Taliban giving Islam, Pakistan a bad name: MQM leader

October 12th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanJohannesburg, Oct 12 (IANS) The Taliban and Al Qaeda are giving Islam and Pakistan “a bad name” and the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) does not want “mullahs or religious clerics ruling Pakistan”, says its exiled chief Altaf Hussain.”MQM rejects terrorism and believes in tolerance, thus we want to provide all the people of Pakistan - Muslim, Hindu, Christian or Sikh - with equal rights, and eliminate all sorts of discrimination and victimisation,” Hussain said in a live telephonic address to the over 2,000 people who joined the MQM’s South African chapter to celebrate his 55th birthday.

“We reject all forms of terrorism; the Taliban are giving Islam and Pakistan a bad name. We don’t want mullahs or religious clerics ruling Pakistan,” the MQM founder who is exiled in London said.

Sayed Haider Abbas Zaidi, MQM deputy party leader in the National Assembly, also addressed the gathering on the occasion and said that the law and order situation in Pakistan is disturbing, especially with the rise in suicide bombings - a hitherto unknown phenomenon in the country.

He also called on their membership to mobilise the struggle against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

“Al Qaeda and Taliban never belonged to Pakistan, and the government is trying its best to stop these people entering from Afghanistan, but the difficult terrain and porous borders makes this a difficult but not impossible task,” Zaidi said.

He said that Pakistani authorities were following a three-pronged approach to tackle this problem - negotiation with those willing to lay down arms, using might against those who refuse to do so; and improving socio-economic conditions in the northern areas of Pakistan.

“We are also trying to enter into dialogue with the government of Afghanistan to prevent rogue elements from entering through the border,” Zaidi added.

Hussain thanked the African National Congress (ANC) and its leader Nelson Mandela in particular for having provided refuge in South Africa to MQM members when they were being persecuted in the 1990s in their home country.

South African MQM members later pledged to rally to the call by both the leaders to remit money back home to help stabilise the economy of Pakistan, which was also feeling the crunch in the current global economic crisis.

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