MQM not to participate in Tahirul Qadri's long march
11 January, 2013
KARACHI: The leadership of Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) has decided not to participate in the long march called by Tahirul Qadri on January 14, our sources reported Friday.
While addressing a news conference here today, Deputy Convener of the Co-ordination Committee Dr Farooq Sattar told that the party leadership has decided to separate itself from the long march, however, it will continue to support the ideology of Tahirul Qadri, founding leader of Tehreek-i-Minhaj ul Quran (TMQ).
Dr Sattar told that the decision has been taken in the backdrop of the deteriorating security situation in the country and it is dangerous to put on stake the lives of millions of people.
He said that the decision has been conveyed to Tahirul Qadri.
Earlier on Thursday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain had reaffirmed that his party would definitely join Qadri's long march and had asked his critics if religious and other political parties, including the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), had not organised such marches in the past.
Hussain had moreover asked the people criticising his party for supporting Qadri's march as to which law book prohibited a coalition partner from holding protests and demonstrations and taking part in a march.
"We have accepted the government's decision and now it should accept our decision to become part of the long march," the MQM had stated on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had held a meeting with leaders of allied parties, including the MQM, at the Bilawal House, during which the coalition partners had reiterated their full support to the government.
The meeting was attended by Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) chief Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Awami National Party (ANP) President Asfandyar Wali Khan and Senator Shahi Syed, MQM leaders Dr Farooq Sattar, Senator Babar Khan Ghouri, Munir Khan Orakzai, Hameedullah Jan Afridi and Senator Abbas Khan Afridi.
Moreover, Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Thursday said there were some strong and potent threats to the life of Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief Tahirul Qadri and he should review his decision on long march to Islamabad.
Talking to newsmen, he said Punjab government had received an intelligence tip that one of the militant groups called Ghazi Force plans to launch a suicide attack on Qadri's rally which is to be taken out on January 14. The Punjab government, he said, had also informed that senior officials were sent to apprise Qadri of the situation but he declined to meet them. Rehman Malik said the group has detailed three people, Yar Bakht, Ahmad and Naeem, aged 18 to 19, for the purpose.
The minister said the Crime Investigation Department (CID), Karachi, had also arrested five persons involved in the attack on the rally of Qadri and MQM in Karachi. They planned to explode a motorcycle close to Qadri, but could not do so due to strict security arrangements. Malik said he had also talked to senior officials of the Punjab government to consider threats to the life of Qadri and participants of the rally and take a decision accordingly.
If the TMQ chief was allowed to leave for Islamabad then there should be absolute guarantee for his security and that of the participants, he said. Another intelligence alert had also been received regarding attack on media team covering the long march, he said. The minister said representatives of the traders community and residents of Islamabad, who met him, had categorically stated that the long march should not be allowed.
He said in view of their demands and security of the residents of the federal capital, it had been decided that permission would not be given for holding of a sit-in or march in commercial markets or residential sectors of Islamabad. He said Section-144 was imposed in the federal capital, but Qadri had so far not sought an NOC (No Objection Certificate) to hold a gathering. He said if a request was received then permission might be granted for such a gathering at a safer place where there was no disturbance to the people of Islamabad.
The minister asked Qadri to not come to Islamabad by road and put the lives of people in danger in view of the threats from terrorists, however, the government was ready to provide him a helicopter for the purpose. He said there were also reports that workers of TMQ and some government servants were involved in collection of donations for the long march and warned them that disciplinary action would be taken against them.
"Pakistanis are questioning who are the financers and who is behind the plan to stage such a long march, when the government has just two months to complete its tenure and elections are due," he said, adding that Qadri had around 170,000 students and he should think about the parents who have sent them for education.
"Tahir Qadri should come alone then we will see how many people join his long march. On one side he is talking about rule of law while on the other side he is instigating the people to achieve his own desire or agenda," he said. The minister said instead of fulfilling personal gains, Qadri should show care for people and avoid putting people in danger.
"We will not succumb to any illegal demand from Qadri and we want to tell him elections will be held on time, the path of progress would continue," Malik said. The minister said Qadri can give us logical demands which would be considered by the government.