By Ayaz Ahmed
It is axiomatic that every rise has a fall. The MQM-which once ruled over bustling urban Sindh- is now in hot waters due to the recent anti-Pakistan vitriol of party’s long-time supremo Altaf Hussain.
The Mohajir-centric party is currently in a bed of thorns like situation chiefly on account of MQM’s honcho Altaf Hussain wrong-head politics of terror, extortion, militancy, homicide and his obstreperous emotions.
No doubt Altaf Hussain raised the party in 1984 so as to struggle for the legitimate rights of long-neglected Urdu speakers of Sindh. However, former dictator Zia-ul-Haq immensely helped Altaf Hussain establish the MQM in order to objectify the party as a counterforce against the rising PPP, which was under former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
The party was afforded sophisticated weaponry and a blanket immunity to create violence in Karachi and Hyderabad from 1985 to 1992. Though the 1992 operation greatly weakened the MQM throughout the 1990s, the Musharraf regime put a new life into it by providing it with massive development funds which the party mostly misused to purchase weapons and train hit men against the innocent citizens of Karachi and Hyderabad.
The MQM also gathered militant power during the corruption-ridden five years period of the PPP. From 2008 to 2013, unbridled militants of the MQM callously killed hundreds and thousands of people in volatile Karachi and Hyderabad to cultivate its politics of terror and militancy. To counter the bloodshed of the MQM, both the PPP and the ANP organised their rival militant wings to counteract the widespread massacres conducted by the professional killers of the MQM. These so-called democratic parties made Karachi a battlefield till 2013 to gain more and more stronghold in the city.
Today, the MQM is in a limbo due to some abundantly clear reasons. Since its inception, the party has been at the back and call of myopic and obdurate Altaf Hussain. He has relentlessly inculcated revengeful and hide-bound sentiments in the minds of Urdu-speaking residents of Sindh against Pakistan and its institutions. Therefore, a raft of Mohajirs were prepared to stage- manage instability and bloodshed in Sindh so as to achieve party’s nefarious objective of an independent state in the province. Mr Hussain’s histrionic behaviour coupled with his head-banging has cast the final blow to the party which once ruthlessly ruled entire Karachi and Hyderabad.
Moreover, being a mainstream party with adequate representations in the Sindh and federal legislatures, the MQM has remained wedded to its anti-Pakistan designs as its reason d’être to carve out an independent state in collusion with the infamous Indian secret agency, RAW. Altaf Hussain has insufferably called the creation of Pakistan a “blunder” and the country a sort of “incurable cancer” in his speeches which he delivered in India and Pakistan. The RAW funnelled millions of rupees and sophisticated arms to the MQM to orchestrate widespread and blatant bloodshed and instability in some parts of Sindh. It is a pity that the Musharraf regime and the PPP government tried to accommodate it rather than taking stringent measures to clip the militant wings of the party.
Since 1984, the MQM has been a democratic-cum militant political party. Being a long resident of Karachi, I personally experienced that the party provided tickets of MNA and MPA to those Mohajir hit men who had killed a range of people and collected the maximum extortion. If today partial murder investigations are conducted, a large number of MQM parliamentarians and members of dormant local bodies will be found to have killed scores of people in Karachi and Hyderabad.
In its heyday, the MQM, along with the ANP and the PPP, made the life of citizens in Karachi miserable and pathetic through wanton homicide, extortion, abduction and forced shut-down. The leaders of the MQM wrongfully thought that they would continue to rule over Karachi with impunity for many decades. Today, most public sector entities in Sindh’s urban areas are overcrowded with unskilled and inexperienced workers of the MQM and the PPP. Moreover, many thousands of ghost employees of these parties are drawing salaries from the faltering provincial purse. Funds for the development of Karachi and Hyderabad have been diverted to London or used in militant activities in the provincial capital. All this mess needs to be corrected on an urgent basis.
Now it is the time the government should launch an impartial investigation into murder, treason, corruption and nepotism cases of the MQM, PPP and ANP in Karachi. Those found guilty of criminal vices should be stringently punished. However, the competent and honest leaders of the MQM should be provided with space and opportunities to reinvigorate the party on strong footings.
The writer is editor of The Asia Watch.