Coming to the defence of Pervez Musharraf, Mutthaida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has said the embattled former Pakistani military ruler was being targeted because he is 'Muhajir' (a refugee from India).
"What are you doing to Musharraf, a Muhajir?...Punish Musharraf if you want, but also imprison those who acted upon the martial law orders on ground...Why are others being excused?" he said while addressing a gathering of his followers in Hyderabad in Sindh province yesterday.
"(Former army chief Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani, ex-Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges are also part and parcel of extra-judicial acts," he claimed.
Hussain, who stays in London but regularly addresses MQM workers on phone, is himself a Muhajir. The family of 70-year-old Musharraf, who is facing trial for treason for imposing emergency in 2007, migrated to Pakistan from Delhi.
Musharraf is the first general to be put on trial for treason. If convicted, he could get life imprisonment or the death penalty. Hussain also demanded a separate province for Urdu- speaking Muhajirs who migrated during Partition in 1947. "If you do not like Urdu-speaking Sindhis, make a separate province for them," he said.
He further said the demand for a separate province might turn into a demand for a separate country if the concerns of the Urdu-speaking people were not addressed in time. Hussain lashed out at the PPP government in Sindh and demanded an immediate solution to the problems of the Mujahirs. He said the Urdu-speaking people knew "how to cross rivers of blood".
"It was experienced well by our ancestors and we, being their children, know how to take what's ours," he said.
"We neither came to Pakistan to become slaves, nor are we here to become masters, we merely want to become equal citizens."