It was after settling its core issues with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) behind the scenes that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) arranged a rally in support of President Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi on Sunday.
The sources claimed that all issues were settled two days ago in a meeting between Interior Minister Rehman Malik and MQM chief Altaf Hussain, where after reaching a conclusion Malik gave the title of ‘Muhafiz-e-Jamhooriyat’ (defender of democracy) to the MQM chief. The source said further that Hussain had demanded an immediate end to the targeted and surgical operation launched by Rangers and police in Karachi.
He demanded that at least for the three days of Eid holidays, activities of the law enforcement agencies must be stopped. He also demanded the release of his party’s four hardcore workers and the permission to collect hides on Eid. The workers whose release was demanded are Aga Zakir Hussain recently arrested by Rangers, alleged assassin Ishtiaq Ahmed alias ‘Policewala’ under arrest for several murder cases, Adeel Ahmed who is also in police custody for various heinous crimes, and Arshad alias ‘Gunshot’.
Malik told Hussain that he was unable to free the workers but promised that no joint investigation team would be constituted to interrogate the workers and their cases would be sent to regular courts instead of the anti-terrorism courts. The source said that in days following the rally in favour of President Zardari, activities of the recently launched operation against miscreants and assassins would gradually stop and permission for hide collection would be granted to the MQM.
When contacted, an MQM representative refuted the claim and said his party did not believe in secret deals and made decisions in the interest of the country. “The MQM does not believe in using violence to achieve its ends and its doors are open to all political parties for dialogue. But it does not believe in making secret pacts,” he said.