ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday categorically informed the National Assembly that the ongoing Karachi operation was not Muttahida Qaumi Movement-centric, but against the criminals.

Nisar said the facts and figures presented by MQM lawmaker Dr Farooq Sattar about their workers were totally incorrect. “The government believed in resolving issues through dialogue, but provoking speeches of MQM chief Altaf Hussain from London added fuel to fire,” he said, responding to the Muttahida leader who also tried to raise the issue of Karachi operation along with the Kasur incident. He said no one should dare to create division over the tragic Kasur incident as the entire nation was condemning it.

Nisar advised the MQM legislator to ask their chief to avoid giving such statements. “The way adopted by Altaf Hussain sabotaged my meeting with the DG Rangers and heads of intelligence agencies; now it will take time to control the damage,” he added.

MQM should be answerable for whatsoever was recovered from Nine Zero during the Rangers’ raid, he said. He asserted the ongoing Karachi operation was not the MQM-centric, but against the criminals. The minister said no one – the Parliament, the federal government, the army, the Sindh Rangers or any other agency – was against MQM; rather the operation was to purge the provincial capital of criminal elements.

He said the operation was launched in consultation with all stakeholders and no political party was against it, adding now all political parties except MQM were still in favour of the cleansing process. Nisar said peace in Karachi had considerably improved due to the concerted efforts of the law-enforcement agencies. Since July the situation has been much better as compared to the last 20 years, he claimed.

The minister said the government had no “missing persons’ policy” and had clearly directed Sindh Rangers Director General Maj-Gen Bilal Akbar that there should be no such happenings.

He said that the National Assembly’s business was meant to be run in accordance with the constitution and law, adding the adjournment motion could not be taken up on provincial matters. “It is the track record of the National Assembly that adjournment motions not meeting the set criteria were not taken up or entertained,” he added.

However, the minister said the matter like the Kasur incident could be debated thoroughly in the house on points of order without adopting the adjournment motions. As far as the Karachi operation was concerned, he was ready to share all details with the house, he concluded.

Meanwhile, the MQM senators on Monday demanded constitution of a monitoring committee to oversee Karachi operation as the party protested against what it called the ‘extrajudicial killing’ of young party worker Muhammad Hashim.

The party lawmakers alleged that Rangers were behind this killing as he had been arrested some three months ago. They sought help from Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani to intervene and resolve the matter. They said that LEAs were allegedly involved in kidnapping and killing of their workers.

Nasreen Jalil broke into tears while highlighting the issue and said, “I need answer to the question that for how long innocent people will be killed.” She sought intervention of the chairman Senate while the chair remarked that it was a provincial matter but he would talk to the interior minister.

Nighat Mirza, on the occasion, wanted to participate in the debate but she could not speak even a single word while tears rolling down her cheeks.

Tahir Mashhadi of MQM also demanded through the Senate that every single action in Karachi should be in accordance with the law. “I demand on behalf of Mojahirs that they should be treated as Pakistanis. No agency has the right to be executioner or judge,” he said, adding, if someone was guilty, he should be brought before the court of law.

PPP lawmaker Sassui Palejo said Sindh government could not be hold accountable for what was happening and added that all political parties should end their militant wings and hand over terrorists to the LEAs as per the list of interior ministry.

The remarks of Farhatullah Babar caused some uneasiness for the chairman Senate when he, speaking on the issue, said the upper house and chairman were on trial. “If the house will be called and it would not answer, this will have serious repercussions,” he said, adding, that stance of the chair might be wrong that it was a provincial matter and federation could do nothing. He, quoting a foreign news agency, said that target killings decreased in Karachi but forced disappearances increased.

“It is regretful that anti-terrorism cases have been registered against some MQM lawmakers for hearing speech of their chief Altaf Hussain,” he said.

Responding Babar, Raza Rabbani said neither the house nor chair was on trial and would never be on trial. “I have said that I will talk to interior minister and later inform the house,” he said and advised Babar to talk to his party [PPP] on the issue which was in power in the province.

Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini said that the allegations on Rangers were tantamount to damage the structure of the state. He said the chair should have talked to interior minister otherwise this would have serious repercussions.

On steps taken by the government to broaden the tax net, State Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal said it was unfortunate that economic reforms could not be introduced for a long time and had become an uphill task like that of terrorism. He enumerated a number of steps his government had taken and added that the number of taxpayers had been increased by 100,000.

Earlier, the house passed motion moved by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq that authorised the house to constitute itself into a committee of the Whole House to debate mode of elections of the Senate. The house also approved amendments in its rules regarding composition of functional committee on devolution and procedure for submission of public petitions.