MQM perilously close to self-destruction!

Salahuddin Haider

THAT MQM was confronted with uncertain future is now an old story. No one could predict in the wildest of dreams until the beginning of this year that it will crack all of a sudden.
The split in its ranks came early this year and, barely five months later, it split into factions. Even then hope of reconciliation had remained alive, but now it seems heading for a tragic end.
Such a sordid state of affair is now vividly evident to almost everyone. The latest statement from party’s senior deputy convener Amir Khan, containing serious accusations against such leading lights as Wasey Jalil, Mohammad Anwar, Mustafa Azizabadi etc, seems to have brought it to the brink of disaster.
Amir, normally soft-spoken and cool-headed, burst out at a workers’ convention Saturday charging that Mustafa Azizabad was leader of sycophants in the London secretariat of the party, which remains under the control of its founder Altaf Hussain.
That was not all. Amir even accused Azizabadi of having 10 plots of land in his name in the Karachi suburb of Landhi, and that his younger brother had been involved in KMC land scams. He even charged younger brother of Mohammad Anwar, nicknamed “chunnu” of being involved in wrongdoings.
All that was heard in response to that from London was a one-liner. “All that is being said from MQM in Karachi was at the behest of the establishment” said Wasey, who was accused by Amir Khan of betraying the party, and escaping to America in 1992 operation, and slipping out again quietly minutes after Rangers’ raid on Nine-Zero last year.
Altaf, a university student, was frustrated after he was thrown out of the campus from Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba, the student wing of the religious party, Jamat-i-Islami, but then he formed MQM to espouse the cause of Urdu- speaking people, settling in Sindh and other parts of Pakistan after the 1947 divide.
Altaf was lucky to have committed colleagues like Azeem Tariq and Dr Imran Farooq, both no more in this world now. But they, together with Dr Farooq Sattar, had helped Altaf turn the leaf from a position of virtual beggary to phenomenal rise.
Formed in 1984, the party caused tremors in politics because of its commitment to a cause and having the services of dedicated people, including Zareen Majeed, daughter of an honest police inspector who died on a rotten bed in PIB Colony. After the 1992 operation, Zareen and many others went into hiding, or shifted to cities within Pakistan or abroad.
But the MQM kept soaring higher and higher, starting from its clean sweep of municipal election of 1987, and then being the unchallenged leader in parliamentary elections successively since 1988 till 2013. Its impact left deep imprints on history because of its remarkable presence in Sindh and the National Assemblies, and the upper house of the Senate.
But its popularity began to be questioned when it forgot its fundamental lesson of honesty and commitments. Its parliamentarians were accused of corruption, and many of them have now vanished. Even former Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad who was the first to distance himself from Altaf, left for Dubai where he has a palatial house.
Those emphasizing that 2013 victories in general elections and the success in municipal polls this year was due principally to Altaf, are close to truth. However now that Farooq Sattar, and others, including Waseem Akhtar, now Mayor of Karachi, have disowned Altaf.
In fact Waseem Akhtar said two days ago that he cannot accept dictation from his former leader, whom all those in the party virtually worshipped till the winds of change, began to blow in opposite direction.
Mustafa Kamal, as leader of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) is heading his own faction under different banner, and title and has done fairly well in Karachi and now looking forward to gaining some foothold in Punjab. He has already held a meeting in Lahore, and looks forward to organizing a rally on 23rd December.
But then such factionalism has negative effect also. The Urdu speaking population in Karachi and elsewhere, who viewed MQM as their saviors, appears confused and is uncertain about the fall-out of such important developments.

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