Thank you all for coming to attend this Press Conference. This press conference has been called to inform you, and through you the entire nation, about the decisions arrived at in the long meeting of the Co-ordination Committee in view of the autocratic and dictatorial actions of the Pakistan People’s Party.
What happened with the MQM in the past regimes of the PPP is not hidden from anyone but despite everything we not only accepted the mandate given to the PPP in the elections held in 2008 with open heart but also extended unconditional support to the PPP for strengthening democracy and for promoting peaceful atmosphere and brotherly relations in the province of Sindh. When the PPP leadership extended the hand of friendship towards us we reciprocated with full sincerity in the light of our moral values.
The PPP leadership made a number of promises at the time of entering into an alliance with the MQM but the promises were never fulfilled. The government persisted in breaching the promises made to the MQM. The ministers and advisors at the federal and provincial level did not have any real power and they were helpless in taking any action in the larger interest of the public. These issues were raised in the meetings of the core committee and even president Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani was kept informed about the situation but the situation remained unresolved.
This situation led to disenchantment in the minds of the MQM elected representatives on the one hand and generated a feeling of frustration among the party workers. The MQM nonetheless acted with patience despite frequent breaking of promises by the government and continued to support the government in every crisis only for strengthening democracy. We continued to point out to the PPP government the wrong actions and the defective policies and showed our opposition publicly.
Whether it was the issue of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) or the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) or any other mistaken action, we always expressed our principled stance because our alliance with the PPP was not motivated by personal gains. A time came when we chose to sit on the opposition benches first at the federal level and later at the provincial level because of the anti-people decision of the government. This resulted in a grave political crisis in the country and the government was changed into a minority government. At that time they pleaded with us in the name of the country and the democratic system. We once again believed in the promises being made to us and did not make this an issue of our ego. We drank the bitter draught for the sake of the country and democracy.
On the one hand was this conduct of the government and on the other hand a wave of targeted killings of our workers, office-bearers and elected representatives started. Gangs of hardened criminals were used against the MQM. More than 300 workers and office-bearers bearers of the MQM were killed in the regime of the present PPP government. This included the sitting member of Sindh Assembly Raza Haider as well. We were forced to carry the funerals of our workers and our localities were attacked by terrorists. Leaving aside the solution to the problems, the government did not even take steps to protect the life and property of the people. We continued to endure everything with utmost patience.
We had to face a barrage of criticism from our political adversaries, critics and the public along with mounting pressure from our workers and the public as to why was the MQM clinging to the power despite all the wrongs done by the PPP government. It was also said that the MQM could not survive without power. We faced these scathing criticisms with a heavy heart but continued to extend support to the government. The PPP government misconstrued it as a weakness on the part of the MQM and started using dictatorial tactics to deprive the MQM of its constitutional, legal and democratic rights.
When elections were announced for the legislative assembly of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, the PPP government that claims to follow a policy of reconciliation started bullying the MQM instead of extending the hand of reconciliation. Pressure was brought to bear upon the MQM from the government to withdraw from one seat reserved for Kashmiri migrants in Karachi, on which the MQM had gained success in the previous elections, in favour of PPP. We were told in unequivocal terms that if the MQM did not withdraw its candidate then the elections in Karachi would be postponed. When we refused to be swayed by the mounting government pressure and persistent threats, the government got the elections postponed barely 24 hours before the election on the pretext of security concerns. We had informed you in detail in our previous press conference about the oppressive and autocratic actions of the PPP government in order to keep the MQM out from the elections process in Azad Kashmir and to deprive the MQM of its democratic right. We reject the elections held yesterday in which the Kashmiri migrants were deprived of their right to vote just because of one seat.
The government first tried to bully us and now it has become even more tyrannical in its approach towards the MQM. The elections in Azad Jammu & Kashmir should have been a test for the MQM. Now that the PPP government has taken recourse to such autocratic and dictatorial actions just for even seat in the legislatively assembly, its conduct with the MQM in the general elections would be a foregone conclusion. Keeping in view the situation obtaining, opinion was taken from all the wings, zones, sectors, units and workers of the MQM. A consensus opinion emerged that the MQM should come out of the government.
All the members of the Co-ordination Committee, senators, and members of the national and provincial assemblies have reached a decision that keeping in view of the autocratic actions of the PPP government it has become impossible to continue with a government that has no qualms in taking oppressive and dictatorial actions against its own allied party. The MQM announces to separate from the present PPP government respecting the opinions of the workers and members of the public. We will sit on the opposition benches at the federal and provincial level. Likewise Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan will also resign from his office.
Power has never been the ambition of the MQM. We have always done politics based on principles. We are not struggling for personal gains or for the benefit of a few families. Our struggle is for the collective interests and the rights of the people by and large. We want to make it clear that we could not be bullied in the past and we will not be browbeaten even today. We did not surrender before the repressive powers in the past and we will keep our head high even today. Our peaceful struggle will continue despite all the heinous plots and autocratic actions.
We would also appeal to the political and religious leaders, human rights organizations, political analysts, intellectuals, journalists and writers who have faith in democracy to see for themselves as how the MQM is being made to bow down through repressive actions. We appeal to the workers and the public to maintain unity in their rank and file. We firmly believe in Almighty Allah. He is seeing everything and He is the best of Judges.
Thank you very much
MUTTAHIDA QUAMI MOVEMENT