Putting all speculations to rest that he was quitting Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Dr Farooq Sattar announced Tuesday that the party will now be “operated solely from Pakistan”.

Flanked by party activists at Karachi Press Club, the MQM leader said that he intended to hold a press conference yesterday (Monday) in order to present the stance of his party.

Dismissing any dictation regarding the possibility of directives, Dr Sattar said that he was addressing the press conference without set guidelines or outside influence.

The MQM leader further said that Monday’s situation developed in an unlikely and unexpected manner. He also denounced Altaf Hussain’s anti-Pakistan tirade and the subsequent attack on media houses.

“MQM’s manifesto clearly stresses the party members to work in line with the supreme constitution. The party is registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan,” said Dr Sattar.

“MQM policy follows the line of action and policy which strengthens position and promotes image of Pakistan. We do not believe in politics of aggressiveness.”

In wake of the prevailing situation, Dr Sattar said, MQM has decided to distance itself from anyone, be it a worker or the party chief, who speaks against Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity.

“No one will be allowed to exploit MQM’s platform for personal vendetta. The party represents Pakistan. MQM has delivered in the political system and represented the people.”

‘Altaf asks for forgiveness’

Dr Sattar claimed that Altaf Hussain had asked for forgiveness as he felt stressed and guilty about the situation.

“He (Altaf) sought patience as the way forward. He has been associated with politics for more than 30 years and the reason is depression which led to such remarks.”

‘Spirit of the message’

Dr Sattar claimed that anti-Pakistan tirades had come from MQM Haqeeqi as it wants to malign the Muttahida. He added that his party won’t allow MQM Haqeeqi to commit such actions in future. “There exists confusion to policies of political parties in Karachi.”

The MQM leader pointed out that “devil is in the detail” and asked media houses to understand the spirit of the message.

“MQM is a political process that provides representation of middle class and strengthens the common man where support is needed,” said Dr Sattar.

‘Govt should reconsider closure of MQM offices’

Dr Sattar said that talk shows and government documents that led to closure of MQM’s political offices should be reconsidered.

“To preserve peace, MQM has served most in the capacity for Karachi. We have zero tolerance policy for criminals and terrorists and will cooperate with the government on Karachi operation.”

The MQM leader said that reiteration of meaningful engagement will be evident in future through tracing of missing persons or extra-judicial killings through court cases.

Dr Sattar said that the issue of vice-chairman and chairman contesting for elections will be dealt through MQM’s plan for next political stage. He also expressed his confidence that Khairpur and Mirpurkhas will elect mayor from MQM.

ARY News attacked

The development comes after Altaf Hussain, the London-based MQM supremo, launched a barrage of anti-Pakistan tirade. According to local TV channels, Altaf in his Monday’s speech told protesters "to storm the offices of TV channels".

Violent protesters later stormed the office of ARY News in Karachi’s Saddar area. They also set a police mobile on fire. The incident claimed one live and injured five others.

Sattar arrested

Later in the day, Sindh Rangers arrested Dr Sattar and Khawaja Izharul Hassan when the two were about to hold a press conference in wake of the attack on ARY News office.

Major General Akbar said that the paramilitary force will examine camera footage to identify perpetrators of the attack. “We won’t let anyone sabotage law and order in Karachi,” said the Rangers chief.

The paramilitary force also arrested several other Muttahida activists, including Amir Liaquat, Amir Khan and Sajid Ahmed. Media reports say the arrested MQM activists will record their statements.

Nine Zero sealed

After arresting key Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders, including Dr Farooq Sattar and Amir Liaquat, Sindh Rangers sealed MQM stronghold Nine Zero after confiscating communication equipment.

According to local media reports, a heavy contingent of the paramilitary force arrested three party activists from Nine Zero. They also took control of the headquarters’ control room.