SUKKUR - As the MQM observed black day in protest against ‘derogatory remarks’ made by Khursheed Shah against "Mohajirs", the PPP leader stressed religion and politics should be kept separate. Talking to media here Sunday, Khursheed Shah said that his statement about the word 'Muhajir' is being taken out of context. He said he only meant that repeatedly flaunting the term is not appropriate just as most people do not repeatedly mention their castes, tribes and family names. Mohajir and Sindhi are merely words, adding the people from different areas have settled in this province and call themselves as Sindhi and now Sindh is their recognition.

More than 10 million people of other nationalities live in Karachi, he said and added that hatred should be abandoned as it would be harmful. He said that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement understands politics as it was Mohajir Qaumi Movement in the beginning and later changed into Muttahida as it knows they could not do politics in Karachi this way.

Syed Khursheed Shah reiterated his party's stance that no negotiations could be held on the issue of making a new province in Sindh as demanded by the MQM. He reiterated that Sindh is a 'history' and its division will not be tolerated.

"All are Sindhis here, including the Urdu-speaking people. No discussion will be held on division of this province. We are ready to die for integrity of our motherland but will not allow anybody to divide it," said the veteran politician of the Pakistan People’s Party.

He said spreading hatred will harm the country, adding that the PPP supports continuity of democratic system and supremacy of the country’s constitution. "We are supporting democracy and not the government," he said.

The PPP leader said that Sindh has a history and that the division of Sindh will not be tolerated in any case. He said politics in the name of religion and sectarianism should be avoided.

He said people's sentiments are being incited using religion which is against stability in the country and will be playing in the hands of the enemy.

On October 18, Shah had said that Urdu-speaking people of Pakistan were now permanent residents and should therefore stop calling themselves 'Mohajirs'. "The word 'Mohajir' is a 'gaali' (curse) for me and I urge our friends to please stop referring to themselves as mohajir," he had said.

The PPP leader said that all the Urdu-speaking people are his brothers. "We Sindhis would not let anyone to spread hatred on ethnic basis," he added.

Speaking about the blasphemy charges levelled against him, Shah said, “Several conspiracies had been formulated against me in the past as well. Despite all these nefarious schemes against me, voters have elected me eight times and I have an important role to play in the politics of the country."

On the appeal of MQM chief Altaf Hussain, businesses and petrol pumps in a few areas of Karachi, Hyderabad and other parts of Sindh were closed down.

Little to no transport was seen on the roads.

Entry test scheduled to be held on Sunday at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology, Jamshoro was also cancelled.

Rangers and police have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, former PPP MNA Abdul Qadir Patel said that Shah's statement was misunderstood and despite having issued an apology, the MQM is exploiting it.

"The word 'Mohajir' is sacred and respected for me," Patel said, questioning why the MQM removed it from their party name and changed it to Muttahida Qaumi Movement instead.

Addressing the media in Karachi, Patel said, "In politics there is a trend to exchange harsh words."

Referring to the blasphemy charges levelled against Shah by the MQM leaders, Patel said religion should be kept out of politics.

Further, he criticised the MQM for 'shutting off' news channels in parts of Karachi.