ISLAMABAD: Fear of arrest has restricted the movement of at least five MNAs of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement to Karachi. These lawmakers will not be able to attend the coming session of the assembly.
Abdul Rasheed Godil, MQM’s deputy parliamentary leader in the assembly, told Dawn on phone from an unspecified location that he and four other MQM MNAs — parliamentary leader of party in the NA Dr Farooq Sattar, Salman Mujahid Baloch, Mohammad Rehan Hashmi and Kishwar Zahra — had gone underground.
Know more: MQM's Qamar Mansoor sent on transit remand in Rangers custody
These five MNAs were among 24 party activists and 150 unidentified people against whom a case was registered with the Godap Town police station for listening an allegedly offensive speech by MQM chief Altaf Hussain.
According to a video circulating on social media, Mr Hussain accused Sindh Rangers chief of violating the army’s code of conduct.
“Knowing that our warrants of arrest have been issued, we can neither travel to Islamabad to attend the coming NA session, nor move to other parts of Sindh. We have gone underground to avoid the arrest,” Mr Godil said.
Qamar Mansoor, a member of the MQM’s Rabita Committee, has been taken into custody for organising and facilitating `hate speech against peace in Karachi’.
Answering a question, the MQM legislator said a plan had been prepared to eliminate MQM and NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was part of it. He conceded that the MQM was passing through the most critical juncture of its existence. “My mother is ill and I cannot go to see her,” he said.
Retired Colonel Tahir Mashhadi, a senator belonging to MQM, told Dawn that a case had been registered against him and 40 others for listening to Mr Hussain’s speech. He alleged that the case was false and had been registered with New Town police station, Karachi, by a tout of law-enforcement agencies who belongs to the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). “Because I heard the speech of Altaf Hussain, I am accused under Sections 120,120A, 121,121A, 123 and 132 of Telegraph Act, 109 of Pakistan Penal Code and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act. I have never held any office, post or position in MQM. I am a legislator of the party,” he added.
He said his activities, views and speeches in Senate and TV talk shows were known to all. “Senate records and TV-recorded statements of mine prove without a shadow of doubt that I am most patriotic and pro-army legislator. When everyone indulges in army bashing I always support the army,” he said.
Mr Mashhadi said he fought wars for Pakistan. Victimisation, persecution, false and outrageous allegations and pressure tactics being used are unprecedented in the political history of the country, he said.
“Democracy, decency and rule of law is under threat and this is what politicises law-enforcement agencies,” he said and added that he was regarded as most clean, moderate voice of reason.
Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2015