Traitors within the MQM
By Sajjad Shaukat
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 the Rangers with power to take action against the culprits without any discrimination.
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 rise of sectarian violence has also resulted into several casualties.
Last year, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Governor Sindh Ishratul Ibad Khan had submitted his resignation, as MQM dubbed the operation with the pretext that it is against its office bearers. While, this party had itself supported the operation, and even demanded to hand over Karachi to Army.
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, 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.
However, 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 disclosed, “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.
On the same day, the MQM leaders Dr Farooq and Rizvi strongly rejected accusations of SSP Anwar regarding his party’s affiliations with RAW. But, addressing his supporters via a telephonic address in Karachi, on the same day, Altaf Hussain not only criticized Pakistan’s armed forces, but also asked assistance from RAW. He also instructed his supporters to start “commando” training and to get arms—what MQM has been planning.
Next day, DG of ISPR Maj-Gen. Asim Bajwa called MQM chief’s speech disgusting—reference to the army or its leadership, adding that criminals’ links to political parties will not be tolerated.
But, like his previous contradictory statements, on May 1, Altaf Husain again apologized for his derogatory remarks against Army, 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 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.
Nevertheless, the real character of the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain also 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.
In fact, changing stance of Altaf Hussain and clarifications of other MQM leaders in this connection show that they want to continue MQM’s armed wing including subversive activities in Karachi.
It is mentionable that Zulfiqar Mirza, Sindh Home Minister and Senior Vice President of the then ruling party—Pakistan Peoples Party 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.
It is worth-mentioning that in June 3, 2014, Altaf Hussain was arrested by Scotland Yard Police in London. London Police and agencies were holding investigation against him in three cases including money laundering, after recovery of 7 Lac pounds from Altaf Hussain home and office in London—controversial speeches from London and Imran Farooq murder case. In this respect, in his article, Salman Mugsi wrote on August 27, 2011, “Altaf Hussain designated Waseem Akhtar in Karachi to arrange for the murder of Imran Farooq. Waseem Akhtar gave this task to Khalid Shameem and Hammad Siddiqui, who are incharge of militant wing of the MQM in Karachi. Khalid Shameem picked two boys from the student wing of MQM…who reached London, followed Imran Farooq for few days and noted his routines and then carried out his assassination according to the plan.”
It is of particular attention that a recent report of the JIT revealed that Saulat Mirza, the death row inmate and the former MQM’s worker, who recorded his statement before the JIT said that MQM had links with Indian RAW. Mirza confessed to killing 13 people, yet he was implicated in two murders only.
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.
The loyal Pakistanis, living in Karachi 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 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 misguides 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.
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.
Nonetheless, understanding the ground realties, and for restoration of peace in Karachi, the residents of the city including moderate elements must make efforts for reorganization of MQM by replacing the old leaders like Altaf Hussain, Farooq Sattar etc. with the new ones. For the purpose, all the peace-loving segments of society of Karachi belonging to MQM will have to take bold decision jointly, without being afraid of MQM’s militant wing. These patriot-persons must not be misguided by the leaders of the party and its chief. They must know the traitors within the MQM.
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