Altaf fate seems sealed atleast for foreseeable future

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Salahuddin Haider

ALTAF Hussain’s fate seems sealed, atleast for the foreseeable future. His latest tweet, seeking Indian prime minister Nirender Modi’s help for his Urdu speaking followers in Karachi, instead of helping him, proved fatal for him.
This was evident from background interviews and studies on the Sindh and Karachi situations. His own people have deserted him, the first split coming last year in March, when his one of the trusted lieutenants, former Mayor Mayor Mustafa Kamal, went in exile, abandoning his esteemed position of member of Parliament’s upper house, called the Senate, and then re-emerging to take his hometown of Karachi by storm. His only company at that time was Rabita Committee incharge Anis QaimKhani,but later on he gained in strength, as more and more defections took place in the parent organisation.
Then Altaf shot him in the feet by his hate-Pakistan speech of August 22, and an instant opportunity came rushing to establishment, which was irritated by his fiery speeches against the army, or State administration. His party fell into an abyss, from where it is laboring to recover, but the task is not easy.
Mustafa Kamal on the other hand, has done reasonably well, opening offices from Karachi upto to distant north, even in the mountainous areas of Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral, and in foreign lands from Australia down under to America, with Europe in the centre. Whether that would really yield himsolid results is hard to say, for the job demands time and Herculean energy.
But while MQM Pakistan under Farooq Sattar, and Mustafa Kamal who heads the Pak Sarzameen Party will join hands to keep the party flag flutter remains to be seen. Contacts and drawing room discussions with his principal aides like Raza Haroon, Dr Saghir Ahmad, and Waseem Aftab , fails to provide solid leads of such a possibility taking shape.
They are all very clear in their minds, which is not secret either, that Kamal will be willing to accept Farooq Sattar in his fold, for they openly say that their doors are open for all those willing to join them and work under their umbrella. But a number of questions need answer before any conclusion could be drawn about such an eventuality.
Sattar, who like late Imran Farooq, is a founder member of MQM. He used to beg people in the streets of Karachi to come and hear Altaf’s speeches. In mid-80s, Altaf, Farooq Sattar, Imran Farooq, and their former Chairman Azeem Ahmad Tariq, killed in in-laws house of Azizabad on May 1, 1993, were all youngsters, fresh from colleges and university of Karachi, but they had woven a magical cobweb around those in Karachi, and cities like Hyderabad,Mirpurkash primarily, and Sukkur or even Nawabshah, to some extent.
A party founded in the name of salvation for Muhajirs, became instant hit with the electorate, flooring stalwarts in field for years, and winning elections. They all were floored in 1987 municipal polls,and then since the parliamentary polls of 1988, held after after General Ziaul Haq’s mystery plane crash, lost moorings much more quickly than anticipated. Its appeal apparently remained undamaged till date. But there is another viewpoint also like charges that fear factor, gun culture was exploited to force people to vote for Altaf. Whether this is true, historians can decide after scanning records and evidences available in whatever manner.
But then as corruption overtook its ranks and failed, and extortions, street crime etc, became to be linked with it, whether real or imaginary, the party became a sore point for those living in the Punjab, interior of Sindh, or in KPK, and Balochistan, Altaf’s fiery speeches, were disliked for obvious reasons,but the decline of a party, shooting to fame overnight, and gaining importance in the parliament’ two houses, as well as in the Sindh Assembly, had begun. Every rise has a fall, so emphasizes an old English maxim, and that history had its own course, was again to be visible, and is in too vivid to ignore now.
General Pervez Musharraf during his days at the helm worked on the philosophy to help it widen itself from mere ethnicity to mainstream political party, taking care of the entire country. But an organisation launching itself on hate campaign is bound to collapse one day. Leaders like Hitler, Bhutto or Sheikh Mujeeb, too were rode on the crescendo of popularity, but met violent fate in the end.
History can not remain oblivious to its fundamental principles, Altaf too has to meet an end, which was inglorious. Whether he is gone forever, cannot be said emphatically at this point of time, but straws in the wind doo provide sufficient hint. The establishment had reached the conclusion that he had to go, and will perhaps not allow him a come back now. That looks certain to a very great extent from private discussions with those who matter. But MQM Pakistan and PSP need to review their strategy. That alone can lead them to keep the position of glory. Else the result could be anybody’s guess.