Musharraf asked to resign

ISLAMABAD, May 12: Condemning what they called the worst form of state terrorism unleashed in Karachi, opposition leaders on Saturday demanded an immediate resignation by President Pervez Musharraf.

In their separate statements, former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chief Nawaz Sharif, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal president Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan said that ‘terrorism’ in Karachi was pre-planned and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had been given a freehand to kill innocent people, destroy peace and attack media organisations and journalists in Karachi.

Ms Bhutto condemned what she described as “the civil war-like conditions created by the ruling party in Karachi”.

In a statement issued here, Ms Bhutto claimed that 14 of those killed during violence in the city on Saturday were workers of the Pakistan People’s Party.

“The sight of the sons of Pakistan bleeding to death on the street of Karachi is a shocking insight into the cruelty of the present regime,” she said.

She called upon the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the incident. She demanded registration of cases against the law-enforcement agencies personnel and Muttahida Qaumi Movement members involved in the violence, their arrest and prosecution.

Speaking at a hurriedly called press conference in London, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that the real face of dictatorship had been exposed.

Mr Sharif said workers of the PML-N along with those of other parties had suffered fatal casualties and many of them were seriously injured.

“But the sacrifices of these people will not go waste,” he added.

The PML-N chief said the Chief Justice of Pakistan had been detained once again and this time by the Sindh government on the orders of Gen Musharraf.

“They even tried to abduct him in a helicopter. Lawyers were stopped by armed gangs from reaching the Sindh High Court. Some women lawyers were treated in a most shameful manner,” he alleged.


He said Gen Musharraf on Saturday had made a dangerous attempt to divide the people of Pakistan.

“I vehemently condemn all these acts of state terrorism,” He added.

According to Mr Sharif, the most heartening outcome of the events in Karachi had been the utter refusal by the patriotic people of the city to side with dictatorship and gangsterism.

He said all sober and patriotic members of the MQM stayed away from the state-sponsored rally, which consisted of only a few hundred people and was a total flop.

“I want to salute these patriotic people of Karachi and Sindh on behalf of all Pakistan for sending a clear message that they will not side with dictatorship but with the constitution,” he declared.

Describing the current struggle as a movement, he said it would only gain momentum and the people would not rest till there was rule of law and democracy in Pakistan.

General Musharraf, he said, had used the institution of the army to fulfil his ‘fascist ambitions’ and “now there is real danger that people could turn against the army and this must be avoided at all costs”.

He said the entire world had witnessed the true face of dictatorship in Pakistan. If allowed to continue it would completely destroy Pakistan and destabilise the region.

Qazi Hussain said: “We condemn the provincial government’s direct involvement in disturbing the law and order situation in Karachi.”

He said that no military general would be allowed to take over from Gen Musharraf to start another reign of terrorising the nation.

Imran Khan said that the MQM was an ethnic party which was involved in terrorist activities. He said that Gen Musharraf had become the security risk for the country. “Time has come that Gen Musharraf and the military should quit.”

He said that TV channels in their live transmission had clearly shown the activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement firing and beating lawyers and the general public who were there to welcome Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

Chaudhry Nisar said the government had lost its credibility and the law and order situation in the country demanded Gen Musharraf and his government to step down immediately.

In Karachi, Naheed Khan, political-secretary to Benazir Bhutto, claimed that Muttahida Qaumi Movement ‘terrorists’ fired on her procession near Aysha Bawani College. According to her, the terrorists taking position on roofs of a college and Sea Breeze Plaza resorted to indiscriminate firing on the procession.

She said that gates of the Saddar police station were locked from inside and shots were fired on the procession from the police station, where MQM ‘terrorists’ had taken shelter.

She said dozens of teargas shells were fired from the roof of the police station, leaving scores of workers, including women, unconscious.

She said more than 200 People’s Party workers had been trapped beneath the Baloch Colony bridge and held hostage by the MQM activists.

MMA leader Liaquat Baloch said that politics of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement were based on violence and bloodshed. He said the MQM was a coalition partner of the ruling party and its decision to take out the rally was an attempt to create turmoil and anarchy in the country.

Mr Baloch said the government was trying to create an environment to impose emergency in the country, adding that people of the country were united to against the dictatorship.