Karachi opens as MQM takes back strike call
07 March, 2013
KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) took back its call for an indefinite strike in Karachi on Wednesday just a few hours after announcing it in a press conference.
The Karachi-based party called for an indefinite strike on Wednesday, asking traders, transporters and other segments of society to go on a strike voluntarily against the government's attitude towards the victims of Abbas Town tragedy. The party, however, withdrew the appeal in a second press conference.
Addressing the second press conference, held four hours after the first one, MQM leader Raza Haroon said that in response to the appeals of several stakeholders of society, including traders, transporters and school associations, the MQM has decided to take its appeal for a strike back. However, he stated that the withdrawal of the strike call does not mean withdrawal from the demands for arrest of culprits and rehabilitation of the victims of the Abbas Town attack. He said that the decision was taken back owing to the problems that the general public would have faced due to the strike.
Haroon said that despite withdrawal of the strike call MQM would continue its peaceful protests across Sindh in general and Karachi in particular. He said that his party would soon announce its strategy to protest the tragedy of Abbas Town.
In the first press conference, following a meeting of the MQM's coordination committee, Haroon had appealed traders and transporters to keep their businesses closed voluntarily. He stated that over 50 innocent people had died and over 150 were seriously wounded, including women, children and senior citizens, in the Abbas Town attack, but the government has taken no significant action against the culprits so far.
He said party chief Altaf Hussain had strongly condemned the dreadful incident and demanded the government bring the perpetrators to justice within three days; however, the government only gave false assurances to the victims. "This has placed a big question mark on performance of the government and the law-enforcing agencies," Haroon said.
He also criticised the national leaders on the tragedy, saying, "They are not only maintaining silence but also supporting the banned outfits instead of sympathising with the martyrs." He had said the MQM has decided to start peaceful protests at the public level after making long deliberations in its meetings.