MQM Future (Daily Times)

MQM in need of metamorphosis

Once again the MQM is in the midst of a storm. Political pundits are having a good time, at the prime-time, guessing whether this most controversial political party will come through the storm or it would be considerably weakened.

Logically, references are being made to the unsuccessful bid by the establishment to bury MQM in the summer of 1992. But a number of factors have changed since that attempt 24 years ago: The splinter group launched recently is led by Mustafa Kamal, a softer face of the MQM, compared with the attempt in 1992 when the protégées were two militant leaders– Afaq Ahmed and Amir Khan; Fear of MQM has evaporated as it has been de-fanged to a considerable extent by the ongoing operations in Sindh; Altaf Hussain’s ill-health has loosened his grip over the party; 24/7 television now plays an important role in perception building; and MQM’s weak defense against the allegation that it was funded by RAW is also going against it.

But the allegation that MQM’s London Secretariat was getting funds from India and its militants were trained there is proved in the court most of the party cadre is not convinced. The charges regarding funding from India are part of the money laundering case in the UK courts. The chances that the British will go ahead with it are very slim. Britain is not likely to upset its friend India by proving that they have been finding a party in Pakistan. India is using influence on 10 Downing Street to keep its name out of MQM’s money laundering case.

Back in Pakistan people who have memory of the political history are aware of the fact that whosoever disagrees with the establishment’s narrative has been branded as an Indian agent. Probability of Indian intelligence buying support in Pakistan’s disgruntled political and militant elements is as strong as our intelligence supporting the similar elements across the border, or as Israel spending on lobbying in the US.

Establishments have a history of divide and rule. The British tactfully supported communal politics in India to weaken the movement against the colonial rule. Gen. Ayub Khan divided Pakistan Muslim League in 1962 to get the support for his dictatorial rule. His administration also divided the people of Sindh into Mohajirs and Sindhis in the 60s. Gen. Zia tried to create a parallel Pakistan People’s Party to counter Bhutto. Following the strong movement for the restoration of democracy in Sindh, Zia’s government supported the newly formed Mohajir Qaumi Movement under Altaf Hussain. Gen Musharraf carved out PML-Q and People’s Party Patriots with the support of Punjab Rangers. History has shown that all these attempts of political engineering by the establishment gave short-term tactical advantage to them but at the end of the day was proved counter-productive.

MQM is a well-organised cult around Altaf Hussain. Cultism followers see the demigod from the distance and are devoted to the personality. Those who are around him and manage the cult usually see through the demagogue but continue to serve because of their own vested interest. Such cults split into many factions once the demigod has gone.

The problem with the MQM is in the basic political formulation of the party. It is based on the perceived injustices to the immigrants from India after partition of the subcontinent. The definition of Mohajir coined by its leaders when it was formed was: the people who migrated from India and no part of their province was included in Pakistan. This excluded the bulk of immigrants who migrated from East Punjab to West Punjab. Most of the migrants from provinces other than West Punjab were Urdu-speaking settled in three cities of Sindh. The first decade after partition they enjoyed to be the part of the ruling elite. After the first martial law, gradually their influence started declining and their position as junior partners of Punjabi ruling classes was taken over by the Pashtuns. Still their share in the government and private sector jobs was many times more than their ratio in the population of Pakistan.

After the breakup of the One Unit curse in 1972 the natives of Sindh got power in Karachi for the first time. They were shunted out of their priced city, Karachi, soon after the birth of Pakistan, as the city was declared a federal capital and the provincial government was moved out. Thus the Urdu-speaking who were 7.5% of the country’s population started resenting the decline of their power and the rise of Sindhi ruling and middle classes. This conflict has been ongoing and the tussle for control over cities has made Karachi a hotbed.

MQM has successfully garnered the support of the Urdu-speaking who are bitter about some real and some perceived injustices. By fighting it out for control over urban Sindh they have fought against all the major ethnicities residing in the province. This has isolated it and has made it a target by all. In 1988 they made an alliance with PPP but within a few months MQM fell out asking for a much bigger share than what was realistically possible. It then joined Nawaz Sharif’s PML government in 1990, but left it in 1992, lack of prudence resulted in a major operation by the establishment. It has failed to be a reliable and consistent ally of any elected government. The only time it had a long partnership was with the military government of Gen. Musharraf.

In a most probable scenario MQM will survive the present tempest, but much bruised. It is high time MQM should purge itself from the militants and accept the reality that Karachi is a multi-ethnic city with around 45% Urdu speaking. So the power has to be shared democratically. And should declare themselves as ‘Sindhis by option’, instead of pitching themselves against the local population.

The writer is a freelance journalist and author. He can be reached at

  1. #1 by Aslam Sanjrani on April 20, 2016 - 8:00 pm

    Two important historical points missed – ONE, Why and who were its initial patrons !! And TWO, funding – initially their funding came from where !! Partly from volunteered donations; Partly through pressure tactics; Partly from – do your pick ! And a sizable through crime ;

    And the master minds were none other than the two you have mentioned; and there is reliable proof in the shape of corpses in BOORIS and this culture was introduced not by the MQM but by the splinter group led by the splinter group. This culture, caught on subsequently, is another story. The katchi clustered abadi around the Lyari within the precinct of the the FB & Lalukhet areas was the safest if the safe haven and the crime hub.

    AGAIN IN SUCH A SMALL BRIEF, Excellent article with very worthy details Abounded, as usual, with COURAGE REGARDS

    Sent from my iPad

  2. #2 by Sacha Bacha on August 12, 2016 - 3:46 pm

    Unfortunately a biased article..The strengths of MQM are reflected stright away …Lets not blame the writer but mandatory to showcase few vital points:-

    1.1967 :- In 1960 a Karachi Sooba Tehreek generated from this metropolitan MQM wa not even in the minds those days…??how come people of karachi come up with this demand??simply because of injustice by all the political and right hand stake holders of Pakistan….

    2.Fatima Jinnah was killed on directives of some one and he was titled as first RAW spy…sound strange na??? MQM was not there too at that time…

    Can write so much but I think its not a forum to express my views however I would have appreciated it the writer would had enough courage to mention following :-

    1. All parties’s major and streamline politicians were leaked by PANAMA , how many were from MQM…?? No an single One..

    2. MQM won from Thappa system , what happened in NA-246 ,PS-121 , recently held by election at Lines area and above all Local body election ?? Rangers , POLICE , MEDIA all were inside and outside polling stations ,cameras were there but what happened then..Alhumdulilah MQM cleanly swept all the so called Aadhey Mohajirs…

    3,MQM was alleged that they have theft US & NATO weapons..USA its self reject this statement and all the license of weapons were submitted in courts..why don’t u highlight it??

    4. Aftab ahmed , mohammad bhai and as many as 62 workers were initially imprisoned and later on tortured to death…any single word on it Sir???

    5.MQM won Khi & Hyderabad with massive percentage what happened then??all the powers and budget were curtailed and now local government is not even empowered to clean the streets how many times you have highlighted this??

    Any how I think all biased mindset will never accept any point..for me Pakistan is first priority and Second priority is again Pakistan..I don;t have any other priority but I have enough courage to highlight illegal acts no matter done by MQM in Karachi , Non League in Model Town , Shirieen Rehman at Balcoh colony bridge on 12th May , ANP Bungsh did in Rabia city , PPP did and doing in Khairpur with PML (f) and list goes on..

    Culprits are everywhere they must be in MQM but it will not permit any one to maline reputation of whole party other wise we all know that how Mehran Base , Abbottabad assassination , PAF base etc were executed and who were involved in it..

    Lets deal things equally and impartially.. Lets make Pakistan prosper and growing by means of Justice…

    Allah Pakistan ki hifazet krey Pakistan Zinda baad , Pak Army Pai’nda Baad…ISI Shad baad…

  3. #3 by Aslam Qadri on August 23, 2016 - 10:20 pm

    The article is giving impression that what ever MQM has done in the past was on the behalf of establishment (army). and
    “Back in Pakistan people who have memory of the political history are aware of the fact that whosoever disagrees with the establishment’s narrative has been branded as an Indian agent.”
    please think carefully before what you write.
    i think only time MQM was effective in Karachi was Gen Musharaf time…… rest it was mess.

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