Hundreds of MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) supporters, including men, women, children and the elderly, were arrested by Pakistani Rangers and other Pakistani security forces from the Azizabad ground in Karachi on December 9. Every year Mohajirs commemorate December 9 at Martyr’s day in remembrance of Sindhi and Mohajirs who were martyred at the hands of Pakistani security forces. This year also, thousands of MQM cadre, had converged at the Azizabad ground in Karachi for Quranic recitals when they were arrested and beaten up by the Pakistani security forces.
Over the last few days, the Pakistani regime had been desperately trying to stop this MQM congregation. On the night of December 4/5 a heavy contingent of Pakistani Rangers had stormed MQM founder Altaf Hussain’s compound Nine Zero and demolished the walls of Lal Qila Ground with the help of heavy machinery and also damaged the Khurshid Memorial Center at Azizabad in Karachi. It was here that the MQM had planned to commemorate the Martyr’s Day on December 9. However, the demolition drive failed to dampen the spirits of MQM cadre who nevertheless gathered in huge numbers at Azizabad, Karachi on December 9 to offer Fatiha (prayers) to Sindh’s martyrs. Such huge congregation sent shivers down the spines of Rawalpindi generals who issued prompt orders to arrest MQM cadre.
Pakistan is a rogue state where Taliban and Islamic extremists enjoy full freedom but the common people are subject to violence at the hands of Pakistani Rangers and other security forces, said Tariq Jawaid, Convener of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in his video briefing after the arrests.
“Pakistan is not a fortress of Islam but a tyranny where Taliban and banned religious organizations of extremists enjoy freedom but MQM workers mothers, sisters, elders and children of martyrs are not permitted to recite Fatiha on the monuments of Martyrs and their graves,” explained Tariq Jawaid. He made these remarks while addressing a video briefing at the MQM International Secretariat in London on Thursday night. All members of MQM’s Central Coordination Committee were also present at this video briefing.
Over the last several years MQM had been observing December 9 as the Martyrs’ Day. “On this occasion there’s Qur’an recitation and Fatiha is read in reverence of our martyrs and flowers are showered on their graves. In this regard, the Central Coordination Committee of the MQM had announced that this year too the Martyrs’ Day would be observed on Thursday, December 9 with devotion and respect. All those who wished to visit the Martyr’s memorial at Jinnah Ground at Azizabad in Karachi were requested to pay respect to the Martyrs’ graves with flowers but the Pakistani Rangers, police and government agencies launched a series of raids and arrests in Karachi and Hyderabad, a day before of Martyrs’ Day just to stop Fatiha Khawani.”
Apparently the Pakistani regime had clear instructions from Rawalpindi to stop this congregation and since Thursday morning the entire area of Azizabad was sealed off. All roads, lanes and paths leading to the Jinnah Ground in Karachi were closed with vehicles and barricades. Heavy contingents of Pakistani Rangers and police were deployed at various places. No one was allowed to approach Karachi’s Jinnah Ground.
When the relatives of Martyrs, their mothers, sisters, elders and youngsters tried to peacefully approach the Martyrs’ memorial to offer flowers on the memorial of their loved ones the Pakistani Rangers and police attacked them. Pakistani forces snatched flowers and wreath from their hands, threw them on the ground and started beating women, elders and youth. They also took away their mobile phones, vehicles, their papers and all of their belongings.
Tariq Jawaid said that the Pakistani Rangers and police personnel took away the Holy Quran from the hands of mothers and sisters and desecrated the Holy Quran. The Pakistani forces grabbed women by their hair to prevent them from going to the memorial. “Women were dragged, their scarfs pulled, and they were brutally beaten with sticks and canes. The male Pakistani Rangers then started frisking through the clothes of our mothers and sisters, lifted their veil and beat them up.”
Jawaid urged the United Nations, international human rights organisations and other democratic countries to immediately take note of these state-sponsored atrocities in Pakistan. “Oppression and barbarism should be stopped and all those innocent people who have been arrested must be released immediately.” He added that at present nothing was known about the whereabouts and well being of all these arrested persons.
“What kind of a country is Pakistan where government and army make agreements with banned jihadis and militant organizations who are involved in terrorism, bombings, suicide attacks and are brutal and savage beasts who dismember the bodies of innocent people. They make them wear garland of flowers but those who recite Fatiha in a peaceful manner for the Martyrs of Sindh are subjected to barbaric atrocities. Is it not cruelty?” asked Tariq Jawaid.
Tariq Jawaid said that MQM salutes all the mothers, sisters, elders, youth and children who came to the memorial to pay homage to their Martyrs despite all the atrocities, coercion, obstructions and arrests. He was grateful to all those who came from Hyderabad, Sukkur, Umerkot and other areas of Sindh to pay homage to the Martyrs of the movement.