Monday, September 12, 2011

MQM seeked US help against Pashtuns & Punjabis : US Cable

The Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) asked the United States for help against the Pashtuns and the Punjabis, claimed an April 2009 US Embassy Wire, released by Wikileaks.

The wire, headlined "MQM Principles and Conspiracy", covers a meeting of US Embassy Charge d'Affairs Gerald Feierstein with Senior MQM Leaders Farooq Sattar and Haider
Abbas Rizvi. 

According to the wire, Haider Abbas Rizvi claimed Taliban maintain safe houses and weapon stashes in Pashtun neighborhoods. Glossing over his own party's reputation for political retribution.

Moreover, Rizvi claimed Muhajirs were outgunned by the Pashtun.

As usual Farooq Sattar and Haider Abbas Rizvi asserted the conspiracy of Pakistan's establishment stoking ethnic rivalry, designed to keep Punjabis in power. The Charged d'Affairs met with Sattar and Rizvi to discuss their party's stance against the recently signed Nizam-e-Adl Regulation, their ideas for a GOP (Government of Pakistan) response and the potential for violence in the mega-city their party controls.

Sattar said he had predicted the failure of dialogue with the frontier militants and advocated a strong military response. He asserted that, though part of the ruling coalition, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had not confided any counter-terrorism strategic plans and surprised MQM (and apparently PPP members too) with an April 13 Parliamentary Resolution, endorsing the regulations. He suggested that all major political parties approach the Army to request immediate action against the Taliban.

Rizvi complained that fellow coalition partner Awami National Party (ANP) was fanning Pashtun ethno-nationalism in Karachi, and still moving forward with plans for a controversial May 12 Commemoration of 2007 Intra-Party Violence.

Farooq Sattar requested Embassy intervention to get the ANP to call off the day's events. He was seized with the national-level extremist threat precipitated by Parliament's endorsement and President Zardari's signing of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation on April 13.

Turning to the security threats within the mega city his party controls, Sattar complained about the ANP's planned demonstration on May 12, marking the Second Anniversary of Inter-Party Violence. The Pashtun-based ANP was fanning ethnic tensions for electoral gains, he argued and repeated Kamal's request for Embassy's intervention with the ANP to cancel the event.

Although the May 12 ANP demonstration was called off subsequently, the violent outburst on April 29 serves as an unneeded reminder of the potential for these ethnic tensions to boil over quickly. "Despite their claims of innocence, we expect the MQM, with its own violent history, is prepared for that possibility.

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