. The MQM immediately sent appeals for help to the President and other authorities while expressing fear for the detained man’s life. The District Commissioner of District Central at 3.30pm reportedly confirmed the arrest and assured MQM leaders that nothing untoward would happen to him. Sabzwari was apparently interrogated in the Special Investigation Cell in the Federal B area of Karachi. At 9am of 7 July, his body was taken for a post-mortem examination in Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Hospital. Doctors there reportedly stated that the body bore torture marks. Around 5pm of the same day, the body was taken by an ambulance of the Edhi Foundation to its centre in Sohrab Goth where it was routinely photographed. Edhi volunteers stated that the body bore a wound on the left side and that the left eye was smashed, possibly by a gunshot which pierced the back of the skull. The injury to the eye is visible on the photograph taken in the Edhi Centre and published in Dawn of 11 July. A human rights activist who saw the body in the Edhi Centre confirmed that the left eye of the deceased was torn through and that his body bore numerous injuries.

    According to the police account, Aslam Sabzwari was arrested in the night of 6 July by police of District Central police station in Liaquatabad. Police said that at that time he had already been tortured by unidentified men and accordingly bore torture marks. They stated that they took him to Gulberg police station where he registered a complaint but in the process suffered a heart attack and died early in the morning of 7 July on the way to hospital. In subsequent communications, including to the Secretary General of the UN on 10 September 1995, the government stated that “Altaf group terrorists like … Aslam Sabzwari … got killed” in “encounters with police” when they “engaged law enforcement personnel in shootouts”, despite earlier claims that he had died of a heart attack.

    On 10 July, police released a photo of the body which they claimed had been taken before the post mortem examination; it does not show any marks of torture, and both eyes are intact. A “clarification” issued by the police stated that “both eyes of deceased … Aslam Sabzwari were intact when his dead body was taken to hospital for post mortem. … after the post mortem, one eye … appears to have been removed with mala fide intentions and to create mischief under circumstances which are being investigated by the local police” (Dawn, 11 July 1995). Police sources said that Sabzwari had been involved in the murder of 11 people, the injury of 18 others and the kidnapping of six people. There were over 30 charges pending against him and he reportedly carried a reward of Rupees 1.5m on his head.

    It remains unclear why Sabzwari, if he was already injured at the time of arrest, was not taken for medical treatment right away; moreover, it is puzzling why the police photograph does not show any marks of injuries if, as police claimed, he was already injured when arrested. Furthermore, the Edhi volunteers’ statement and the photo taken by them contradict the official version of events. Many observers in Karachi believe that Sabzwari may have been held and tortured by the MQM Haqiqi and that police captured him to obtain the reward on his head. The inconsistencies in the official version of events and the fact that Sabzwari’s arrest early in the afternoon of 6 July was officially confirmed strongly suggest that Aslam Sabzwari died after being tortured in police custody. It is conceivable, however, that some of the injuries seen on the dead body were inflicted after his death. Medical practitioners in Karachi have told Amnesty International that some doctors working in hospitals are themselves members of political parties and may sometimes inflict injuries on dead bodies to serve their parties’ purposes.

    The Sindh government ordered an inquiry into the circumstances of Sabzwari’s death, to be conducted by a Sub-divisional Magistrate. It is not known if a report has been issued, or if any police officer has been held responsible for the death.

    The available evidence strongly suggests that the death of Tariq Hussain Rizvi in judicial custody on 1 September 1995 resulted from beating inflicted earlier in police custody. Rizvi, a young MQM worker, was reportedly arrested by police in the early afternoon of 16 August 1995 and taken to CIA (Crime Investigation Agency) Jamshed Quarters police station in Karachi. Rizvi’s arrest, witnessed by Ayazuddin, an executive engineer of the Public Works Department and his wife, in whose house he was arrested, was reported in the national newspapers. According to an affidavit of Rizvi’s mother, Shahnaz Begum, police did not show a warrant of arrest. On hearing of her son’s arrest, she visited the CIA Centre almost daily to contact her son but was never permitted to see him. Rizvi also did not have access to a lawyer or medical officer. Fearing for her son’s life, Shahnaz Begum on 22 August sent telegrams to the highest authorities in Pakistan urging them to ensure her son’s safety. On 25 August she was given her son’s bloodstained clothes to wash. Shahnaz Begum filed a habeas corpus petition which came up for hearing on 31 August in the Karachi High Court. The state authorities reportedly sought more time to reply to questions relating to his whereabouts. Meanwhile, magistrates repeatedly issued orders remanding Rizvi to police custody and on 30 and 31 August to jail custody.

    On 30 August Tariq Hassan Rizvi was apparently taken to Karachi Central Jail. Prison authorities reportedly told Rizvi’s mother that they had refused to take Rizvi into custody on account of his many injuries. According to Shahnaz Begum, the matter was referred to the Home Department of the Sindh Government which directed the jail authorities to take Rizvi into their custody on 31 August. On the same day the TV news bulletin again reported his arrest by police on that day. He apparently died in jail on 1 September 1995. Early in the morning of 2 September 1995, Shahnaz Begum was informed that her son had died and that his dead body was to be collected from the Edhi organization which receives, cleans and, if unidentified, buries dead bodies.

    A forensic expert who examined the autopsy report issued by the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre and the photos of the dead body said: “As there was no natural disease of any significance found on this victim, the possibility remains that he may have choked on his own vomit following a beating, especially if unconscious or stuporous from a head injury. Although there is no fractured skull or brain damage, the presence of quite extensive bruising under the scalp indicates that he had several severe blows on the head which could easily have caused unconsciousness. … Thus it follows that death was due to the injuries and although the mechanism of death is obscure, it is quite possible that he choked on regurgitated stomach contents, either whilst unconscious or semi-conscious, or merely as a result of severe assault, which might include a blow on the stomach.” The autopsy report lists 26 injuries and states that they were inflicted between 12-24 hours to 10 days before Rizvi’s death. Since Rizvi was arrested 17 days before his death, it appears to conclusively follow that he died of the consequences of beatings inflicted in police custody.

    A few weeks later, on 26 September 1995, Feroze Uddin, another MQM worker from North Karachi who had reportedly been arrested on 19 September and remanded in police custody for a week on charges of assault on public servants, was brought by police and Rangers before a judge of a Special Court for the Suppression of Terrorist Activities. The presiding judge, Mohammad Akber, reportedly commented on the numerous injuries visible on the body of Feroze Uddin. These included swellings in his face and chest where hair had been pulled out and marks of beating. Feroze Uddin reportedly told his lawyer that the injuries had been inflicted by the Rangers. The judge reportedly ordered Feroze Uddin to be transferred to judicial rather than police custody; he also directed that Feroze Uddin should be given adequate medical care. It appears that these orders were ignored as his family could not find him in the jail to which he was to have been transferred. Feroze Uddin died on 28 or 29 September, together with two other MQM workers arrested earlier, Parvez Akhter Qureshi and Mohammad Ali, of gun shot injuries inflicted in an alleged “encounter” with police. According to official accounts, Feroze Uddin and another MQM worker were taken to New Karachi to identify other suspects when armed militants opened fire and killed both the prisoners as well as two pedestrians. A judicial inquiry into these deaths by a sub-divisional magistrate was established but does not appear to have concluded its investigation or to have published its findings.

    Some prisoners reportedly died in police custody, allegedly after torture, even after their families had sought their release by paying the required bribe. Sayeed Hassan was reportedly arrested without charge on 12 December 1995 in New Karachi and taken to Buffer Zone police station. When his brother-in-law saw Sayeed Hassan being beaten by police in the police station, he agreed to provide 70,000 Rupees as demanded by the SHO. The sum was handed over to police on 15 December but police said they would not hand Sayeed Hassan over till swellings on his body would subside. On 21 December, his younger brother Jamil, who used to take meals to the police station for Sayeed Hassan, was told that his brother had died on 16 December. Family members reported that his body bore numerous injuries and bruises and that his face was swollen where his beard had been plucked out. The family did not lodge a complaint for fear of reprisal.

    In some instances deaths in custody were declared by police to have been due to prisoners committing suicide, to natural causes or accidents. On 25 June, Ahmed Umer, an injured 22-year-old MQM worker who had been arrested by police in Malir, a few hours after his arrest fell to his death from the third floor of a building under construction in that area. Police claim that the prisoner had been taken there by police to indicate where some absconding suspects were hiding. On the construction site he allegedly tried to escape and jumped to his death. The question why an injured person was taken to the construction site rather than a hospital remains unanswered. Family members claimed that Umer was killed in custody and dropped from the building.

    Some political prisoners appear to have died as a result of lack of medical attention. A 14-year old MQM worker, Javed, died in the night of 31 August 1995. A resident of Mirpurkhas, he was apparently arrested some months earlier in connection with criminal cases registered against him. Remanded to the central prison in Hyderabad, he suffered from acute dysentery for about six weeks without any medical attention. When his condition became critical about a week before his death, he was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement. When he suffered from about two dozen bowel motions a day, the prison chief medical officer reportedly recommended that Javed be sent to hospital but the prison administration did not follow the recommendation. In the night of 31 August he was finally transferred to hospital but died on the way. The Deputy Superintendent of the prison reportedly said that Javed had died “after a prolonged illness”.

    3.3. Lack of protection for people reporting human rights abuses
    Members of the press who courageously report ongoing human rights violations and abuses in Pakistan have themselves been victims. Journalists who have published reports on corrupt practices, on strife within parties and on killings in Karachi have been targeted by armed political groups (see below). But not only has the government failed to provide adequate protection for them, it has also in some cases constrained their professional activities, brought criminal charges against journalists and subjected them to torture. On 29 June 1995, six evening newspapers were banned in Karachi under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance of 1960 because they had allegedly published sensationalist news about violence in Karachi. The ban was, however, lifted on 4 July following protests by journalist organizations. A similar ban was again imposed in mid-December 1995, and again lifted following journalists’ protests. In August 1995, the office and home of Razzia Bhatti, chief editor of the political monthly Newsline in Karachi were raided, and charges brought, then dropped, against the paper’s correspondent Mohammad Hanif for an article on the governor of Sindh, Kamaluddin Azfar.

    Farhan Effendi, a journalist working for the Karachi-based Urdu daily Parcham which is considered to be close to the MQM, was reportedly abducted by plain clothes men, apparently belonging to the paramilitary Rangers, on 14 September 1995 in Hyderabad; late on 15 September he was handed over to the Cantonment police station in Hyderabad. On 16 September, police obtained his remand to judicial custody for nine days from a judicial magistrate. Before being sent to Hyderabad Central Prison, Effendi told journalists in the court that “during the last two days I was ferociously beaten up by them and I was kept blindfolded with my hands tied on my back”. Journalists told Amnesty International that they saw bruises on his face, chest and back. A First Information Report registered on 15 September said that he was charged with illegal possession of arms and with involvement in terrorist activities. The case is pending. Effendi is currently in the Central Jail, Hyderabad. His bail application was rejected both by the trial court and the High Court.

    In November 1995, the office of The News in Hyderabad was raided by police some of whom were in plain clothes but carrying arms. When a journalist asked police if they had a search warrant, police reportedly answered, “Is it necessary to have a warrant?” Police apparently were in search of MQM members; they also raided the MQM Legal Aid Committee in the same building where they arrested three clients of advocate Hamsa Khan who resisted their search without warrant of his office and died three days later of heart attack.

    On 23 August 1995, Ajmal Dehlvi, an editor of the daily Amn and at present the leader of the MQM team which is negotiating with the Government of Pakistan, had bombs thrown into his office by gunmen who had come to his office in a vehicle reportedly identified as government-owned; they then fired automatic guns at the office. Later the same assailants reportedly threw bombs at the office of the daily Parcham. Other members of the MQM negotiating team, including Kazi Khalid and Liaqat Hussain, were reportedly similarly attacked on 22 August.

    Human rights defenders have also failed to obtain adequate protection. Human rights activist Ansar Burney reported that he and his co-workers had received threats from armed groups but have received no police protection. An ambulance of the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust was reportedly fired at on 24 August by plain clothes persons from a police van; a second attack on the ambulance reportedly occurred in the same spot on 3 September.

    Again, the government appears to have failed to provide adequate protection to members of the public who have spoken out against human rights abuses in Karachi and who have been targeted by armed opposition groups. Industrialist Farooq Sumar, after several extortion attempts, a robbery and threats allegedly by the MQM(Haqiqi), in early May publicly accused the government of collusion with this group. He reported that his family and staff were receiving death threats and that he had appealed to the authorities in vain for protection. Sumar said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), after questioning him, had issued orders to arrest the MQM(Haqiqi) leader Afaq Ahmed Khan. Sumar alleged that “this order was rescinded upon the personal intervention of the Chief Minister of Sindh”. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) carried out an investigation into Sumar’s complaint and confirmed that he and members of his family “face a serious threat to their lives and security”. Nevertheless, no protective steps have been taken by the government; several members of Sumar’s family and staff have continued to receive threats or have been chased or attacked and some have had to go into hiding.

    3.4. Extrajudicial executions
    Extrajudicial executions by law enforcement personnel, often portrayed by the authorities as “encounters” with police, continued to be reported from Karachi with distressing frequency.

    On 13 July, five young men described as MQM activists were possibly extrajudicially executed in Korangi, Karachi. They had allegedly forcibly occupied the house of a PPP leader some three weeks earlier, extracted money from him and driven him and his family out of their home. During a raid of the house by the police, three of the young men were shot dead while according to neighbours and relatives, at least two of the men, Mohammad Ghazanfar, aged 18, and Mohammad Imran, aged 15, were caught alive and shot dead in cold blood. Police asserted that the five men were killed in an “encounter”.

    On 2 August, Farooq Putney, alias Farooq Dada, and three other MQM workers, Javed Michael, Ghaffar Mada and Hanif Turk, were shot dead by police in an alleged armed “encounter” near the airport when, according to police, they failed to stop and opened fire on the police. Family members, however, claimed that the men had earlier been arrested from their homes. Moreover, another MQM worker, Mohammad Altaf, arrested later on the same day was reportedly identified by Farooq Dada and his three companions when they were brought to Altaf’s house by police to help identify him. Witnesses were reported to have seen the four MQM workers at the time of Altaf’s arrest; they were at that time reportedly held in shackles.

    On 10 October, four MQM workers died in what police described as an “encounter”. Three of the men, Fahim Farooqi alias Fahim Commando, Zeeshan Haider Abedi and Yousuf Rizwan, had been arrested on 6 August in Nazimabad and were held in judicial custody at Karachi Central Jail. Mufeez Farooqi, Fahim Farooqi’s brother, had been arrested earlier in the month in Rawalpindi and appears to have been returned to Karachi on the day before the alleged “encounter”. The four men were taken to the Airport police station around 3pm on 9 October; in the early hours of 10 October they were taken to a house in Nazimabad allegedly to identify a “safe house” in which some activists were supposedly hiding. Police claim that all four prisoners were killed in an ambush when unidentified gunmen stationed on neighbouring rooftops fired at them. Government officials told Amnesty International that police fled the ambushed vehicle while the prisoners who were hand-cuffed in the van, could not escape the shooting. Consequently, none of the police officers were injured. Police stated that they returned the fire of the attackers and killed one of them; however, his identity has not been revealed. Doctors at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital reportedly stated that the four men whose bodies were brought in still hand-cuffed, had died of gun shots fired at them from a very short distance. The HRCP which undertook an investigation of the incident found that the four prisoners had been hand-cuffed, fettered and chained together when they were shot dead in a road blocked off by heavily armed police contingents, none of whom were injured. The report ends: “The HRCP is constrained to conclude that the official version of an ambush or a shootout could not be given any credence and that the killings of October 10 were part of what appears to be the law enforcement agencies’ on-going practice of eliminating those they consider hardened criminals or terrorists.” A judicial inquiry subsequently set up does not appear to have concluded its investigation. Government officials told Amnesty International in December, that the HRCP team had not contacted Home Department officials to obtain their explanation of the killings. A government hand-out said that Fahim Farooqi “was killed under MQM(A) high command’s instructions by their terrorists so that he could not disclose secrets and pinpoint hide-outs of the MQM(A)’s terrorists …”.

    Wajed Ali Safdar, an MQM worker, died in the night of 4 December 1995, according to the police in an armed “encounter”. His father told Amnesty International that police from Orangi Extension police station just after midnight came to arrest Wajed from his home in Adam Town, North Karachi. “One of them hit him on the head with a pistol and another one hit his buttocks with a rifle. They did not say anything. … First they took his younger brother along as well. He is retarded. His mother ran after them. She was also hit with a rifle but then they only took away Wajed. Next morning we heard that he was dead. His body looked terrible. His left thigh was broken and the flesh was torn out …”. MQM sources said that Wajed Ali Safdar had been an eye-witness of the deaths of MQM workers Arif Zaidi and Saeed in police custody in September 1995 and had been prepared to give evidence.

    Police and Rangers have sometimes described victims of extrajudicial killings as “terrorists” to justify their acts, despite strong evidence that the person concerned had no link with armed groups. On 30 August, Rizwana Mukhtar reported in the Hyderabad Press Club that her 60-year-old father, Sheikh Mukhtar, was shot dead by Rangers on 24 August, and that he was later described on TV as a “terrorist”. She said that her father, a businessman, had no political affiliation. On 24 August 1995, several areas of Hyderabad were cordoned off and searched by Rangers. When her father refused to allow a group of Rangers to set up a check-post on the roof of his house, the Rangers opened fire at their house and injured her father. An ambulance called for by the family was fired at as well, injuring its driver who died a month later of these injuries. Despite appeals to the Rangers, the ambulance was not permitted to approach the house. While the firing at their home continued, the family carried Mukhtar Sheikh, by now bleeding profusely, to the ambulance down the road but he died on the way to the hospital. During the same operation Iqbal Memon, a 55-year-old cloth merchant, also without political affiliation, died in similar circumstances. Pakistani television on the same evening’s news broadcast reported that “as a result of Ranger firing, two terrorists were killed”.

    3.5. “Disappearances” and incommunicado detention
    An unknown number of people have “disappeared” in the custody of the law enforcement agencies or have been held for prolonged periods in incommunicado detention; these appear to include mostly workers and supposed sympathizers of the MQM in Karachi, but Amnesty International has also received reports that the whereabouts of some arrested activists of the PPP faction of Murtaza Bhutto were unknown. A human rights activist who had investigated dozens of cases of arbitrary and incommunicado detention in Sindh told Amnesty International, “undeclared detention is normal in Sindh … how many cases can you take up?”

    Amnesty International believes that prisoners in incommunicado detention and prisoners who have “disappeared” in custody are particularly at risk of torture and ill- treatment. When access to layers, family members and medical staff is denied, those in authority can subject prisoners to torture, and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment without fear of being detected.

    Rais Fatima, the 26-year-old sister of Khalil Siddiqui, a close associate of MQM leader Altaf Hussain, and a member of MQM women’s wing, and Qamar Mansoor Siddiqui, a member of the Sindh Provincial Assembly, on 4 June boarded a train in Karachi for Lahore, never to arrive there. Habeas corpus petitions were filed on behalf of both the “disappeared” persons in the Karachi High Court and the Lahore High Court on 13 June. On 25 June, the Speaker of the Sindh Provincial Assembly, Ghous Baksh Mehar, told the House that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had informed him that Qamar Mansoor had been arrested on 29 May on charges of violating the Explosive Substances Act. The Sindh authorities on 10 July informed the Karachi High Court that the two missing persons were not in detention anywhere in Sindh and that there were no charges pending against them in the province in connection with which they could be detained.

    The information provided by the Assembly Speaker proved to be incorrect; on 7 July the Lahore High Court hearing the habeas corpus petitions was told by the Deputy Attorney General (DAG) that Qamar had been arrested by the FIA in Rawalpindi on 20 June on a charge of sedition, incitement to violence and illegal possession of fire arms under sections 120A, 124A and 511 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 3 of the Explosives Act. He said that Qamar had been produced before a magistrate who had remanded him first to the custody of the FIA and then transferred him to judicial custody in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi. The DAG submitted that nothing was known about the whereabouts of Rais Fatima.

    Qamar’s lawyer stated that the information supplied by the DAG did not explain the “disappearance” of Qamar from 5 to 20 June and said there were strong grounds to believe that he had actually been arrested on 4/5 June during or upon arrival in Lahore. Upon his application, the Lahore High Court on 10 July granted the lawyer permission to visit the detainee in Adiala Jail, partly to consult his client but also to inquire into the place and date of arrest and the whereabouts of Rais Fatima. The presiding judge, however, refused permission to have Qamar produced in court so he could publicly be questioned about the whereabouts of Rais Fatima. Qamar’s lawyer informed Amnesty International that, despite the High Court’s permission, he has not so far been able to visit Qamar in Adiala Jail. Its Superintendent refused to let the lawyer or any of Qamar’s relatives see him. In August, the Advocate General’s Office in Lahore told the lawyer that the permission to visit Qamar should be sought from the Chief Secretary of the Punjab government. The Chief Secretary in turn informed the lawyer that the Deputy Commissioner (DC) in Islamabad should be approached; but the DC appears not to have issued relevant orders. Qamar Mansoor’s lawyer reported that he had been harassed, threatened and verbally abused, even in the premises of the Supreme Court, by people believed to belong to an intelligence agency. He informed Amnesty International in December 1995 that Rais Fatima was then known to be held in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi and that her father had just visited her.

    In a related case, the whereabouts of MQM activist Arshad Naeem remained unknown for over a month. Arshad Naeem had been arrested by police from his relatives’ home in Lahore on 7 June. When on 12 July the habeas corpus petition filed by his father came up for hearing in the Lahore High Court, the DAG said that the young man was not in the custody of the FIA or any other federal agency and the Advocate General denied that he was being detained by any provincial authority. Two days later the DAG admitted that Arshad Naeem had been arrested in Lahore in the same sedition case as Qamar and that he was being held in Adiala Jail as well. To Amnesty International’s knowledge, Arshad Naeem has not been allowed access to his lawyer either. Arshad Naeem’s father filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking prohibitive direction of that court against publicly displaying detainees in the nation’s media and broadcasting their “confessional statements”. The decision on this petition is not known.

    Some arrested MQM workers, including several detained parliamentarians, have been transferred to other prison locations, often without their relatives being informed where they were being taken. Sometimes their relatives then saw them again on national television. MQM senator Zahid Akhtar who had been secretly transferred from Peshawar Jail to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail was later shown on TV “confessing” various acts of “terrorism”; other MQM workers seen incriminating themselves on television were Muhammad Taqi and Hashamuz Zafar. Amnesty International fears that during periods of unacknowledged detention and before such public “confessions” and self-incrimination, detainees may be subjected to torture and ill-treatment.

  10. Aamir sahib, reading that amnesty international report, one is extremely thankful that Naseerullah Babar’s time with the PPP is over, hopefully for good. His legacy is extremely bloody and one of PPP’s most shameful chapters.

  11. Thanks. Ms. Rabia.

    You know what is the problem with this country? They Lie in every which way they can to avoid truth. Truth has a strange nature and that it to reappear before you to haunt you. The above report is 14 Years old but somehow nature [Read Allah] moves in mysterious ways to warn us to mend our ways but we dont.

    Best Regards.

  12. going to Nine Zero was one of Zardari’s best political move for the national and karachi politics , even though he had to face alot of criticism from ppp itself . and i agree with rabia naseeruallah babar approach was shameful.

  13. These repeated patch-ups

    Sunday, February 07, 2010
    Gibran Peshimam

    The politics of Sindh, more specifically Karachi, was at its absurd best this past week. For what seems to be the umpteenth time, the relationship between coalition partners, the MQM and the PPP, oscillated wildly, to the say the least, from acrimonious to its apparent usual cordiality.

    There are a few questions that arise out of the situation that we saw last week, ones which rear their heads every once in a while, only to be relegated into the background once the two parties are back to “loving” one another.

    Firstly, it is clear that the relationship between the two is, to put it mildly, dysfunctional. There is a lot more than meets the eye. There is a huge element of mistrust, despite the rhetoric of reconciliation. They are both playing a dual strategy – that much is apparent.

    The bouts of acrimony between the PPP and the MQM have one factor in common: Zulfiqar Mirza – the outspoken and, at times, excessively aggressive, Sindh home minister.

    The MQM would love to see the back of the fiery home minister but, given his standing in the PPP – he is a close personal friend of the president’s and a deeply influential figure in the party (even his wife was awarded the post of National Assembly speaker) – it will be interesting to see how the party handles the situation.

    The MQM says it believes that Mirza is a rouge element in the PPP, and does not reflect party policy.

    Yes, the thinly-veiled verbal tirade that the home minister launched in the Sindh Assembly against the MQM could indeed just be an emotional and impromptu expression of his personal view, given that he is a close-enough friend of the president to be able to break from the party line without worrying too much about the consequences. However, it would be naive to believe that even Mirza does not have some sort of tacit green signal to explode like that from time to time.

    It is to keep the MQM in check, as well as appease the anti-MQM quarters within the PPP and its supporters.

    However, this strategy may have reached its sell-by date, given that the last incident was so intense (perhaps Mirza overshot his target) that it has pushed the relationship to the brink. One more push, and it could lead to an MQM walkout. It is the second time in a couple of months that Mirza has given the Karachi-based party a public dressing down, and the MQM isn’t exactly known for its patience.

    Hence, it is difficult to imagine what assurances the interior minister could have possibly made in the number of meetings held on that nervous Wednesday that could have seen the end of the Sindh coalition. What did he promise that ended the MQM’s boycott of the Sindh Assembly? The issue of the local-bodies elections had apparently already been resolved, with MQM-backed administrators slated for Karachi and Hyderabad. He would probably have had to do better than that.

    If Mirza is removed from the all-important post of security chief of the province, it will be a massive capitulation on the part of the PPP – relative even to the submissive standards set by the PPP in terms of its relationship with the MQM. It will be a big mistake on the part of the PPP.

    As for the other Mirza-centric options, given his nature it is highly unlikely that he can be completely silenced by the PPP. If that was possible, it would have happened a long time ago. The apology that the MQM demanded from him is as forthcoming as the president quitting. Not happening.

    If none of this is happening, we need to ponder on why the MQM has once again agreed to kiss and make up? Reconciliation and trust? Try taking that to the bank.

    The PPP could just stand its ground, but that does not seem to be the policy of the party under its present leadership. Hence, the PPP would have had to give the MQM a lot to make up for the Mirza outburst – especially if it doesn’t involve his exit.

    It could have something to do with the nature of the future local-bodies set up. The MQM has been pressing to have the police of the major urban centres of Pakistan under the Mayors. This would be beneficial enough to the MQM for it to overlook Mirza’s public attacks on the party. But is the PPP really that desperate?

    Which brings us to the elephant in the room: Why is the PPP bending over backwards for the MQM, to begin with? They have a simple majority in the Sindh Assembly. In fact, in doing so, the PPP is alienating the ANP, without whom they would not have a say in the NWFP government. There is no imminent danger to the PPP in the centre, given the PML-N’s currently docile stance; in any case, they can scrape through in the National Assembly.

    Historically, if asked, most people will cite the widely held perception that the MQM’s opposition will either destabilise Karachi or will not allow the ruling party to function freely in Pakistan’s largest city. If things get bad enough in Karachi, it serves as the ultimate blow to the country as well as a calling card for the khakis. Obviously, there has to be some truth to such notions for successive governments to so eagerly take the MQM on board despite their difficult nature.

    Yet, the PPP needs to realise that continuing to give political concessions may have become a redundant exercise. The most important factor in the current political equation is security in Karachi. To be more specific, the MQM-ANP conflict in Karachi. Based on everything from land-grabbing to ethnic xenophobia, this conflict has begun to manifest violently with a disturbingly high frequency. We saw it in the attacks on tea hotels late in 2008 and see it in the outbreak of violence in parts of Karachi such as the hilly Khasa Hills area.

    The temperature between these two parties is still rising, and can go out of political control anytime now. Appeasement and political games will not do the trick any more.

    The writer is city editor, The News, Karachi. Email: gibran.peshimam@

  14. After all these Killings————Politics goes on and if that visit was due then why this visit was not arranged earlier to avoid the bloodletting of Innocent human beings [both Pashtuns and Urdu Speaking].
    MQM team visits Mardan House Updated at: 1955 PST, Monday, February 08, 2010 KARACHI: The MQM’s Rabita Committee has said that Muttahida Qaumi Movement wants to put the province and the country on the path of progress by talking along Awami National Party. According to a statement issued here on Monday, an MQM delegation headed by Wasim Aftab and Raza Haroon has visited Mardan House and condoled ANP’s provincial leadership at the demise of veteran politician Ajmal Khatak.
    7 Karachi firing victims laid to rest Friday, February 05, 2010 Our correspondent
    Meanwhile, ANP leader and senior minister from the NWFP, Bashir Ahmad Bilour, arrived in Karachi to ease tensions between the parties in the provincial coalition. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday at the Karachi Press Club, Bilour said that the ANP is ready to go everywhere, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters Nine-Zero, for talks which may help maintain peace in Karachi. MQM, ANP exchange barbs Friday, February 05, 2010 By our correspondents

  15. Kayani, Malik discuss judicial crisis in meeting Saturday, 20 Feb, 2010,+malik+discuss+judicial+crisis+in+meeting–bi-04

    RAWALPINDI: Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani held an unusual meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik at General Head Quarters Rawalpindi in which important issues including the current judicial crisis and the Karachi law and order situation came under discussion. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, in the meeting, briefed the Army Chief about the government’s efforts for reconciliation with the Judiciary. He also discussed the law and order situation of Karachi. According to the sources, the matter related to Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s alleged involvement in the Karachi violence also came under discussion.—DawnNews.

  16. when general musharaf changed the structures of districts in sindh ; at that time PPP lawmakers raised their voices in sindh assembly and its part of assembly record but Benazir Bhutto never asked her party members to resign from provincial assembly .

    if MQM has any objection regarding PM decision they should have first raised it in sindh assembly .

  17. Imran Farooq’s murder linked to rows within MQM party- by Farhad Jarral 27 September 2010

    Imran Farooq’s Murder: Altaf may not return to lead the ‘revolution’ By Shiraz Paracha 19 September 2010

    MQM leader Imran Farooq assassinated in London 16 September 2010

    BBC Hard Talk : MQM Muhammad Anwar Part 1

    BBC Hard Talk : Part 2 MQM Muhammad Anwar

    Altaf accuses foreign powers of plotting to eliminate him
    By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque Monday, 27 Sep, 2010

    Mr Hussain said the murder of Dr Imran Farooq was a link in the chain and news analysis and columns published in the international press gave a clear indication about which party and personality were being targeted. He referred to the BBC programme “Hard Talk” in which the host asked coordination committee member Mohammad Anwar why the MQM leader (Mr Hussain) had not been removed.
    “This has implications for the situation… what was the purpose of this question?”

    Saleem Shahzad expelled from MQM Rabita Committee Saturday, February 14, 2009 [The News and Jang]

    KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has expelled Saleem Shahzad from its Rabita Committee on account of his personal and secret activities and contacts. Besides, MQM activists have been asked not to contact another Rabita Committee member, Muhammad Anwar, on any issue.

    According to a press release issued by the MQM on Friday, anyone found contacting Saleem Shahzad would be expelled from the party. Similarly, the MQM activists have been directed instead of contacting Muhammad Anwar they may contact the Rabita Committee in Karachi or the party’s international secretariat. The party took the decision on the basis of Anwar’s suspicious activities and his disinterest in the affairs of the party, the statement said.

    Meanwhile, MQM’s senior member and in-charge of its Labour Division Anees Ahmed Khan, advocate, has voluntarily resigned from the basic membership of the MQM, the statement said.

    Another MQM statement said on the grounds of serious violation of organisational discipline and involvement in activities outside the organisation, the Rabita Committee had suspended the following activists of the All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO) for an indefinite period: Ejaz Qureshi and Mohsin Shahab (University of Karachi unit); and Mohsin Ahsanul Haq (NED unit). When contacted, MQM spokesman Faisal Sabazwari offered no comments, saying: “Whatever the MQM has to say in this regard, it has stated in the press release.”

    Saleem Shahzad expelled from MQM By Our Staff Reporter
    February 14, 2009

    KARACHI, Feb 13: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement expelled on Friday its senior leader Syed Saleem Shahzad from the party for his alleged ‘mysterious’ activities. The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the party’s coordination committee. A statement issued from the MQM’s London secretariat said any party member found in contact with Mr Shahzad would lose his membership.

    A former MNA and London-based MQM leader, Anis Ahmed Advocate, resigned from the party and stated that in future he would have nothing to do with the views and actions of the MQM, the statement said. Meanwhile, the MQM directed its workers not to contact Mohammad Anwar, another senior London-based member of the coordination committee.

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