Saturday, July 17, 2010

Where PPP, PML-N and MQM Stood on Jinnahpur in 1992??

awami national party, ajmal khattak, muhajir, mohajir, bahari, 
jamat-e-islami, chaudhry nisar ali, benazir bhutto, ppp, pakistan 
people's party, altaf hussain, altaf hussein, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, 
mqm, nawaz sharif, nawaz shareef, pakistan muslim league, pml-n, 
chaudhry shujat hussain, june 16, 1992, military operation, jinnahpur, 
jinnah-pur, map, sindhu-desh, urdu-desh, waterloo, azhar sohail, Shaheen
 Sehbai, Nusrat Javed, nawa-e-waqt
ISLAMABAD: If history has any relevance in our politics then the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) so closely allied today — were daggers drawn over the Jinnahpur conspiracy in 1992 and the PPP was accusing the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of cover-up while the then-Nawaz Sharif government was pleading complete innocence.
Reports carried by leading newspapers on the issue during 1992 show the Nawaz-led IJI government had completely denied the existence of Jinnahpur conspiracy but the PPP-led PDA (Pakistan Democratic Alliance) opposition charged the government of covering up the MQM’s conspiracy.
However, the Jamaat-e-Islami, a coalition partner in the government, once moved an adjournment motion in the National Assembly to discuss the Jinnahpur conspiracy. It was no less than opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, who had accused the Nawaz regime of trying to cover up the conspiracy of the MQM which, according to her, wanted to make a separate homeland with the support of India. The incumbent President, Asif Ali Zardari, had also demanded action against Jinnahpur planners.
Today though the MQM targets the PML-N for the Jinnahpur conspiracy, during those times MQM Chief Altaf Hussain was even found hailing the Nawaz government for exposing Jinnahpur. Altaf Hussain also demanded a probe into the matter by the Supreme Court.
Similarly, the PML-N, which today passes the buck on the Army and intelligence agencies to have created the Jinnahpur drama, during those days insisted that the plot was a figment of imagination of the PPP. The then-interior minister Chaudhry Shujaat was also reported to have said the Army used to operate as per the directive of the government.
In order to have a true sense of the political divide of those times and the position of different political parties on the issue of Jinnahpur, briefs of statements and reports of newspapers of different political leaders and analysts on the issue are reproduced here.
Jang Karachi quoted Benazir Bhutto on July 6, 1992 as saying if Beharis are settled in Sindh it would pave the way for Jinnahpur and Sindhudesh. She said Sindh had proved to be waterloo for the past rulers and it may also become the same for Nawaz Sharif.
July 18, 1992 Jang Karachi reported Brigadier Haroon, the Army spokesman, as saying in a press briefing that the MQM had planned a separate homeland. The News of July 17 quoted him as saying there were confirmed intelligence reports, revealing the MQM plans. The map of the planned country was also discovered during the operation, he claimed.
On Oct 11, 1992 Jang Lahore ran a story filed by its reporter Azhar Sohail which talked of the Army high command providing documentary evidence to the government that the MQM was planning to create an independent state called Jinnahpur comprising Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Karachi and all those areas of upper Sindh that are oil rich.
The report said the corps commander meeting in a recent meeting discussed the issue and decided to provide all the material to the government. Politician Meraj Muhammad Khan was reported to have said on Oct 12, 1992 that the Jinnahpur map issue is a fraud.
A day later, Shaheen Sehbai, who is presently Group Editor of The News, reported for Dawn “A House losing its temper” and wrote in his Press Gallery, “The opposition was pressing for a debate on Jinnahpur, the supposed brainchild of the MQM to separate Urdu-speaking areas from Pakistan.”
The same day The News reported the voting out of NA motion by the treasury benches on Jinnahpur. The News also reported the then deputy opposition leader Farooq Leghari to have said the prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) was involved in the Jinnahpur conspiracy and claimed that the government opposed motion on the issue because it did not want to go into details.
Dawn on Oct 14, 1992 carried MQM Chief Altaf Hussain’s statement in which he called for a Supreme Court probe to investigate the charges of Jinnahpur against the MQM. The same newspaper reported on Oct 15 about two separate adjournment motions moved by the PDA and Jamaat-e-Islami members to discuss the Jinnahpur conspiracy.
In a press conference on Oct 17, the then key minister of Nawaz regime Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Jinnahpur plot did not exist. “The government would not allow anyone to subvert the rights of Muhajirs. It is baseless that we have ever discussed the creation of the so-called Jinnahpur with the MQM,” he was quoted to have said. Nisar also dispelled the impression that the whole MQM was a terrorist organisation and insisted the good and bad people were in every party.
He asked Altaf Hussain to respond to the allegations levelled against his party.

The same day ANP Chief Ajmal Khattak said there is no truth in the reports that the MQM had planned anything to break Pakistan or to establish Jinnahpur. October 19 newspapers carry ISPR press release, conveying Army’s denial of the knowledge of the Jinnahpur plan.
“The Army had no evidence concerning the so-called Jinnahpur plan, it is clarified that the newspaper story in question is baseless. The Army has neither handed over to the government any document or map as reported, not is it in possession of any evidence concerning the so-called ‘Jinnahpur’ plan.
It is also factually wrong that the matter was discussed at any meeting of the corps commander.” But the same day Benazir Bhutto in a statement in the National Assembly said the government was consciously covering up the Jinnahpur conspiracy and is backing up the MQM from day one.
Nawa-e-Waqt quoted her as saying the motive of the organisation (MQM) is to create a separate homeland with the support of India. She demanded of the removal of Nawaz Sharif from the government for supporting, abetting and financing the dismemberment of Pakistan. She said it was of no use to blame Altaf Hussain. “His partner, supporter and guide Nawaz Sharif must go,” The News reported on October 19.
The same day the then-interior minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was reported to have said in the National Assembly a day before that Jinnahpur is a non-issue and the brainchild of the PPP. Farooq Leghari, however, demanded judicial probe into the plot and contended that disclosure of the Jinnahpur plot had exposed the MQM’s anti-state activities which needed further investigations.
Shaheen Sehbai in Dawn’s “From Press Gallery” wrote on October 19, “Jinnahpur is all fiction”. “Including the opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, could hardly produce anything about the much trumpeted Jinnahpur beyond newspaper clippings or a reported statement of an Army spokesman made in front of a team of Islamabad journalists. Even that was said to have been denied by the Army,” wrote Sehbai.
The News of Oct 19 also quoted Asif Ali Zardari to have desiring action against Jinnahpur planners. “Zardari said the denial of the plan made by the leader of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad was meaningless,” the newspaper read.
In his report “The last refuge of a scoundrel”, Nusrat Javed, senior journalist, wrote in The News on Oct 19, “A military spokesman, Brigadier Haroon, told this to a group of newsmen visiting Karachi in mid-July that there were confirmed intelligence reports that some of the MQM leaders were trying to create a separate state. This correspondent was present at the Army briefing in Karachi where such allegations were made and one reported about them like the rest of the newsmen present. Reference to Haroon’s allegations demands another simple answer, i.e., whether the Nawaz government agrees to the perception expressed by a senior Army officer?”
Tariq Butt of The News on October 19 also reported of Benazir Bhutto’s accusing the government of cover-up. “When Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain described the Jinnahpur conspiracy as a dangerous figment of the PDA’s imagination, opposition MNAs accused the government of being a party to the plot,” the story filed by Butt read.
The same day Nawa-e-Waqt ran a story quoting Benazir Bhutto to have said the Army had uncovered the Jinnahpur conspiracy but the government was silent on the issue. Dawn on October 21, 1992 reported Altaf Hussain to have been praising the government. The report headlined, “Altaf hails govt for exposing Jinnahpur”. According to the report, the MQM chief said the government (of Nawaz Sharif) and its agencies in the same effective manner should display a positive attitude to review the baseless allegations levelled against the MQM to bring about an improvement in the present constitutional and political crises, particularly in Sindh.”
Oct 21, 1992 Jang published a story based on Asif Ali Zardari’s statement that was though appeared conflicting with the PPP stance at that time, suits today’s politics of the PPP and the MQM. The newspaper reported Mr Zardari to have said in a court premises in Karachi that the Jinnahpur scandal was created to malign the MQM.
The same day Dawn reported Farooq Leghari to have been refuting the government’s claim that Jinnahpur was a figment of imagination of the PPP. He also demanded constitution of a high-powered commission headed by the chief justice of Pakistan and comprising all the four high court chief justices to look into the matter.
Several years later on December 14, 1998 The News carried a statement of Altaf Hussain on the same issue. Altaf Hussain demanded probe into reports about Jinnahpur and said the separate Jinnahpur state allegations was a well-planned conspiracy which was used as a message for the Muhajir community that they would continue to be victimized if they did not demand a separate state.

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