LAHORE - Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah Sunday asked the MQM to continue playing role in the mainstream politics by dissociating itself from its militant wing.

Talking to media at PPP secretariat here, Khursheed Shah disclosed that the ongoing operation in Karachi had been launched on the demand of MQM and it was heading in the desired direction.

Khursheed further said that the MQM was the second largest party of the province of Sindh, and it would be against country’s interest if it was pushed against the wall by identifying it as a terrorist organisation.

He further said that the MQM should be encouraged to remain in the national politics.

He welcomed the statement of MQM chief Altaf Hussain, in which he asserted that the MQM did not want confrontation with the national institutions, adding that confrontation would weaken the state at the end of the day.

On the question of Saulat Mirza confession, the PPP leader said that the mode used in obtaining the statement had created doubts about its credibility. He said any attempt to further delay the execution or to change the death penalty into life imprisonment would raise questions about the credibility of the whole affair and eventually the MQM would get political benefit out of it.

Answering a question, Khursheed set aside the rumours of differences in the top hierarchy. He also informed the media that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would come to Pakistan on the occasion of death anniversary of party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on April 4.

To a question about allegations levelled by Lyari gangster Uzair Baloch against some PPP leaders, Khursheed said he (Uzair) could say anything as the provincial government had eliminated many of his fellow gangsters in an operation against the Lyari gang. He said the government initiated action against the criminals setting aside political expediencies. He added that Lyari was a PPP constituency but the government launched indiscriminate action against the criminals.

Khursheed said many criminals from Lyari had been arrested, but his party did not react because it considered the elimination of criminals as prerequisites for bringing peace in the metropolitan city.

He, however, stressed that it should be indiscriminate in all respects.

Rejecting rumours of governor raj in Sindh province, Khursheed said it would be against the federation if imposed.

He asserted that the law and order situation in interior Sindh was much better than all other provinces of the country. He added that the situation in Karachi has also improved, hoping that the operation in Karachi would succeed in eliminating those who had been holding the city and its residents as their hostage.

He showed concern over security situation in Punjab citing terror-related incidents especially in Lahore. He also mentioned the lynching of two innocent persons in Youhanabad in this context.

While responding to a question, the opposition leader welcomed the agreement between the PML-N and the PTI regarding the setting up of judicial commission, hoping that the PTI would come to the parliament to represent the people according to their aspirations.

He said that the opposition parties had earlier urged upon the government not to accept the resignation of the member parliamentarians of the PTI.

He recalled that the PPP played a key role in bridging the gap between the parties and the success in this regard established the fact that the political issues could only be resolved through negotiations and not through the container politics that had inflicted colossal loss to the nation both at the national and international level.

Earlier Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo while talking to the media men said that the Punjab government had failed in maintaining law and order in the province, adding that attacks on churches were the manifestation of the government’s incompetence and complacency.

He demanded the setting up of provincial finance commission award responsible for distribution of provincial development funds on equal basis among all the districts.

He said that the farmers of the province were facing the situation of economic murder because of the anti-farmers policies of the government.

He urged the government that wheat price of the new crop should be fixed at Rs 1,600 per 40 kg with assurance that all the wheat will be procured by it. He said that the local bodies’ elections in the cantonment areas should be held on party basis as per the judgment of the court.