Pakistan’s powerful military establishment is using religious zealots to end democratic rule in the country, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain has said. London-based Hussain in a letter to the international community including the US sought “urgent action” and send the Pakistani military establishment a clear message to refrain from meddling into politics. “This is the only way forward to restore peace in Pakistan as well as worldwide,” Hussain said. He alleged that the military establishment of Pakistan, the spy agency ISI in particular, is “now using religious zealots to end democratic rule in Pakistan once again”. “Islamabad, the capital city, has been held hostage once again by religious zealots who seem to be enjoying total impunity from Pakistan’s military establishment,” he said. The Pakistan government yesterday called in the army after clashes broke out in Islamabad when police and paramilitary forces cracked down on protesters from hardline religious groups who were blocking a key highway to the capital, leaving over 200 people injured.
“The civilian government has banned electronic media from coverage of these so-called protests. The country seems be falling into chaos, setting up a perfect stage for the Army to seize power and derail democracy once more,” he claimed. The MQM emerged as a largely ethnic party in the 1980s. It has political dominance in the southern Sindh province’s urban areas – notably in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Sukkur where a large number of Urdu-speaking people who migrated from India during partition reside.