The Awami National Party’s (ANP) social and political philosophy is rooted in
non violence, peaceful co-existence and democracy under a humanitarian umbrella.
In the mid 1980s, the ANP’s leader Khan Abdul Wali Khan, had elaborated the
party’s position in Karachi as follows:
“The interests of Pakhtuns and Muhajirs are not at odds with one another in the
city, in fact, both need each other and hence there is no cause for any friction
between the two ethnic groups. The Pakhtuns are in Karachi for work and labour
not for threatening the existence of the native Sindhis and/or other settlers
including the Muhajirs.”
It is this position that the present day ANP consistently upholds and strives
that all stakeholders in Karachi are acknowledged and accepted. Pakistanis of
all ethnicities converge in the port city of Karachi to share the economic and
job opportunities as their basic human rights. The city belongs to everyone and
it cannot be seized by any one ethnic group through sheer brute force. The party
is opposed to any zero-sum games and believes that peace in the city is possible
only if all residents especially those who are oppressed and marginalized have
due political representation and equitable share in the decision making, local
governance, employment and education etc.

The party is therefore, perturbed by the continued violence and loss of human
life and livelihoods in Karachi. Targeted killings, kidnappings, threats and
extortions have become the order of the day. The rise of the Muhajir Qaumi
Movement in the mid eighties ostensibly as a political party and the present
Altaf Hussain led Mutahidda Quami Movement (MQM-A), introduced the culture of
violence by making highly trained and armed militant mafia as an integral wing
of the party to establish its hegemony in the city. The party is particularly
concerned that a perception is being created by some vested interests that the
unrelenting targeted killing of innocent citizens and heinous crimes in the city
are because of political turf war between ANP and MQM. The Party rejects this
perception and maintains that the ongoing violence is largely because of a
denial of the changing demographic realities and a reign of terror unleashed by
MQM to impose its political strength and hold the city hostage. This has not
only resulted in social, economic and political inequalities and oppression of
the other ethnic groups living in the city but is providing a breeding ground
for criminals and mafias to operate with impunity.
As opposed to this, following in the footsteps of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Bacha
Khan, the ANP’s motto has been “Live and let live” and has accepted the rights
and equitable share of all ethnicities including the Muhajirs who have made the
city their home. Statistic show that the Pakhtuns, who migrated to Karachi in
search of livelihood even before Pakistan’s creation and in the past few decades
mainly because of the ongoing war on the western borders, have been particularly
targeted in the ongoing wave of violence in the city and their livelihoods
threatened to push them out of the city. The MQM-A’s main desire to unilaterally
control Karachi was, indeed, realized under the Musharraf’s dictatorship. The
controversial local government “Nazim” system vested Altaf Hussain with
unbridled power as an unquestioned authoritarian ruler of Karachi. Under their
former so called Haqparast Nazim, Mustafa Kamal, the party grabbed public land
to benefit party workers. It controlled the police to subjugate the Pakhtuns and
others who did not subscribe to his party. It controlled civic amenities with
discrimination. It helped them to gerrymander constituencies to help serve their
election purposes and as a result deprive the Pakhtuns and other ethnic groups
of their real representation in the local government and Provincial Assembly. On
the other hand, the continued hold on the Federal Shipping and Port Ministry
helped the MQM-A among others to smuggle large containers of weapons and
ammunitions to arm its militants.
The changing demographic trends due to the economic migrations can no longer be
ignored and need fundamental changes in the policy and governance structures.
The over 5 million Pakhtun population makes Karachi the largest Pakhtun city yet
they continue to be denied their rightful share in social, political and
economic representation. They are intimidated and targeted indiscriminately as
their sheer numbers are viewed as an existential threat to the MQM-A’s
domination.
There is sufficient evidence that MQM-A is a fascist group with a well trained
and armed militant wing. This finds credence in the recent charges levelled
under oath by a responsible senior former member of the Sindh Cabinet and a
member of the lead political party, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Dr.
Zulfiqar Mirza, that the MQM-A’s operations in the Province and the country are
largely criminal with the main objectives of destabilizing and breaking the
country. He revealed in a press conference that MQM-A’s chief, who has assumed
British nationality, wrote a letter to the then British Prime Minister Mr. Tony
Blair, in which the former expressed his party’s willingness and capacity to
assist major powers in intelligence gathering in Pakistan through its party
workers including dismantling the ISI, and, in return receive certain political
favours including greater and disproportionate share in power at the Federal and
Provincial level. Dr. Mirza has also alleged that the MQM-A foreign chief Altaf
Hussain also declared in a meeting that he cannot stop eliminating the Pakhtuns
living in Karachi.
Further, he alleged that in collusion with the powerful elements outside the
country MQM-A is actively engaged in destabilizing and undermining the
sovereignty of country through its active gangs of criminals with links with
most wanted criminals in other parts of the world. The party has a formal
conscription for criminals to the rank and file and fundraising through
extortion, drugs smuggling, land mafia and other criminal activities. There is
credible evidence that officials of the Command and Control Centre established
by the all powerful former MQM-A Nazim of Karachi is aiding target killers and
terrorists in their activities. According to one account the MQM-A criminal gang
members, trained and armed with the most sophisticated weapons, is far beyond
the total strength of the police and other security agencies deployed the in
Karachi. This position has been corroborated by several official reports on the
brutal targeted killings in the city that have come to light in the recent
years. For the first time all the security agencies in Karachi have collectively
pinpointed the problems and have admitted that as many as 83 police officers
involved in earlier operations against MQM-A have been eliminated in targeted
killings sending a clear message that that would be the fate of law enforcing
agencies and witnesses if they take any action against criminals working under
the MQM’s protection.
The ANP believes the May 12, 2007 carnage was a turning point, in which citizens
protesting the illegal removal of the Chief Justice of Pakistan by a military
dictator came out to receive him and the MQM-A which was in full control of the
city exercised all powers to prevent the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s visit by
putting huge containers to block main roads and opened fire killing and injuring
scores of innocent protestors. TV footage is available of the day showing MQM-A
attackers on rampage. This was MQM-A’s demonstration of its criminal power in
the city with the full backing of the then military dictator General Pervez
Musharraf. The ANP had repeatedly called for an independent judicial commission
on May 12, 2007 incident and has welcomed the long overdue suo moto action by
the Chief Justice Pakistan after more than 5000 innocent lives were lost in the
city since 2008 and has joined others in assisting the Supreme Court in the case
through its lawyers to ensure that criminals are brought to book and peace in
the city is restored. The ANP calls for making Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza a part of the
Supreme Court’s suo moto proceedings in the interest of justice and supreme
national interests.
The MQM-A has a long association with violence and its chief has repeatedly made
televised speeches from London inciting violence, to the extent of asking party
workers to sell their TVs and buy guns. Speaking during one of the SC’s suo moto
hearings on Karachi’s targeted killing, the Supreme Court Bar Association
President and a renowned Human Rights activist, Ms. Asma Jahangir stated that
the Joint Investigation Team reports showed that the MQM-A had machinery through
which it carried out acts of violence in the city. UNHCR declared MQM as a
terrorist organization in 2008, followed by the US State Department, Amnesty
International and others accusing it to be involved in the widespread political
violence in the port city of Karachi in the mid 1990s. In July 2007, a Canadian
federal court ordered deportation of the MQM-A party chief in Canada for the
party’s engagement in terrorist and criminal activities. His appeal was rejected
by the court.
Considering the above, the ANP will have serious reservations if in any
eventuality the PPP agrees to take MQM-A back into the coalition in the Centre
and the Provincial governments. The ANP reiterates the following points to
evolve lasting peace and trust among all stakeholders:
1. That political parties accept the existence and acknowledge the ground
reality of rightful existence of all ethnic groups and ensure their equitable
share in decision making, local governance, employment and education etc.;
2. That all stakeholders are taken on board for any significant steps taken for
peace, mutual co-existence and development in the city;
3. That transparent and credible census be conducted;
4. That the ordinance for the revival of the 2001 local government system in
Karachi is withdrawn and alternatively, the old Commissionerate system be
restored. This will have an enabling effect for all the ethnic groups in sharing
urban amenities, safeguarding their personal lives and properties and duly
enfranchise them in decentralized and autonomous electoral colleges;
5. That all previous employments under the MQM-A Nazim in the police must be
re-examined and thoroughly screened. The police must be purged of criminals who
were recruited by the MQM-A to serve their own party purposes and for ethnic
cleansing. That the new recruitments must be on merit and should include all
ethnic groups living in Karachi;
6. That the ANP is of the firm view that Karachi needs indiscriminate de-weaponization
without which purposeful peace in the city cannot be maintained. This goal can
only be achieved through uninterrupted, even handed and across the board
operations against criminals and mafias without political interference. The ANP,
in the interest of lasting peace, has repeatedly offered that the operation
should be started from its political stronghold in the city;
7. That it is imperative that the MQM-A publically revoke violence, de-weaponize
and disband its militant wing. Its chief Altaf Hussain, other active members
accused of criminal acts and treason must be brought to justice in the court of
law;
8. That in the interest of justice and supreme national interests the serious
charges levelled against MQM-A by Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza, former Provincial Minister
and a member of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party should be made part of the Supreme
Court’s suo moto proceedings on targeted killing in Karachi;
9. That the matter should be taken up with the British government to officially
verity the letter allegedly written by the MQM-A chief Altaf Hussain to the
British Prime Minister Tony Blair in which the former expressed his party’s
willingness and capacity to assist major powers in intelligence gathering in
Pakistan through its party workers including dismantling the ISI, and, in return
receive certain political favours including greater and disproportionate share
in power at the Federal and Provincial level;
10. ANP is a firm believer of freedom of information and independence of media.
That the journalists in the city should be able to work without fear or
intimidation. The government should take note of the threats to the journalists
by MQM-A and take steps to provide them necessary security.

September, 2011