Land and drug mafias responsible for Karachi violence: MQM

May 2nd, 2009 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Karachi, May 2 (IANS) Bristling at suggestions of its involvement in the ethnic violence in this southern port city that claimed at least 34 lives earlier this week, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), a partner in Sindh’s ruling coalition, has demanded the removal of two key police officers for “misleading” the prime minister on the clashes.
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club Friday on the phone from London, Mohammad Anwar of the MQM coordination committee accused Sindh Inspector General of Police Salahuddin Babar Khattak and Karachi police chief Waseem Ahmed, of “patronising the land and drug mafias” that were responsible for the violence.

He also accused the two officers of misleading Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at a high-level meeting he chaired here Friday to study the situation in the wake of the violence that began late Wednesday between MQM workers and the minority Pashtun community.

This “misleading briefing”, Anwar said, had given an ethnic slant to the violence by revealing the linguistic identities of the victims instead of mentioning the involvement of the land and drug mafias.

“In today’s (Friday’s) briefing to the prime minister, both the city police chief and the Sindh IGP tried to hold the MQM responsible for the violence without mentioning the land and drug mafias,” Anwar said, adding the Karachi police chief had “also proposed a house-to-house search” in the city”.

“We believe that the (two police officers) are patronising the land and drug mafias and, therefore, they did not utter a single word against them,” Anwar maintained.

The MQM, which represents Karachi’s mohajir majority community, is Sindh’s second largest political party after the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that heads the provincial coalition. The Awami National Party (ANP), which represents the Pashtun community, is the third coalition partner.

At a press conference here, Gilani indicated that simmering differences between the three partners had contributed to the Karachi clashes.

“I will discuss situation in Karachi with the leadership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party besides the co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party,” Gilani said.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is the co-chair of the PPP with his son Bilawal.

“The three parties’ meetings must be held on a priority basis,” the prime minister maintained.

If the parties worked together, mischief mongers would not get a chance to pursue their divisive agenda, he contended.

The MQM’s Anwar had a different take on this.

“We want to make it clear to the government that it will have to eliminate the land and drug mafias if it wants peace in Karachi,” he maintained.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain lives in exile in London and often addresses his supporters on the phone, drawing crowds of hundreds whenever he does so.

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