MQM’s future at stake
Posted by Javed Iqbal
News & Views
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 – Before May 11 elections, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had approached the United Nations with the request to play its role to ensure free and fair elections in Pakistan. The MQM’s US Chapter central organizer had submitted to the UN a memorandum against the Election Commission’s decision for delimitation of some constituencies in Karachi. Urging international community like UN to use its influence for holding fair and free elections and putting pressure on ECP to stop pursuing the process of delimitation of constituencies in Karachi was obviously an undesirable misadventure by the MQM as a political party of Pakistan.
It certainly speaks volumes about MQM leaders’ mindset to promote their party line even at the cost of state of Pakistan. It was indeed an attempt to tarnish the image of Pakistan as a sovereign state, and reflective of lack of trust by the party concerned on ECP and government of Pakistan. Involving international community on internal affairs of Pakistan is a despicable and condemnable act, which needs to be viewed seriously by all segments of the society including, media, civil society, political parties and general masses.
But there is a long list of his reprehensible acts. In January 2013, while defending against criticism over his dual nationality, Altaf Hussain in his two-hour address to a gathering of his supporters at the Lal Qila Ground had said that Quaid-e-Azam was holder of British passport. He went on to say “if oath of allegiance under compulsion by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not considered a disloyalty to Pakistan, then why his oath of loyalty under compulsion was termed as unfaithfulness to the country”.
Being a citizen of British colony at the time of undivided India, Quaid-e-Azam had no choice but to travel on a British passport, firstly for his stay in Britain to pursue his studies, and also to attend conferences in London for securing rights of Muslims of undivided India. But being a Pakistani national, Altaf Hussain had a choice not to take British nationality.
People of Pakistan are not likely to buy into the distorted logic of a person who had left Pakistan because scores of criminal cases including murder cases were instituted against him. Quaid-e-Azam on the other hand never ever did anything against the law and his struggle for carving a separate homeland for Muslims was peaceful, legal and constitutional. Quaid-i-Azam was a brilliant statesmen and a great leader, who set very high standards and values in the realm of politics.
The problem with Altaf Hussain is that MQM’s authority or power enjoyed during Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf eras has eroded. The fact remains that the MQM has been part of almost every government since late 1980s, and by virtue of being coalition partner in every government it is responsible in equal measure for the status quo. It is an eidetic reality that we have been a plutocracy – an elites’ rule for the elites and by the elites.
That we have been in the past; and that is what we are at the present. Of course, after a military rule, it is always a change of dress from the khaki to civilian robes, but the power dispensation stays elitist, privileged and autocratic, with a few hangers-on getting into this exclusive club by hanging on to coat-tails of the dynasts and their henchmen. The people remain denied and deprived; however the MQM continued to get its share of the cake.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan during proceedings on situation in Karachi had observed that the political parties have armed wings. According to TV reports, Ajmal Paharee had confessed to the Joint Investigation Team of (ISI, IB, Military Intelligence, CID, Special Branch etc) that the MQM was behind the ‘Ashura Bombings of 2009’ in Karachi. He had confessed to the team that he and other MQM workers were ordered to burn the shops and businesses in and around Light House as well as kill the people. These burnings caused losses of billions to the poor Pakistanis and shop owners in Karachi.
According to BBC report, investigation is being carried out against Muttahida Qaumi Movement Chief Altaf Hussain by London Metropolitan Police on charges of money laundering and provocation to torture and life threats to his opponents. Police have seized 400,000 sterling pounds from Altaf Hussain’s residence and office. Furthermore, in a documentary released in BBC News Night, the police told a BBC correspondent that the investigation into former MQM leader Imran Farooq’s murder was also underway.
Earlier in June, as part of their investigation into the Imran Farooq murder case, Scotland Yard had raided Altaf Hussain’s house in London. However, British government is very sensitive on money laundering after 9/11 events, which is a very serious offence in Britain. Feeling the noose around his neck, MQM supremo Altaf Hussain recently announced to voluntarily relinquish the party leadership, but on the insistence of the MQM leaders and workers he withdrew his decision. The signals are ominous, and the very survival of the party would be at stake.
Earlier, it looked like as if Altaf Hussain felt the heat of intensive investigations into the murder of Dr Imran Farooq, who was stabbed to death outside his home on 16th September 2010, and he decided to relinquish the party leadership. The UK police are investigating the murder of Dr. Farooq case on multiple lines including the one that Dr Farooq was in discussions with his colleagues and members of the public to start his own independent political career.
The way the New Scotland Yard is moving this time, Altaf Hussain seems to be in real soup. A few days ago, UK High Commissioner to Pakistan had said: “Under British laws promoting hatred and violence is liable to punishment and Altaf Hussain’s statements must be taken seriously.” In Pakistan, even some supporters of the MQM do not approve of Altaf Hussain’s irresponsible statements. Having all said, if Altaf Hussain is brave enough and wishes to pursue politics in Pakistan, he may as well come to Pakistan.(Mohammad Jamil)