Altaf Hussain in real soup
A resolution, condemning MQM Chief Altaf Hussain’s remarks against the army, was passed in Balochistan Assembly on Saturday. The resolution was tabled by Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti and supported by both government and opposition parties. The resolution demanded of the federal government to place ban on the fascist party that has taken Karachi as hostage. Early Friday morning Altaf Hussain, in his address to MQM workers who had gathered at Nine-Zero, had criticised the army. DG ISPR Major-General Asim Bajwa in a series of tweets condemned the remarks made by MQM Chief Altaf Hussain about army and termed them as “uncalled for and disgusting”. He said legal action would be taken for such remarks and the use of media to incite the people of Pakistan to rise against the state.
In an apparent reference to fall of Dhaka, Altaf Hussain had said: “Those who surrendered are called patriots while the founders of Pakistan are dubbed as traitors. The youth should get arms and commando training….If RAW can help provide us arms, we will then tell those who have arms.” However, Altaf Hussain on Friday tendered unconditional apology for his statement about army, adding that to seek assistance from Indian intelligence agency RAW was just satire. “If my statements have hurt the sentiments of the national security forces, I apologize”, he said. Immediately after Altaf Hussain’s address to MQM workers, the MQM’s Rabita Committee as usual tried to clarify that the party chief Altaf Hussain had not criticised the military leadership. But such shenanigans would not work, as the entire nation had listened to his outbursts and vitriolic.
Meanwhile, almost leaders of all political parties condemned Altaf Hussain’s remarks. Having faced strong criticism over his comments regarding the army, Altaf Hussain, in a statement released on Friday evening said that he never intended to disparage the government or any respected institution, and regretted that his speech had not been fully understood and was considered completely out of the context. This is an insult to the intelligence of the people, who understand his gimmicks and shenanigans. Yet, he had the audacity to say that after tendering a sincere apology, he was being condemned and criticized. The question is how long he will continue to denigrate Pakistan’s institutions and armed forces, and get away with it? Apart from allegations about killing of opponents and involvement in extortion, there is a long list of his reprehensible acts of MQM and its head honcho.
In April 2013, a month before general elections, Muttahida Qaumi Movement had approached the United Nations with the request to play its role to ensure free and fair elections in Pakistan, which were scheduled to be held on May 11. The MQM’s US Chapter central organizer had submitted to the UN a memorandum against the Election Commission’s decision for delimitation of some constituencies in Karachi. Urging international community like UN to use its influence for holding fair and free elections and putting pressure on ECP to stop pursuing the process of delimitation of constituencies in Karachi was despicable act. The self-exiled MQM chief who has lorded over his party from London for over twenty years now, has a habit of making incendiary speeches; inviting patriotic generals to take over, ridiculing the Supreme Court, ordering the shutting down of Pakistan’s commercial hub from distant shores.
He utters such extreme remarks whenever his party’s stake in the power pie is threatened. It has to be mentioned that the MQM has been in power and enjoyed perks, privileges and powers of the governance for decades. It was in coalition with the PPP in federal cabinet and Sindh cabinet. It was once in coalition with the PML-N government; yet its leaders talk about sense of deprivation of Urdu-speaking community. MQM had thrived during Zia’s Martial Law as well as during Musharraf era, because Altaf Hussain is a master strategist and he knows to turn the tide and sail with the winds. Of course, after a military rule, it has always been a change of dress from the khaki to civilian robes, but the power dispensation stays elitist, privileged and autocratic, with a few hangers-on getting into this exclusive club by hanging on to coat-tails of the dynasts and their henchmen. The people remain denied and deprived; however the MQM continued to get its share of the cake.
But there is a lot more to that. Investigation is being carried out against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain by London Metropolitan Police on charges of money laundering and provocation to torture and life threats to his opponents. Police had seized 400,000 sterling pounds from Altaf Hussain’s residence and office. The investigation into former MQM leader Imran Farooq’s murder is also underway. It appears that this time round, MQM is in serious trouble. Following the ISPR’s sharp reaction to MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s fiery speech on Thursday night, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued on Friday show-cause notices to 14 private TV channels and barred all channels from airing inflammatory content. On Friday evening, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting wrote to Pemra, asking the regulator not to allow the live broadcast of “hate speech” by political leaders. Let us see how these orders are implemented.
The question is whether Altaf Hussain will be put in the dock? Meanwhile, Pemra has already issued notices to 14 TV channels, and also instructed them to stop airing hate speeches. But it appears that pragmatism will take precedence over principles. The problem is the PPP is scared of the MQM’s potential of stirring violence in Sindh, which is why it has not strongly condemned Altaf Hussain for his remarks. Leader of the Opposition said that after Altaf Hussain’s apology, the controversy should end. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s apology over his unsavoury remarks against the army was a ‘good gesture’, adding that one should think twice before speaking on sensitive matters, especially those of national importance. However, resolutions should be passed in the National Assembly, three provincial assemblies and also senate. As suggested by DG ISPR, case must be registered against Altaf Hussain.