MK’s coup de’tat of Liaquatabad raises his stature manifold


Salahuddin Haider

THE young Pak Sarzameen Party chief Mustafa Kamal staged a coup de’tat over most of his opponents with a fiery advocacy for Karachi and its people’s cause at an impressive Liaquatabad rally Sunday night that would surely ring alarm bells in the camp of his former party stalwarts, if not altogether flooring them flat. The gathering was mammoth from any standard and the rapport between stage and audience was heart warming for him and his PSP colleagues and may inject a new and spirited lease of life to forge ahead in their mission of humbling D Farooq Sattar in electoral contest expected in next five to six months, earlier or at a later stage.
However, there is many a slip between cups and the lips. Although academically, it would mean a real tug of war between former Altaf loyalists and defectors on MK side, but the way PSP chief conducted himself at the right in the heart of MQM-P stronghold, for Liaquatabad had since mid-80s remained a bastion of power for the MQM founder leader, but situation has drastically changed now, particularly after two of Altaf, close aides Babar Ghauri and Shamim Siddiqi disowned their mentors earlier this month. Both of them were former federal ministers for considerable length of time during Musharraf era, the former particularly wielding tremendous authority like provincial minister Adil Siddiqi, who too was no less powerful.
But laws of nature are different and permanent. Every rise has a fall, every night has dawn break. If MQM has split today, and facing problems of speaking with one voice, it is natural.If Hitler could commit suicide after being all powerful in his hey days, MQM too had to face the fate of history. There really was no escape from fundamental of nature.
A without doubt, unhesitating conclusion, drawn from recent developments convinces thst, that slowly and gradually, Altaf has not only lost grip on a party he founded after laborious years, but increasingly is getting isolated, which should really be painful for him, for the edifice has not only been shaking and trembling, it has literally started to crumble, which is tragic.
The in-fight within the rank and file of a party, coalition partners in one form or the other for three decades, is cracking. Its top leadership, meaning Dr Farooq Sattar and Amir Khan, a previous defectee with Afaq Ahmad, have serious differences. Though Its denial has been issued, yet insiders insist that the top hierarchy continued to suffer from lack of cohesion, perhaps rivalries for supremacy, jealousy or similar other negativities.
Sattar asked for Amir Khan’s explanation on issues that could easily be ignored, and although he did get a reply, he faced enquiry for six hours before the policy making organ of the party, the Rabita or the coordination committee. Reportedly the matter seems to have been reesolvd, but bitterness once created, is difficult to remove permanently. That exactly is the situation with MQM Pakistan.
No point indulging in blame game, or fixing responsibilities, but the massive following which MQM commanded for long, long time, is in danger now. Mustafa kamal, a dashing young man, IT ministers for two years, then Mayor of Karachi, for 5 years, before becoming chairman of the Khdmate Khalq Committee, the charity wing of the party, and senator simultaneously, was charged on flimsy ground. In sheer disgust, he quit the senate membership, resigned the chairmanship of charity wing, to settle for a job in Dubai.
But vibrant and courageous as he was, he soon found mooring, and was back in Karachi with close colleague Anees Qaimkhani to challenge Altaf Hussain, something inconceivable in the party which had always been held under a tight cover. But over the period of nnearly 20 months, he achieved enormous successes, expanding the canvass of his party from Karachi to interior of Sindh, and farto the north in the Chitral. Hunza, Swat mountains and valleys taking control of its hold in the middle east, Europe, and United States. Not an easy job by any means, yet he did it and deserved acknowledgement. The Liaquatabad rally of December 24 at the fly over near Karimabad had many dimension. From the sheer size of the crowd, stretching over miles and as far as eyes could see, the constant dialogue and rapport brtween the podium and the audience of hundreds of thousans, the flag waving, spirited crowd chanting slogans, must be real reward for his stupendous hard work in a short time of less than two years.
Baarely a day before, MQM Pakistan had protest rally in front of the Karachi Press Club with Farooq Sattar, demanding compensation for owners or houses or commercial places, which he said, had been bought and those possessing it were being punished for no rhyme or reason. But Sattar or his colleagues had been mild in their assertions, refusing to pick up the causes of their migrant community from India. Their causes were espoused by MQM Pakistan.
On the other hand Kamal appeared a new role, firebrand speakers. Orator he was from the beginning but the speech he delivered Sunday night, could be called venomous by opponents in PPP, but it struck a concordant note with his supporters, called the settlers from India, migrating to Pakistan in the wake of Great divide of 1947. He relied heavily on statistics to protest that a city of Karachi, sprawling and perhaps sixth biggest in the world because of his area and population of over 200 million, was unjustly treated by census, showing mere 160 million instead of general perception of being over 200 million. He was hardl on Sindh chief minister for presenting fake figures before supreme court which took up cases of water and drainage problems during sitting in Karachi. He totaled Karachi population at 160 million and felt satisfied with 800 million gallons of water for the entire population. Mustafa who had worked hard as mayor and had planned and executed many projects of the kind, insisted that Karchi needed 1240 million gallons of water for city inhabitants.
Moaning that there was none to focus on Karachi, he appealed to army chief General Qamar Bajwa for carrying out operations in KP, Balochistan and Sindh but while army was simultaneously doing development work, building bridges, roads, and highways in south-wester and northern provinces, it had left Karachi alone, thriving on operations, which needed review. He asked the army chief to focus on Karachi development as well because the government of the day in southern province, had fail to cope upto expecations.
By his powerful delivery, non stop and without reference to points normally jotted down for such occasions, he let deep imprressions on his huge gathering, and also those listening to him TV channels, BY doing do, Mustafa has stole the limelight, leaving behind his tough opponents far, far behind. He seems to have germs of becoming a real leader, provided inconsistency does not stop him in the middle.