Altaf warns against Talibanisation of Karachi

August 4th, 2008 - 3:22 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban

Karachi, Aug 4 (IANS) Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain has cautioned the residents of this bustling Pakistani commercial capital against attempts to Talibanise the metropolis and urged the president and the prime minister to take corrective measures to prevent this. “The people of Sindh will never allow Karachi to become a Taliban-controlled city,” he declared Sunday while addressing party workers here on the telephone from London, where he lives in exile.

A large number of MQM workers, including women, attended the meeting, at which Hussain’s address was relayed via a network of loudspeakers.

“He cited various instances which he said indicated that jihadi elements were trying to enforce Taliban-style gun-imposed Sharia in the city,” Dawn reported Monday.

Hussain specifically expressed concern over activities of Umme Hassan, wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid, who had addressed jihadi elements during a visit here to ostensibly distribute certificates at a few madrassas.

Established in 1965, the Lal Masjid had, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan 1979-1989, played a major role in recruiting and training mujahideen to fight with the Afghan mujahideen.

After its founder Maulana Mohammad Abdullah was assassinated in 1998, his sons Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi took over the mosque, turning it into a centre for hardline Sunni Deobandi teaching and open opposition to the government.

On July 3, 2007, a standoff between the students barricaded inside the mosque and Pakistani security forces saw the mosque being stormed in bloody gun battles that left over 20 people dead and scores of others injured.

Hussain also spoke of the activities of the Taliban in Karachi’s Nazimabad, Gulbahar, Shah Faisal Colony and Liaquatabad neighbourhoods and named a few individuals who he alleged were behind the conspiracy to Talibanise the city.

“They are not locals, but have connections with Haqiqi terrorists,” he maintained.

The reference was to the splinter Haqiqi Mohajir Quami Movement (MQM-H) that broke away in June 1992 following disagreements between Hussain and the MQM’s two prominent militant leaders Afaq Ahmed and Aamir Khan. Haqiqi in Urdu means real or authentic.

According to Hussain, the people of Karachi would strongly resist the imposition of the Taliban’s gun-point Sharia.

“People attending the meeting replied in negative when the MQM chief asked whether they would accept Talibanisation in the city. Raising slogans, they said they were not afraid of the Taliban and were ready to confront them,” Dawn said.

“Were we not practising Islam before Al Qaeda and Taliban’s arrival? What kind of Muslims do they (jihadis) want to make us?” Hussain asked.

He also appealed to the international community and national and international human rights organisations to come forward to help save the unarmed people of the city.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in South Asia |