Altaf Hussain’s ‘halo’ has disappeared
Muhammad Jamil


Altaf Hussain should do a bit of introspection whether he did any service or disservice to the descendants of those who had waged a struggle under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam for a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Pakistan-dominated Karachi Metropolitan Corporation council unanimously passed a resolution against Altaf Hussain on the 27th of September for having delivered an incendiary speech on the 22nd of August 2016. This shows that Altaf Hussain is losing ground even at the grassroots level. Last Wednesday, MQM Pakistan leader Syed Sardar had presented a resolution in the Sindh Assembly to initiate treason proceedings against Hussain under Article-6 of the Constitution, which was passed unanimously. On the 2nd of September, the National Assembly had unanimously approved a resolution moved by the government against MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s August 22 anti-Pakistan diatribe.
In a tweet the other day, Altaf Hussain stated: “I wish to bring to your notice that I supported them [Farooq Sattar and others] to maintain unity in the party; but I did not know that they will remove the name of their Quaid from the constitution.” He delegated his powers to Nadeem Nusrat, and asked the senators, MNAs and MPAs to immediately resign and seek a fresh mandate. He also advised his party activists that if anyone of them faced problems or threats he should go into hiding or into exile, but should not bargain away his conscience and blood of the martyrs. Nusrat has also been tasked by Hussain to form a new MQM.
In fact, Altaf Hussain himself is to blame for the disintegration of the party due to his idiosyncrasies and for heaping insults on his party leaders. In March 2015, Hussain had not only suspended Faisal Sabzwari but also ordered him to present his resignation as an MPA. Earlier, Hussain had criticised his party leaders Farooq Sattar, Khushbakht Shujaat, Faisal Sabzwari and a few others who did not defend him the way it ‘should’ have been done.
Hussain has been shrewd as well as lucky in weathering storms that could have disintegrated the party. He took full advantage of the situation during Zia-ul-Haq’s era when the general wanted to demolish the Pakistan People’s Party. After Pervez Musharraf overthrew Nawaz Sharif government, what he said, in a counter-coup, he sought the support of the MQM. The MQM had thrived during military regimes, yet Hussain badmouthed military and other institutions and always got away with it. In May 2015, Hussain in an apparent reference to the fall of Dhaka had said: “The youth should get arms and commando training... If RAW can help provide us arms, we will then tell those who have arms.” However, Hussain is in real soup after Mustafa Kamal’s tirade against him, and MQM Pakistan’s parting ways with the London MQM. The split seems to be real.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s interior ministry sent a reference to the British government against the MQM founder Hussain after he delivered an anti-Pakistan speech on the 22nd of August 2016 that led to violent protest in Karachi. Two weeks ago, the British government forwarded to the London Metropolitan Police the reference sent by Pakistani government. British home ministry’s official said that the police would examine the evidence submitted by Pakistan’s interior ministry adding that the British government would contact Islamabad if they need more evidence. The reference contended that Hussain not only violated Pakistani laws but also British and international laws on August 22. In the past, Pakistan had many a time pointed out that he was inciting violence through his hate speeches, but the British government turned a deaf ear to such verbal references. This time around, the British government has responded to Pakistan’s written request, and forwarded the reference to the Metropolitan Police.
The MQM since its establishment faced many allegations of stirring violence, denying space to other political parties in Karachi and for its efforts to destabilise Pakistan. After last year’s BBC’s documentary and report, the party seemed to be in real trouble, as two senior leaders of the MQM told the UK authorities that they received funds from Indian government. UK authorities while investigating the MQM for alleged money laundering had searched party premises and residence of Hussain, and among other records found a list of weapons for which order was placed and partial payment had also been made. Reportedly, British authorities had formally recorded interviews with two senior MQM officials who confessed that the party was receiving funds from India. Hussain had delivered many hate speeches against his opponents and law enforcement agencies. He has been preaching violence against his opponents since the time he formed the Mohajir Qaumi Movement.
Hussain and the MQM leaders claimed that they were scions of the most civilised people of Delhi, Lukhnow, Aligarh and Allahabad of India, who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and later. Odious calls of Hussain or his diction could be described anything but civilised. Mirza Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, Altaf Hussain Hali, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Hasrat Mohani, Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq and many others had indeed contributed to the development and promotion of Urdu language, and enriched the culture. Founders of the nation including Urdu-speaking leaders in their struggle during the British Raj never used foul language, and their demeanour was reflective of statesmanship. After formation of the MQM, its very first target was Sindhis who had given the refugees lands in Sindh, and established for them the PIB Colony and other residential areas in Karachi and Hyderabad.
Altaf Hussain should do a bit of introspection whether he did any service or disservice to the descendants of those who had waged a struggle under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam for a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. He has to realise that Karachi is a port city, and like elsewhere in the world, workers from all regions and areas of the country go there to earn a living. Karachi is not only for Urdu-speaking people, but also home to Punjabis, Baloch, Sindhis and Pashtuns who have given sweat and blood in development of this mega city. It was ironical that the party that had been in power and enjoyed perks, privileges and powers of governance for more than three decades could stoop so low as to denigrate country’s institutions, and play in the hands of enemies of Pakistan.