Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Babar Ghauri has claimed that the decision to launch an operation against the Karachi-based party was taken before the infamous Aug 22 speech of its supreme leader Altaf Hussain that resulted in a crackdown on the political party.

On Aug 22, 2016, Altaf Hussain delivered a fiery speech while addressing his party workers. He had allegedly chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and incited the workers to vandalise media offices in Karachi. After the speech, the state took action against the MQM and shut down its offices besides arresting its workers. The MQM also split into MQM-P and MQM-L.

According to Ghauri, 22 August was an “excuse” to target the MQM, calling the operation “pre-planned”. He talked about an alleged meeting between MQM leaders, including Farooq Sattar, Ishratul Ibad, and Rangers DG Rizwan Akhtar.

“During the meeting that took place before Aug 22, Rizwan Akhtar told us it was time for closure,” he said, admitting that some mistakes were made by the MQM that resulted in the operation. The MQM leader said it’s been a long time so it’s time to move on.

He said other political leaders have also made similar statements as made by the MQM supreme leader in 2016, saying it can be ignored.

Ghauri also talked about the entry of the MQM into the mainstream during the regime of former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. He said Musharraf didn’t like the MQM at the outset, but the general eventually agreed to give the political party a chance after his general, Ehsan, met Altaf in London.

“The meeting lasted for five minutes, wherein both sides admitted that mistakes were made from both sides,” the MQM leader said, adding that as a result of this reconciliation, the MQM that was not liked by anyone in Pakistan became mainstream and played its role for the betterment of Pakistan.


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