MQM, Nawaz, Fazl all on trial
For Altaf, his party’s decision to bid good bye to the government, will be a blessing in disguise. He will be justified in satisfying his voters, workers, followers and sympathizers now that he is out of power and has fallen in line with the people. Now he will present the people’s case in the parliament and outside with much greater force than until two days ago. Altaf’s dilemma was caught in the midst of a crisis. His voters, and followers had expected him to help solve their problems. He tried his best, because having known Altaf and being a member of his team for 5 years, I can say with authority, and tremendous pride that he means business, is not shy to take bold decisions, always thinks of people and their welfare. His entire philosophy and the methodology is aimed at delivering the goods. He just can’t sit idle. And I think that even when he sleeps ( and he sleeps for short hours, spends most of his time in thinking or working), his minds keeps working. That is an ability which a genuine and honest leader should and must have, Altaf is blessed with that quality because of the training from his mother, late Begum Khurshid, in whose memory, headquarters of his party 90 has been dedicated to.
The mistake which he did was to publicly appeal to Asif Zardari to accept the country’s Presidentship. I knew from the beginning that it was a wrong call from him and time proved me right. Altaf admitted that mistake himself during general workers meeting of Sunday. “ I am guilty of that” he said unhesitatingly. An honest admission again, and demonstrated his inborn quality to speak the truth, which every honest and dedicated politician must have. Politics, they said, is an art of maneuvering. Accepted. The maxim holds true even today, centuries after it had been spoken and recorded in history. But politics is not jugglery of words. It is also a means to an end. By being in the coalition with PPP, Altaf and his men whether in federal government or in Sindh administration, they owed a loyalty to people who vote for him, and to workers who are ready to die for him. He just found helpless in making them happy.
The problem was that being in the government, they could only register their resentment on policies pursued by the government whether in the centre or in the southern province of Pakistan. They did take some bold decisions a number of times, even publicly agitated over the issues of electricity shortages, rising power and petroleum prices, and on target killing. Every time, Asif Zardari and his magician interior minister made them fresh promises, forced MQM to reverse their decisions and then backed out. Zardari’s politics is too complicated to understand or define in simpler words. He is too deep and cunning man to be handled lightly by his partners, and supporters. He pursued a politics of reconciliation, and yet did just the reverse of it in practical terms.
However, Now that MQM is in opposition, having submitted resignations of their ministers to Prime Minister and the acting Sindh Governor, it binds them down to remain committed to their words.Telephone calls from Chauhdry Shujaat or even a request from Rehman Malik or Asif Zardari, in London now on private visit, to meet Altaf should be turned down with sheer disdain. No more mercy petitions—Altaf should better understand. Any more compromise, will reflect very poorly on his career and popularity as politician and head of a popular party, winning successive electoral victories and creating a record in sub-continent history.
Now Fazlur Rehman has resisted moves to be bought back or lured into a trap again. He too had a one-hour telephonic talk with Altaf. Indications are that they will stick to their guns. Much more and graver responsibility now falls on Nawaz Sharif who should show sagacity. He has done that by slowly, and gradually taking a hard line against the government of the day, and even accusing of his immobile and corrupt administration. He has to take initiative and mend fences with Altaf. His differences or contempt for MQM flowed from the misconceptions he had about MQM role in the killings of May 12, 2007 when Justice Iftikhar Chaudhury came to Karachi to address the bar. But he refused to heed to the government appeal to let him know where he wants to go in Karachi so that security could be arranged him.
Firing and killing was done by the PPP and by ANP and yet MQM alone was blamed for that for something which it had not done. Altaf had to put off his speech that at Tibet square in Karachi on that day and appealed to his followers to fold their banners and flags and return to their homes quality. Nawaz should understand that, and if even till today he has not tried to search for facts, he should do that now.
MQM, PML(N), and JUI will form a powerful opposition and force the government to opt for fresh elections. Zardari or Gilani are no immediate danger of being thrown out of power. They have the majority both at the centre and in Sindh to rule.But Shujaat can be persuaded to disassociate himself from the government. That would decide the issue, but whether that happens remains to be seen,.
In the end I would only say that Altaf Hussain should not reverse his decision and stay away from the tall or magical talks of Zardari or Rehman Malik and stick to his guns.Any more mistake from Altaf would be like shooting in the feet.