MQM in Doldrums - By: Asif Haroon

The MQM under Altaf Hussain reigned supreme in urban Sindh from 1988 till March 2013. It expanded its political power by introducing the cultures of dead bodies filled in sacks, extortion, kidnapping for ransom, torture cells, target killings, no-go areas and strikes to paralyze the city. Despite its policy of fascism, terrorism, blackmailing tactics and imperiousness, and turning the city of lights into darkness, it was cajoled and supported by the two mainstream parties and the establishment owing to policy of reconciliation and political expediency. Ironically, it was also supported by intelligence agencies of India, Britain and USA for the achievement of their vested interests. The ruling parties didnít object to the illegal system adopted by Altaf to remote control his party with the help of International Secretariat after he fled to London in May 1992.

He is in exile for the last 24 years, but he hasnít visited Pakistan even once. He has maintained his communications with his followers on phone and video clips. No restrictions were imposed on his inflammatory speeches which he made for 20 years, or any eyebrows were raised when he delivered a highly objectionable speech in New Delhi in 2003. His anti-Pakistan speeches in March and July 2016 in which he ridiculed the Army and Rangers and sought the help of RAW, India and the UN were also overlooked. His dreary speeches inciting violence were tolerated till as late as August 22, 2016. Even now the Federal and Sindh governments have taken a soft approach.

Although operations were launched in Karachi in 1992 and 1995-6 to deal with criminal elements within the MQM, those were called off inconclusively and their sins pardoned. The MQM was politically strengthened by Gen Musharraf during his nine years rule, which enabled the party to strengthen its foundations at grass roots levels in urban centres of Sindh and gain control over 80% of the port city.

The MQM leadership grieved of socio-politico-economic grievances whether in power or out of power as a policy, which it had adopted at the time of formation of APSMO in 1978 and had become the basis for its birth in 1984. It used coercive methods and black mailing tactics to make the Sindh or Federal Government to accept its legal and illegal demands. Consequent to its non-cooperative attitude, it always fell out with the senior coalition partner much before expiry of the tenure. Its unrelenting malevolence forced all the political parties in opposition under the umbrella of All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM) to declare in 2007 that power will not be shared with the MQM in future. But the PPP under Zardari after coming to power in March 2008 made it a coalition partner, both in the Centre and in Sindh since both were beneficiaries of the infamous NRO. It is now no more a secret that the US and UK were the architects of NRO to bring Benazir Bhutto to power.

Posted on Nov 21, 16 | 3:13 am