The changing face of MQM

Dr Muhammad Khan

After the anti-Pakistan slogans by MQM Chairman, Altaf Hussain and his party workers on August 22, 2016, Farooq Sattar is trying to make a damage control through apparent disconnection between MQM and its founding father. Sequel to this incident, there has been many cover-ups strategies, primarily to wash-away the real face and the behind the scene planning of this ethno-political group. Whatever changes, Farooq Sattar and his colleagues are now trying to make in the manifesto / constitution of the party, these are going to be momentary and to trick the Government and people. These measures are indeed aims to buy time and present new face of the party, after disclosure of the reality about the true intent of the party.
The fact of the matter is that, Altaf Hussain is MQM and MQM is , none of them can exist without each other. No one in MQM dare to speak a word without the order of Altaf Hussain. In order to understand the dynamics of MQM party politics, it is pertinent to understand the evolutionary phases of this party. Founded as Muhajir Qaumi Movement (abbreviated as MQM) in 1978 by Azeem Ahmed Tariq and Altaf Hussain, the ethno-political party replaced the word Muhajir with Muttahida in 1997. This amendment was made to dispel the impression that, it represents only the migrated community generally settled in urban areas of Sindh. This was first formal change of face by MQM, since this group was passing through an isolation phase following the 1992 Ranger’s Operation in Karachi.
Till that time the party though won elections in urban areas of Sindh, yet had the character of an ethnic group, the maximum. The first formal change of face in 1997 enabled this party to become coalition partner of PML (N) Government, both at federal and provincial level. Subsequently, this ethno-political group remained part of many Governments both at federal and provincial level. In order to become part of successive governments, MQM exploited the low mandates of main political parties to support them in the formation of their governments and thus was able to expand, strengthen, have say in parliament and finally accrue maximum benefits for itself.
Nevertheless, despite becoming part of Government, MQM continued its undesired role of target killings, Bbhatta (extortion) collection and promotion of ethnic factor in urban areas of the province. Those wanted to escape the group, were targeted and brutally killed and tortured to create a terror and fear among the people. Indeed, except a very small group, consisting of few hundred people, others had to join the group under extreme pressure and fear of losing lives and properties. Even among those founded the party as close colleague of the Altaf Hussain, once decided to part ways were killed, tortured and humiliated. Azeem Ahmed Tariq, the founding father and chairman of group was killed in 1993 and Imran Farooq another key player of the party was killed in 2010.
Besides, these important party leaders who were indeed the founding members, many others key workers and leaders were also killed on the order of Chairman of the group. In a way, rather political factor, the real face of this group was terror centred and ethnicity based. In essence, the chairman and party leadership of MQM expanded the party over the years on the basis of terrorism and ethnicity, yet named it as secular political party aims to eliminate the traditional character; the autocratic and feudal based politics of Pakistan. In the process, MQM itself become the autocratic and totalitarian in nature.
Many a time, the Rabita Committee and members of the parliament belonged to MQM were humiliated and tortured by the low level workers of the party on the direct order of its chairman, who while sitting thousands of miles away, ordering and then watching these scenes live through video conferencing. In a way, MQM is an ethnic concentration, where Altaf Hussain has been treating the people as hostages and could do anything with anyone. This is very strange and regretful that in 21st century under globalisation, the well-read class of urban Sind is happy with this status of hostage under Altaf Husain and his few workers.
Now, once everything is absolutely clear about the real motives of MQM and its leadership, let us not to be betrayed once again. Anti-Pakistan agenda, the India factor, the association between RAW and MQM and anti-Army agenda of MQM, inviting Indian Army, Israel and even NATO and US to invade Pakistan are the facts, this ethno political party has in its covert manifesto. Changing names like MQM-Pakistan, amending its constitution erasing the picture of its chairman from its flag are only cover-ups. The truth of the matter is that, MQM chairman gets order from New Delhi for all terrorists and separatist related activities in Karachi and Hyderabad.
No state in the world allows such anti-state activities and politics within its boundaries; therefore, let us safeguard the national interests of Pakistan. Rather favouring this party once again for the political usage by one or the other main political parties of Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan is duty bound to take actions against all those involved in anti-Pakistan activities and ban this party from the political scene of the country. If the stakeholders of Pakistan still feel that there is some political compulsion in taking extreme actions against this party, it will be amount to hurt the feelings of the entire Pakistani nation and allowing other forces to do the same. Seeing the past experience, the so-called strategies of mainstreaming this ethno-political party may not fetch the desired results. This is the most opportune time that, the state of Pakistan gets rid of all terror founded groups, MQM being the founder of terrorism and separatism in Pakistan.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.

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