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Sattar calls MQM odd man out: TFT

By Mahim Maher KARACHI: The MQM is the “odd man out” in Pakistani politics, said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement's MNA Dr Farooq Sattar in an interview with The Friday Times for its Friday, Sept 4, edition, on the Jinnahpur maps. The interview has been produced below: The Friday Times: When did you first hear of...

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 4, 2009 | Last Updated: 12 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 4, 2009 | Last Updated: 12 years ago

By Mahim Maher

KARACHI: The MQM is the “odd man out” in Pakistani politics, said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement's MNA Dr Farooq Sattar in an interview with The Friday Times for its Friday, Sept 4, edition, on the Jinnahpur maps. The interview has been produced below:

The Friday Times: When did you first hear of the Jinnahpur maps?

Dr Farooq Sattar: Brig. Asif Haroon delivered a press conference in Karachi. … And I think nobody remembers till today what venue he held that press conference [at]. It was Services Club. Some people say it was the Corps headquarters. But as far as I remember it was the Services Club… And I was in hiding then because the party had decided not to be present, to face this onslaught of the Haqiqi terrorists [… who were…] not at all conforming with the political requirement of the party. After this 19th June 1992 operation had gone underway …

TFT: The Jinnahpur maps – What was the party’s reaction then, and now, 17 years later?

FS: The party head office was run at that time by our women’s wing and our elders’ wing, because all the youth, all the workers were underground. Some of them had begun to gradually flee Pakistan.

TFT: Are you speaking of al Karam?

FS: Al Karam was actually our secretariat. The headquarters was Nine Zero, Altaf bhai’s home… The members of the central executive committee (CEC) were in contact with each other, with Altaf bhai also, and they had no choice but to simply [reject] the… and send a categorical denial, through a press release. That is [all] we could have done.

And the reason this Jinnahpur thing was brought … to the fore… we were being maligned anyway. There were all kinds of allegations, wild allegations… And the reason was … to justify the action and the crackdown …

TFT: But the ‘crackdown’ had started already…

FS: Already, and I think this was needed. They just felt that they were gradually losing…

TFT: They?

FS: They, meaning the… uh… unleashers of the operation, the army…

TFT: You’ll have to be specific.

FS: It was the army. Army. The military, ISI, FIT, JIT, field investigation team, joint investigation team. They all…

TFT: Would you comment on Maj. Nadeem Dar’s recent assertion [The News Aug 28, Friday] that he got the maps out of Nine Zero?

FS: Only Nine Zero was operative and functional and that too a few days after the [operation started] … So at Nine Zero, so I’m not… I don’t have any information… as far as my… I’m able to recollect my memories, there were hardly any raids at Nine Zero. Hardly any raids at Nine Zero.

TFT: But Major Dar said he raided it; if your office is raided, you would surely know.

FS: It’s a naked lie! And when a thing which was never in existence… How could Nadeem Dar or anyone for that matter could have found such kind of material? And had it been the case… then why a case of… sedition… or high treason was not registered against … Altaf Hussain, or for that matter, the members of the central… it’s not a small allegation. It’s a very big allegation…

TFT: Is the timing of Brig. Imtiaz’s statements a conspiracy to isolate the PML-N?

FS: I think the best reason can be had from this gentleman [Brig. Imtiaz].

TFT: I’m asking for how you interpret the situation.

FS: I think, for me, who was waiting for a long, long time that the truth, when the truth is going to prevail. I’m actually on the receiving end of this…

TFT: But I’m asking you about the timing? Do you think there is a conspiracy?

FS: …I think the times have changed and … in particular since the 18th Feb 2008 elections, a wider belief in the political fraternity that the army and the ISI … and the COAS have kept themselves at a distance from the political decision-making. … So I hardly find … that it was out of design that somebody is targeting the PML-N.

TFT: So Brig. Imtiaz just got up one day…

FS: And if it is some kind of ex-servicemen’s society… by president Pervez Musharraf, his full or half martial law, and the ex-servicemen can just go on a maligning spree … against Musharraf, so then all kinds of ex-servicemen at some point in time, whatever they choose, they can also appear…

TFT: Why do you think the operation was started?

FS: Because the MQM was becoming very popular…

TFT: Who was the primary force behind this?

FS: The way that the operation was accepted by the political fraternity in Pakistan… their blessing, their tacit support… I’d say the feudals, why would I say the PPP? The feudals were backing it.

TFT: It was the PML-N and PPP?

FS: Because Altaf bhai had on 3rd March, in his first appearance in Lahore, he mesmerized the audience, which was a PML-N crowd. … and Altaf bhai then took us into confidence while we were just leaving and he said, ‘I don’t see that I’ll be for a long, long time allowed to make a speech in Lahore.’

…Then gradually, since the involvement of the ISI in Pakistan’s politics wasn’t a secret, so if any good advice would come from… uh… the people working with the ISI or the people working with the army, so Altaf bhai and the CEC would not mind considering it. For a good suggestion, he would listen to it. But I think there was pressure after Jam Sadiq Ali was in his last days, he was breathing his last, and the question of succession was looming.

I think that they, it was also an issue that Jatoi saheb’s… they were supporting Murtaza Jatoi? Some Jatoi’s son? Mustafa Jatoi? He should be a consensus candidate for the CM’s slot. The ISI would manipulate…

TFT: There were two MQM groups, from 1991 to 1992, they were fighting, there were hundreds of bodies. They said the law and order had deteriorated.

FS: The … Haqiqi… had actually begun to show their very notorious presence in the party by killing some of the workers by treating them brutally, ruthlessly, subjecting them to torture. So they actually tried to infiltrate [instill] this violence in the party and … this actually became visible in the party after 1990.

TFT: So, these criminal elements were part of the party.

FS: They were part of the party and… they began to take things into their own hands and run the party in their own manner… So when they were thrown out of the party. The reaction they actually then faced… I’m not saying that there was nothing of that sort there… Then it was not a party policy.

TFT: You were the mayor at that time.

FS: I was the mayor; I was the second line leader [in the party]. I was not the frontline leader. That was the CEC.

TFT: So you were the mayor and there were all these killings…

FS: There is always a moral responsibility. That is why they were thrown out of the party.

TFT: But the killings wouldn’t stop…

FS: They would not stop the killing. I’m not saying they were killing people very regularly. Yes, there were people who were killed. But they were mostly, a lot of workers, just fell victim of their… this abusive policy… So then inquiries were held and they were found responsible… And as soon as they were thrown out of the party they were picked up by the army and the ISI. And this began to happen in the mid-90s. […]

TFT: On June 19, 1992 Altaf and Nawaz met

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