KARACHI: Rashid Godil walked into the hall of Karachi Press Club coughing. A few seconds later, he asked for water. “My spinal cord is damaged. I have had four glasses of water so that I can talk. Please bear with me,” he said softly, the voice different from the heavy one he once had.
Friday’s press conference was Godil’s first media appearance after he was attacked on August 18. Godil is still recovering from his injuries. He did, however, came to clarify that reports of him leaving the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were not true. “I am not leaving the MQM. There are no internal disputes,” he said.
The MQM’s leader reaction was a reply to Nabil Gabol, a former party member who claimed that Godil wanted to quit the party and was attacked because of internal differences. Godil denied this.
“Five bullets and I am still alive. This is because of my mother’s prayers, and prayers from the people I worked for, and duas from the MQM workers, and Altaf bhai, and the whole of Pakistan.”
Clad in black kameez shalwar, Godil, whose right cheek bore a bullet mark, said that he joined the MQM in 2005, went up to become a union council nazim, and an MNA in 2008, and again in 2013. In 2015, he was the parliamentary leader in the National Assembly. “It is the party that gave a chance to a poor man to sit in the assembly.”
Read: Improving health: ‘Rashid Godil is out of danger and recovering’
Flanked by MQM’s Rabita Committee members Waseem Akhtar and Aminul Haque, Godil said that he wanted journalists to verify information before running news about him. Soon after, Godil wrapped up the press conference as he was unable to speak anymore.
Akhtar and Haque then took over. They said they had brought Godil despite his poor health only to tell people that there is no truth in what Gabol and others are saying. “Nabil Gabol also left the party and there was no harm done to him,” said Akhtar, in reference to Gabol’s statement that people can join the MQM but cannot quit of their own will.
Defeated but strong
Speaking to The Express Tribune later, Godil admitted that feels disabled and helpless. “I was a person who would leave at 9:30 in the morning and come back at 1:30 at night,” he said. “Now, I am at home 24 hours.”
Before leaving his house, he has to inform the law enforcers a day in advance. Yet, he insisted the attack did not scare him. “I am sitting here. They can come and kill me here as well. I am not afraid.”
Godil was shot five times – the last bullet removed from his body last week. His vocal cord is damaged. “I swear to God I don’t have money to treat my vocal cord,” he said. “The government has refused and now I am waiting to collect funds. The treatment is only possible in Manchester or Houston.”
The MQM MNA did not mention who his attackers were and whom he believes was involved in the attack.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2015.