LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has alleged that a report on threats to Pakistani journalists prepared by the Amnesty International is “biased, unfounded and malicious” aimed at damaging the democratic credentials of the party.
In a recent report titled “A bullet has been chosen for you – attacks on journalists in Pakistan” the Amnesty said that members of Pakistan’s spy outfits, the MQM, the PPP and Taleban affiliated sectarian outfits were involved in the widespread torture and harassment of journalists in Pakistan.
MQM leaders Dr Farooq Sattar, Mustafa Azizabadi, Babar Ghauri, Saleem Danish and several others led the protest outside the Amnesty International’s London headquarters. MQM workers carried placards saying: “why Amnesty International is silent on MQM’s missing persons”, “Amnesty stop negative propaganda against MQM”, “Amnesty International – substandard reporting is damaging its reputation”.
The MQM leader said that they had gathered outside the Amnesty headquarters to peacefully demonstrate their anger and frustration on the publication of Amnesty’s report about threats to journalists in Pakistan. They said that the allegations against the MQM that it was involved in harassment, torture and killings of journalists was “highly objectionable and baseless”. They said that the contents of the report showed that the credibility of the Amnesty has been brought under serious question in the eyes of the people of Pakistan, “particularly people of urban areas of Sindh province”.
The speakers said that the MQM is “opposed to all forms of exploitation” and is “committed to eradicating the medieval feudal system and hereditary politics in Pakistan which have bled the country since its inception”. They speaker said the MQM had nothing to do with the killing of Geo reporter Wali Khan Babar and his murder was being used by the opponents of the party to malign it.
A petition presented to Amnesty International’s secretary general Shalil Shetty said: “The reference made to para 31 of the judgment in the Karachi Law and Order case for the point that the Supreme Court of Pakistan has linked the killings of 92 policemen with MQM. This amounts to misleading the world, as neither in the said para 31 nor anywhere in the judgment it has been observed that the killing of the said 92 policemen was linked to MQM. The reference made to the judgment of the Anti-Terrorism Court, Kashmore and Kandkot dated 1st March 2014. It has been claimed in the subject report, with reference to the said judgment, that the six accused were found to be target killers associated with the MQM. This is totally false as there is no such portion in the said judgment.”
The MQM strongly denied that it is linked to issuing threats to journalists from the print and electronic media, including Geo’s “Aapis ki Baat” host Najam Sethi. Speaking to Geo News, the MQM leaders demanded that the Amnesty should amend its report and also include the killing and enforced disappearances of hundreds of its workers from Karachi. It said that hundreds of MQM workers remained missing but not a word has been said about them by the Amnesty. They said that the Amnesty contacted the MQM in London for its version only after having completed the report. They said that the report was allegedly written with help from those in the media who are known for putting the MQM on trial all the time.
The MQM petition called on the Amnesty to form a “fact finding committee to visit Pakistan, particularly Karachi, to meet the victims and their relatives to witness firsthand the tale of atrocities committed against the MQM workers and their family members” and that the MQM should take “appropriate actions” to rescue and repair the damage caused to the reputation of the MQM and its leadership as a result of publication and distribution of the said report”.