M Ziauddin

Monday, May 04, 2015 – HE IS an enigma. So is his Party. He is a British Pakistani, (though the Pakistani persona can no more be confirmed because he does not for the present possess a Pakistani passport) but holds a spell-binding hold over a large number of Pakistan’s urban Sindhis who haughtily call themselves by the misnomer of Mohajirs. In the Urdu language which these people call their mother tongue the word Mohajir means a refugee ( like the Afghan refugee) living temporarily in the host country and earnestly wishing to go back eventually to the country of his birth. Paradoxically, however most of those who call themselves Mohajirs today, though descendents of parents and grandparents who migrated to Pakistan from India after partition in 1947, were born in Pakistan and perhaps have no overt or covert desire to return to the land of birth of their parents and grandparents. In fact they insist that they are more Pakistanis than the descendents of Pakistan’s sons of the soil because of what they believed to be their Indian born elders’ ‘Herculean sacrifices’ in the struggle for Pakistan which they have further convinced themselves to believe was achieved at the cost of millions of lives of their Indian born ancestors.

Their claim to be the sole Urdu speaking community in Pakistan is also too dubious to be taken seriously even by the claimants themselves. Since Urdu is Pakistan’s national language, it has become the mother tongue of many educated families of Pakistan, especially in the province of Punjab which is the largest Pakistani province population-wise (almost 56%). Most present day well known Pakistani Urdu poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, playwrights, journalists and intellectuals are descendents of sons of the soil. In fact the MQM has de-intellectualized urban Sindh to the extent that today even the educational institutions located in these areas are known to have degenerated into training grounds of personnel for MQM’s militant wing.

Mr Altaf Hussain lives a semi-luxury life in an upscale London precinct while his followers subsist in the ghettoes and shanty towns of urban Sindh where even simple civic amenities like drinking water, electricity, sewerage system, transport etc., are bought and sold like precious commodities with impunity by mafias set up by ‘Namaloom Afraad’. Crime rate in the localities known to be political strong-holds of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement are perhaps the highest in the country. Target killing is a daily norm of these localities. With the help of what has come to be known to be its militant wings, the MQM can bring the entire urban Sindh to a stand still for any number of days. The usual drill is to give a call for the strike a day before and early next morning the entire cities are terrorised into shutter down mode by firing in the air by ’Namaloom Afraad’ in selected localities.

All the members of the MQM Rabita (Co-ordinating) Committee consisting of more than two dozen persons and over 10 persons belonging to Tanzeemi (Organisational) Committee plus MQM MNAs and MPAs travel to London more than twice a year to pay their homage to their Quaid on the excuse of attending the foundation days of the APSMO and that of the Party’s and on other occasions to attend the Quaid’s birthday or that of his daughter’s. Even the richest multinationals are not known to enjoy such a luxury. No one in Pakistan dare ask how these trips plus lodgings and boarding in one of world’s most costliest cities are financed. And when his divorce proceedings were being conducted in a court of law his former wife is alleged to have demanded half of the allegedly about 10 costly properties, some in his own name and some in the name of people like Anwar Bhai and others as trustees. She is also said to have alleged that suit cases full of currency notes used be brought by Anwar Bhai and others to the house. She is alleged to have demanded half of this money as well. People who know the details claim that it was Rehman Malik who rescued the MQM Quaid from this predicament and had the matter settled for a million pounds and a house with the proviso that the two parties would not disclose to public any of the court proceedings and the terms of settlement. However, it seems the London law enforcement agencies while investigating Dr Imran Farooq’s murder mystery had stumbled upon these court proceedings, therefore the raids on the houses owned by the MQM Quaid and discovery of his unexplained wealth.

Recently, former Chief of Army Staff General (Retd) Aslam Beg claimed that the MQM was created by the late President and COAS General Ziaul Haq. Those who confirm the claim said Zia used the MQM to crush the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) launched in early 1980s against his regime and also used its services to side-line the PPP which had become too hostile against him following the hanging of its chairman Z A Bhutto. If so then why did Asif Nawaz, the successor of Aslam Beg, go hammer and tong against the MQM in 1992. And then why was it rehabilitated to contest the 1993 Sindh provincial polls. Next, the MQM is seen being hounded and persecuted by the then Interior Minister the late Naseerullah Babar. But again we see the Party rehabilitated to participate in the 1997 general election and help PML-N to form government in Sindh as well by converting PPP’s majority into minority. But again we see the establishment going after the MQM attributing to it all kinds of crimes being committed in Karachi and other parts of urban Sindh. However, as soon as Musharraf stages his coup the party is once seen again rehabilitated politically and is seen once again helping the then ruling Party, the PML-Q in forming its government in Sindh by converting PPP’s majority in the provincial assembly into a minority. Since the 2002 elections it has remained part of the ruling coalition—first with the PML-Q and then with the PPP until 2013 and with the latter it had remained a coalition partner in Sindh until the two fell out last year. One could clearly see from the above that since its creation it has been used by the Army whenever it needed to sideline the mainstream political parties. But interestingly, the Army was also seen to have persecuted the Party whenever it felt the MQM is transgressing the ‘limits’ imposed on it by the establishment. This is the fourth round against the Party by the Army. One would not be too far off the mark to assume that it is the creator itself which is in the best position to tell if the current persecution of the MQM is the final round or is it only an attempt to cut it down to size to be used at some future date to promote some new political agenda of its own.

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