WEB DESK: MQM’s London-based leadership still finds it hard to believe that the party could disown its undisputable founding leader. In fact, until he made his offensive August 22 speech against Pakistan that was something inconceivable.
Altaf Hussain brought it upon himself when he delivered a tirade against the country from his London home, saying things that are an affront to all Pakistanis and need not be repeated. He had been making provocative remarks before, and apologizing later. Once again, he apologised “for my remarks against Pakistan, the Establishment, including General Raheel Sharif and DG Rangers”. But this time he had gone too far, and had to pay a price for it. For, no one is bigger than the country.
Why did Altaf Hussain think he could disparage Pakistan using hateful language and continue to lead an important political party in the same country, defies logic. Its logical outcome though was for the Karachi-based leadership to distance itself from him.
But some senior leaders, including the Co-ordination Committee Convenor Nadeem Nusrat continued to defend him from the safety of London, creating problems for the committee members in Karachi, including Farooq Sattar in whose name the party is registered and he now heads. Accused of maintaining liaison with London, MQM-Pakistan felt compelled to make a clean break with it, and also table a resolution in the Sindh Assembly against the party supremo, calling for his trial under Article 6 of the Constitution. In response Nadeem Nusrat while accusing Sattar of “taking anti-Muhajir decisions in the name of saving the party” has invoked the MQM constitution to announce dissolution of the entire party structure.
He has also asked MQM legislators to tender their resignations and contest elections afresh, arguing that they were elected in Altaf Hussain’s name. In response one member of the Sindh assembly elected on MQM ticket has already tendered his resignation to the party’s secretariat in London and it remains to be seen if anybody else will follow suit. True, most in the Muhajir community loved ‘Altaf Bhai’ and voted for him for protecting and promoting their interests. True also that the MQM legislators swore allegiance to him, but like all other members of the assemblies they first owe allegiance to the country where they live and do politics. It is hardly surprising therefore for Farooq Sattar to aver that the party had severed all ties with London since August 23, and that no lawmaker would quit his/her assembly seat.
It remains to be seen, however, if the MQM’s vote bank will remain intact at the next general elections. The challenge would not only be the exit of its charismatic leader, but also the breakaway faction, the Pak Sarzameen Party. Many prominent MQM members have joined it either because they were already disgruntled with Altaf Hussain’s style of functioning or – as suspected by many – were encouraged by the establishment to jump the ship, or still others felt free from the fear of retribution due to weakening of the party’s militant wing by the Rangers operations.
There are reports of a lack of mutual trust within the ranks of MQM Pakistan. In fact, Mustafa Kamal the self-appointed leader of the Pak Sarzameen Party has gone to the extent of extolling Farooq Sattar and asking him to quit the jester’s role that he is playing and join Kamal’s party. For now, the unthinkable has happened. Altaf Hussain has lost leadership of the party where his wish was the command of everyone associated with it.
Source: Business Recorder