MQM Chief’s Blame Game against Key Security Agencies
In the past few years, gang warfare, criminal activities and target killings have taken the lives of thousands of persons including the personnel of the Rangers and Police in Karachi. A number of terror-related incidents including sectarian violence have also resulted into several casualties.
Therefore, the Present Government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched the targeted operation in Karachi after obtaining consensus of all stakeholders like political parties, business community and members of civil society. For the purpose, Karachi was particularly handed over to Pakistan Rangers with power to take action against the culprits without any discrimination.
But, leadership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and particularly its Chief Altaf Hussain who was earlier vociferously seeking direct involvement of Army in Karachi abruptly changed his stance and started criticizing Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies with hollow allegation of partiality. Military exercised restraint, but venomous campaign of self-assumed blames against Pakistan’s key security agencies—Army, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistan Rangers continued unabated. Under the growing condemnation and pressure from public and political circles, MQM leaders resorted to plead for forgiveness and regretted his remarks. It is his usual way, and political jugglery which he has been repeating quite often.
In the latest episode of Altaf Hussain’s ludicrous behaviour, he crossed all the limits of ethics and morality to demonize the key institutions of Pakistan, and even sought help from Indian secret agency, RAW. Like slaves, MQM leadership in Pakistan launched a campaign to defend him. Public pressure again forced him to seek apology. However, like his previous contradictory statements, Altaf Husain again apologized for his derogatory remarks against Army and ISI, while praising the latter. He also backed out from his statement about seeking help from RAW. And his Karachi-based leadership also started presenting various clarifications to conceal the real face of its chief.
It is imperative to question political leadership in the country, how many times, he would rebuke the nation and its sons in uniform and how many times, the state would remain silent and bear his insolvent posture. At the same time, the British government may also be questioned—would they allow such a controversial series of hate speeches from a foreigner into their country.
It is notable that MQM’s leaders were already confused when on March 11, 2015, in a targeted operation, Rangers’ forces carried out a raid at Nine-Zero, the headquarters of the party in Karachi, and a large cache of illegal weapons were recovered and several criminals had also been arrested. In order to hide the anti-Pakistan activities, Altaf had again targeted Pak Army and ISI. Afterwards, he again admired these security agencies and Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif.
However, the real character of the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain needs analysis. In this context, it is notable that sometimes, he blames Pak Army and ISI for harassing his party workers, calling the residents of Karachi to defend themselves, sometimes, he admires these security agencies, sometimes, he threatens to separate Karachi from the federation, sometimes, he shows a strong sense of patriotism for Pakistan, sometimes, he suspends the membership of his party’s committee or sector incharges, sometimes, he restores the same, sometimes, he submits his own resignations, sometimes, he takes it back, sometimes, he instructs his party to join Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, and sometimes, Pakistan Peoples Party, especially when these parties are in government. He also blackmails these mainstream parties for the advantages of MQM at the cost of peace in Karachi.
While, law-enforcing agencies’ operations in Karachi are across the board and shady stance taken by Altaf Hussain indicates MQM involvement in destabilizing Karachi by its armed wing.
Notably, MPA of MQM, Nadeem Hashmi was arrested on September 10, 2013 owing to firing at a police mobile in the Haideri area of the city in which the two policemen were killed. In the same month, some MQM workers were arrested, who were found involved in criminal activities, while the founder and leader of MQM Altaf Hussain had condemned the raid on MQM’s offices.
Recently, the paramilitary force proved that the MQM was behind the Baldia Town factory fire in which 250 persons were killed. On February 8, this year, the Rangers also arrested a senior MQM worker namely Rafiq Rajput who not only ran a team of ‘hit men’ but was also involved in the May 12, 2007 carnage in the Karachi.
On February 10, 2015, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan disclosed that MQM Chief Altaf Hussain based in London has let loose a “reign of terror” in Karachi. He elaborated, “Nobody is safe at the hands of the party’s armed wing…with the revelation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report in which Hussain’s party has been held responsible for the killing of over 250 Baldia Town factory workers.” Earlier, Imran Khan also pledged to take Altaf Hussain to the British court, as he is also behind the killing of PTI’s leader Zahra Shahid and journalist Wali Babar in Karachi.
Nevertheless, some developments need attention, as these have proved that traitors are within the MQM. On April 30, this year, during a press conference, while presenting two terrorists who he claimed belonged to the MQM, SSP Malir, Karachi Rao Anwar revealed, “Key MQM leaders have connections with Indian spy agency RAW”, adding that the arrested MQM workers had received training from RAW. He further said that the MQM was actively working against Pakistan, should be banned.
It is of particular attention that a recent report of the JIT disclosed that Saulat Mirza, the former MQM’s worker, who recorded his statement before the JIT said that MQM had links with RAW. Mirza confessed to killing 13 people, yet he was implicated in two murders only, and was executed by the court order.
It is mentionable that Zulfiqar Mirza, Sindh Home Minister and Senior Vice President of the then ruling party—PPP claimed on April 9, 2011 that he had been relieved from his ministry owing to pressure from the government’s coalition partner, the MQM. Mirza pointed out that the issue of target killing and extortion was just a ruse to remove him from his post.
As regards “Batha khauri”, everyone in Karachi knows that MQM has been collecting this illegal money from the local businessmen who are afraid of threats and terror-related actions of this party’s militant wing. While a majority of the innocent people of the city and followers of the MQM do not know the malpractices and criminal acts of this political party and are being misguided by their old leaders who act upon the directions of Altaf Hussain.
Meanwhile, on May 13, 2015, at least 45 people were killed after gunmen brutally opened fire on a bus of the Ismaili community in Karachi. Without any doubt, besides previous terror-attacks, Karachi bus incident is a handy work of RAW to sabotage the China-Pakistan economic Corridor (CPEC) by showing that if Pakistan government is not able to provide security to its citizens, how it can protect CPEC. Ismailis belong to Hunza (Gilgit/Baltistan) or have a spiritual linkage with this area, are Pakistanis. The CPEC would also originate from the same region.
Now, questions arise, how long the people of Karachi will continue to stay mum and seal their tongues? How long will the Muhajir cause of equality of representation, of economic opportunities be sabotaged by leaders like Altaf Hussain? And how long people of Karachi will continue to tolerate lunacy of its leadership?
Hence, it is the first and foremost obligation of MQM workers to call Altaf Hussain’s rhetoric as violent and treasonous. What happens from here is entirely the responsibility of people of Karachi. The loyal Pakistanis, living in the city must know that Karachi is Pakistan’s largest port and financial hub with the largest commercial markets, collecting 70 per cent of the country’s tax revenue. So, besides causing unrest in the city, creating instability in Pakistan, another aim of the MQM leaders is to cripple the economy of the city which is intermittently brought to a halt with shut-down strikes—many shops including other business centers are forced to be closed. And, old leadership of MQM, especially its chief misguide the people by propagating that national institutions are not made to develop other areas of Pakistan like Karachi, alleging that the establishment is once again doing the ethnic cleansing of Muhajirs.
In fact, Pakistan as an independent state has stepped into seventh decade and third generation is enjoying the perks of independence. How long we will continue to be Muhajir, let’s not negatively portray the image of residents of Karachi in a wrong way, they are now the natives of Sindh.
The residents of Karachi must be aware of the fact that Pakistan Army had given countless sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, while its top priority is to restore peace in the city. In this regard, Army Chief Gen. Raheel vowed on April 29 to finish ‘all mafias’ in Karachi and made it clear that indiscriminate operation in the city would continue till its logical conclusion. Pakistan Armed Forces are pro national in character without having any provincial inclinations. Hence, MQM chief’s blame game against key security agencies must be condemned by the patriot people of Karachi.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations