MQM-P denies allegation its workers burnt national flag on Altaf Hussain's call

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Farooq Sattar on Thursday denied Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chief Mustafa Kamal's allegations that MQM workers had observed a "black day" on the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's independence .

Kamal, in a press conference earlier the same day, had brought attention to a video circulating on social media which showed masked men burning Pakistani flags.

Kamal had alleged that the men were acting on instructions from MQM founder Altaf Hussain. Kamal had further said that Hussain had issued an audio message through his website ordering loyalists to burn flags, share videos and pictures of them doing so on social media and also send them to the party's London Secretariat.

He accused Hussain of spreading propaganda against the state, adding that the flag-burning videos were broadcast on India's news channel.

"Farooq Sattar's leader [Hussain], who calls himself the founder of the party [the MQM], told his supporters to observe a black day and burn flags on [Independence] day," Kamal said, implying that the men shown in the video included members of MQM-P.

The Sattar-led MQM-P maintains it distanced itself from its London-based leadership last year following a vitriolic speech by Hussain against the Pakistani state.

Responding to Kamal's accusations, Sattar, in his press conference, dismissed the notion that the men burning flags were members of the mohajir (migrant) community, which the MQM claims to represent.

"A few Pakistanis were incited to commit this deed," Sattar conceded, but "Our [MQM-P's] patriotism has not been affected by anyone else."

He also stated that those who burned flags were acting on orders received by MQM-L, and that the mohajir community not only condemned this ideology, but had also rejected it by boycotting "the battle cry from London".

Sattar was of the view that by celebrating Pakistan's 70th anniversary, the Urdu-speaking community had shown that those who helped create Pakistan are still loyal to their country.

"The mohajir community has proven that nothing can beat their patriotism," Sattar claimed.

"We stand with all the ethnicities of Pakistan, be it Punjabis, Sindhis, Pashtun, Balochis, Hazaras and Gilgitis and we are sure that they stand with us," he said.

Sattar recalled that MQM-P workers had celebrated Pakistan's Independence Day by hoisting the national flag at "every MQM unit ─ not just in Karachi, but throughout the country".

He called for those who burned the Pakistani flag on Aug 14 to reveal their identities instead of hiding behind masks.

Kamal, too, had said that the mohajir community had rejected the MQM founder's hate-filled ideology because of the disclosures he — Kamal — had made about Hussain upon the former's return to Pakistan.

"Altaf Hussain tried to associate the Urdu-speaking population with his ideology," Kamal said. "But today I am proud that the Urdu-speaking community has refused to affiliate itself with the MQM founder and do not follow him anymore. People are now aware of his reality."

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