Is MQM in Troubled Water? Really?

Posted March 20th, 2015 at 11:57 pm (UTC+0)
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Behroz Khan

The powerful Mutahida Qaumi Movemnet (MQM) in Pakistan’s economy hub Karachi is passing through another difficult phase of its short but eventful political history. Launched in early 1980s for fighting the rights of the migrated Muslims of Pakistan, its leader Altaf Hussain is in self-exile in London since his party faced the first turmoil in 1992. Then PPP of Benazir Bhutto was in power and launched the clean-up operation against MQM, unearthing torture cells, stocks of sophisticated weapons and gangs of criminals throughout its stronghold Karachi, allegedly run by the MQM. The party was then known as Muhajir Qaumi Movement.
Mystery Shrouded Revelations Exposes Many:
This time, a target killer, Saulat Mirza, awaiting execution in Balochistan’s notorious Mach jail, has triggered the storm by levelling serious allegations against MQM’s chief, Alataf Hussain and other top leaders of the party, including the incumbent Governor Sindh, Dr. Ishrat-ul-Ibad Khan. Mr Mirza who was sit to be hanged this week, got an extension for one month, in a video message asked for delaying his execution in order to provide more information about the MQM’s involvement in target killings and mass murders. He committed to help the government to establish contacts with other party activists involved in heinous crimes who were willing to turn approvers.
The video has created a stir as well as questions. Not a single convict on the death row in Pakistan’s legal history, at least, has ever been provided with the facility for issuing a video message for public consumption hours before the execution. Mr. Mirza’s video statement might have reconfirmed the underground criminal network allegedly associated with the powerful MQM in Pakistan’s largest multi-ethnic Karachi metropolis but the tactic used could hardly be sold out to democratic forces in the country. The MQM leadership claims that it was the handy work of the country’s Interior Ministry under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to malign the party. However, official stand on the release of the video is that Sharif’s government was not aware of the recording or the release of the video.
Mirza in his stunning revelations alleged that he killed Shahid Hamid, chief of Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation (KESC) and others on the directives of Altaf Hussain. However, Altaf Hussain has claimed he never met Saulat Mirza. The convict Mr Mirza says he got directives from Altaf Hussain at the residence of Babar Ghori, former minister of trade and top MQM leader. He also alleged that Governor Ishrat-ul-Ibad was involved in protecting and facilitating MQM’s criminals.
What Went Wrong Between the State and MQM?:
Wana learn politics? MQM is the right academy. Political pundits in Pakistan are yet to discover why MQM is so powerful ally of the ruling parties and military in Pakistan since the repressive 11 year miliraty regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, himself a migrated Muslim from India. Mr Ibad is the longest serving governor of a province in Pakistan and he belongs to MQM. The party enjoyed a special share in the country’s power corridors since its emergence as a political force in 1988 while others faced music during Pakistan’s sloppy military, semi-military and civilian governments. And all of a sudden_the sky has fallen.
The Karachi-based para military troops_Rangers_ raided the party’s headquarters, arresting criminals and seizing weapons. There came the fiery reaction of Altaf Hussain from his ‘sanctuary’ in London. Pakistan’s para military troops lodged a report against Altaf Hussain for threating the forces. And then the video.
Will the Bug Stop at MQM?:
Yes and no. We already heard that PPP too has a Mr. Mirza, as MQM leader Farooq Sattar said while owning his own Mr. Mirza. “Everyone has a Mirza. If we have Saulat Mirza, you have a Zulfiqar Mirza,” Mr Sattar said.
A criminal, Uzair Baloch, the ring leader of Liyari Gang has levelled charges against former President Asif Zardari. He claimed that his gang was carrying out criminal activities on the directives of Zardari, co-chairperson of PPP. Neither PPP nor Zardari has so far reacted to Baloch’s allegations. Political parties have warned against conspiracies being hatched to defame politicians and divert attention of the masses from real issue_increasing terrorism in Pakistan.
Pakistani media has reported that Islamabad was in contact with London to exchange notes and seek each other’s help in facilitating Altaf Hussain’s would be extradition to Pakistan and handing over of the two witnesses allegedly involved in the murder of Dr. Imran Farooq in London. Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Ch. Nisar Ali Khan has been reported meeting British High Commissioner in Islamabad in this connection. Furthermore, Pakistan and Great Britain signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on extradition last year.
Who are Muhajirs?
The ancestors of Urdu speaking Altaf Hussain migrated to Karachi from India as a result of the division of sub-continent in 1947. Graduated from Karachi University, Altaf Hussain formed All Pakistan Muhajir Students Organization (APMSO) which was later transformed into Muhajir Qaumi Movement during Gen. Zia-ul-Haq’s Martial Law. MQM’s detractors claim that Altaf Hussain was systematically used by Gen. Zia to quell PPP’s protests after the execution of former Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1979. His execution was, however, declared as a Judicial Murder after more than three decades by Pakistan’s parliament during the former PPP government headed by Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani.
Pakistanis were angered when Altaf Hussain said in a video “the division of the sub-continent was not the division of land, but the division of blood” in a speech in India, Pakistan’s traditional foe.
The present wave of anti-terrorist sentiments is gaining momentum in Pakistan in the aftermath of the massacre of 152 school children and teachers of a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. Like Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and Balochistan, Karachi too is longing for lasting peace. The port city is marred by target killings, bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and the biggest city of the country has literally fallen in the hands of mafias, criminal gangs and terrorists. The worst sufferers are the common citizens, but Pukhtuns in particular.


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