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Altaf Hussain: Pakistan’s prize bluffer —by Dr Mohammad Taqi

“Mussolini is the biggest bluffer in Europe. If Mussolini had me taken out and shot tomorrow morning, I would still regard him as a bluff. Get a hold of a good photo of Signor Mussolini sometime and study it. You will see the weakness in his mouth that forces him to scowl the famous Mussolini scowl that is imitated by every 19-year old Fascisto in Italy. Study his past record” — ‘Mussolini, Europe’s prize bluffer’, Earnest Hemingway, The Toronto Daily Star, 1923.

While the discussion about who breached which river embankment and why goes on, Pakistan’s prize bluffer has attempted to breach the bulwark of democracy itself.

The undisputed leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Mr Altaf Hussain, has called for patriotic generals to take action similar to a martial law against corrupt politicians. Is this a cry for help from a bleeding heart or a vicious threat? The past record says it all. All the scowling, verbosity and thunder — part theatrics and part cheap imitation of the late Allama Rasheed Turabi — cannot hide an inherent insecurity that a chauvinist enterprise feels in a functional democracy.

Packaged to look like a statement made at the behest of the military brass, the sinister pot shot at democracy is a bluff by an arch-Bonapartist looking for a strongman to protect his fiefdom in southern Sindh. Add to it the August 20, 2010 meeting — a diplomatic routine — between Mr Hussain and the US State Department functionary, Bryan Hunt, and one has all sides thinking that the other wants a change of guard. But the timing could not be worse: Mr Hussain has added insult to the massive injury caused by the floods. On one occasion where the MQM had an opportunity to jettison its neo-fascist baggage and help the nation recover and rebuild, its leader has stuck to his myopic agenda pursued through intrigue.

The levels at which this call to topple democracy is heinous are too numerous to count. But consider Mr Hussain’s words: “If we have to choose between two evils, we will go for the lesser evil. If our generals are ready to take any initiatives against these criminals (politicians) who have looted and plundered this country, then we will welcome them.” Who is he appealing to, two generals, a few, or all the corps commanders? Is the recently reappointed chief of army staff (COAS) included or even the intended audience? If not, is he calling for a mutiny within the armed forces as well? And who is to certify the ‘patriotism’ of the potentially revolting officers? The demagogy a la Il Duce and the ‘captive’ audience of both glued to faceless speakers notwithstanding, Mr Hussain would have been well advised to think his too-clever-by-half instigation through. While Article 6 of the Pakistani constitution may not be of much consequence to such instigators, the top brass is not likely to look kindly at any turmoil within its own ranks.

While the disaster management efforts of the present government in the wake of the massive floods are shoddy at best, to call for a quasi-military rule in a country that has suffered four martial laws is to submerge it in a bigger deluge. Some have drawn comparisons between the current crisis and Cyclone Bhola in 1970 that devastated the then East Pakistan, the inept management that followed and the subsequent independence of Bangladesh. But the last straw that broke the camel’s back was not Bhola, it was the ruthless martial law imposed in East Pakistan. With bombs going off in South Waziristan and Kurram agencies, Balochistan completely alienated and more than five million Pakistanis without a roof, it is ruthless to inundate the nation with the threat of martial law.

Mr Hussain is not alone in pretending to be the bellwether for things to come. In the not so distant past his bitter rival, Mr Imran Khan, had claimed that he could ‘fix’ the terrorism issue, if given 90 days to lead the country. But 90 days by whom and under what mechanism, he did not elaborate. It may have been political bravado but his past credentials as the cheerleader of General Musharraf’s referendum certainly raised a red flag.

Tune in to a certain media outlet that has taken upon itself to undo the verdict of the 2008 elections, and one could hear the armoured cars roaring. After a relentless onslaught to discredit the elected government, this media group has organised a supposedly apolitical flood relief fundraiser in collaboration with Mr Imran Khan without any disclaimer about the latter’s highly divisive politics. Now, the flagship English daily of the group, in its editorial about Mr Altaf Hussain’s rant, has failed to categorically denounce the call to subvert the constitution.

Hemingway recorded in vivid detail the meeting he, along with other reporters, had with Mussolini, who was hoping to make headlines in thousands of newspapers the next day with his angry dictator looks. He reported for the Star: “Mussolini sat at his desk reading a book. His face was contorted into the famous frown. He was registering Dictator. I tiptoed over behind him to see what the book was he was reading with such avid interest. It was a French-English dictionary — held upside down.”

The changing dynamics of southern Sindh, especially Karachi, have got the MQM boss worried. The party that was about to ban the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from war-ravaged Malakand division from moving into Karachi and Hyderabad, has now been making muffled noises about the Sindhis taking refuge there. The MQM governor, who served under General Musharraf for five years, recently presided over a meeting to curb the influx of refugees, on security grounds. He would be hard-pressed to do so in a democratic set-up. The MQM is scowling to hide its weakness.

While the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has rolled over and is playing dead, Mian Nawaz Sharif has minced no words in condemning what is tantamount to high treason. Attempts to dislodge the elected civilian set-up in Pakistan will be met with stiff resistance and scorn at home and the world will not condone military adventurism. Holding the book of geopolitical strategy upside down, Mr Altaf Hussain has overplayed his hand; it is time for all democratic forces to call his bluff.

Postscript: Not surprisingly, Mr Imran Khan has now officially joined the seditious chorus to dislodge the elected government via unconstitutional means.

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Ali Arqam

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  • Fresh takes on patriotism Friday, August 27, 2010 Ayaz Amir http://www.thenews.com.pk/27-08-2010/opinion/

    Dr Johnson’s definition of patriotism—”the last refuge of a scoundrel”–although worked to death by being cited so often, has not lost the power to amuse. Read out the words and they still make you laugh. And it is this definition which comes irresistibly to mind when Altaf Hussain–Altaf Bhai to his teeming acolytes–calls upon patriotic generals to save the nation and strike a blow against feudalism.

    The trouble with this formulation is that the army when it moves does so as a pack, as a unified whole. There is no distinction between patriotic and less-than-patriotic generals. They are all on the same page, obedient to a single script. The distinction thus becomes irrelevant. Stripped off obfuscation, what the MQM leader is asking for is army intervention to topple the present system.
    Among the chattering classes–mercifully, irrelevant politically–there have been voices calling for regime change. But the drumbeat sounded by Altaf Bhai is the loudest and most unambiguous clarion call for Pakistan’s fifth military coup. MQM spokesmen, masters of the shrill and loud word and who have little to learn from Goebbels, are bending over backwards trying to explain what Altaf Bhai meant. But the meaning is clear. Wading in where others would have feared to enter, he has raised the first welcoming flag for the army to march into the political arena, all in the name of patriotism.

    Altaf Bhai is a master of impeccable political timing. Most of his formulations are well calculated. So a question arises regarding the purpose behind this bold invitation to Gen Ashfaq Kayani to step into the ring and take charge of matters? Has the MQM arrived at the conclusion that the Zardari party is over and its interests would be best served by correctly foretelling the future and aligning itself with what is coming?
    Even if there is some truth to this assumption the army command would have to be out of its mind to fall for this ploy and heed the MQM’s call. It takes little genius to figure out what the army distrusts the most. India, Zardari and the MQM top its list of suspicions, friend Hussain Haqqani and friend Rehman Malik coming a distant (very distant) fourth and fifth.

    True, Gen Ziaul Haq godfathered the MQM (as he did so many other chickens coming home to roost). But that was for the limited aim of containing or counter-balancing the Benazir Bhutto-led PPP in Sindh. Altaf Hussain is his own man and it would be grossly unfair to deny his leadership qualities. He has galvanized or, to use the currently fashionable word, empowered his community, making it the dominant force in Karachi and Hyderabad. His astute power play has also turned the MQM into a powerful force in federal politics.

    But it is equally true that the MQM has never been able to dispel the impression that the army and its ubiquitous intelligence agencies had a major hand in its birth and formation. Like most laboratory Frankensteins, however, it outgrew its makers, its growing power in Karachi setting it on a collision course with the army. But after Oct ’99 it was lucky in having a protector in Pakistan’s new strongman, later the country’s most outstanding contribution to the art of tin pot production, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

    When Musharraf was a senior staff officer in General Headquarters, the then army chief, Gen Waheed Kakar, used to call him “my MQM general”, because of his perceived sympathies in that direction. Musharraf lived up to this description when soon after his coup he cracked down on Altaf Bhai’s nemesis, Afaq Ahmed and his MQM-Haqiqi, and virtually handed over the keys of Karachi to Altaf Hussain.

    Altaf Bhai repaid the favour by becoming Musharraf’s staunchest ally. For Musharraf’s principal adviser, Tariq Aziz, MQM headquarters in London used to be a regular port of call. May 12, 2007, when the MQM, at Musharraf’s behest paralysed Karachi, setting off an upsurge of violence which left scores killed and injured, just to prevent Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry from touring the city, was a telling sign of the nexus between Musharraf and the MQM.

    But May 12 was a disaster all the same, doing nothing to improve the MQM’s image in the rest of the country. Instead the impression was further reinforced that the politics of violence was an integral part of the party’s ethos.

    But when Musharraf’s time was up the MQM quickly adjusted its sights and positioned itself for the new turn of events. Becoming a coalition partner of the PPP’s, it not only held on to its position as a key player in Sindh and at the centre but pushed constantly to acquire more advantage and expand its sphere of influence, in the process giving an entirely new meaning to the concept of extracting one’s pound of flesh. Shylock could have learned a thing or two from this virtuosity.

    Musharraf promoted and protected some of the worst thieves in the country’s history during his 8 1/2 years in power, virtually institutionalising corruption on a grand scale. The MQM did not seem particularly outraged. Altaf Bhai is now talking about an independent foreign policy and not bowing to American dictates. Strange that this line should be coming from someone who seemed perfectly at ease when Musharraf was creating a virtual cult dedicated to bowing to American dictates.

    The MQM’s outrage or rather bombast against feudalism is also a bit surprising. Feudalism is alive in interior Sindh and southern Punjab. It is a waning if not an extinct force in the rest of Punjab and most of Pakhtunkhwa. But in Karachi and Hyderabad a new kind of feudalism has taken root, with the MQM protecting its turf and preserving its influence in a ruthless manner now lost to the dying force of feudalism elsewhere in the country.

    Even as the country is drowning in the worst floods in Pakistan’s history, target killings continue in Karachi, their victims mostly the poor and the worst off along the social scale. This is a grim reminder of the kind of politics in play in Pakistan’s largest city and its commercial and industrial capital.

    Once called the City of Lights–how distant that time seems–Karachi now is transfixed by the evil eye, organised and systematic violence at the service of politics, violence an integral part of the city’s increasingly disordered skyline. Traditional feudalism, a curse in every other sense, was positively benign compared to this new feudalism empowered or rather entrenched in Pakistan’s southern reaches.

    To get a measure of this feudalism’s reach, and the aura it commands, we can look at another indicator. The media is free in all of Pakistan. It is less than free, its freedom tempered, in the afore-mentioned southern reaches. Hinting at things obliquely, talking in circles, is also an indication of this same power.

    This was always an inadequate government and its weaknesses stand further exposed in the present crisis. But to extend an invitation to the army to step in and take over is an exercise in cynicism unrivalled in our recent history. It amounts to playing politics with the consequences of the floodwaters spreading destruction across Pakistan.

    But there is still hope in that this gambit has been attacked from all sides, the MQM as isolated on this score as it was on the evening of May 12. Which only goes to show that even the best masters of political timing can sometimes miscalculate and get things seriously wrong.

    Tailpiece: If Altaf Bhai is the undisputed king of political timing, the undisputed master of the spoken word remains President Asif Zardari. In response to a tough question as he stood next to Senator John Kerry he opined, “I am not the government, I am governance.” A thought capable of sending anyone reeling. There are more gems in his latest interaction with foreign media persons in Islamabad: “I would love for them (meaning America) to love me as much as GM (General Motors). But then, GM is made in America and belongs to America. After all, I am another country…it’s not the sun that melts the glacier, it’s the rain…” and so on. But to get the full flavour one has to read the whole.

  • PILDAT terms Altaf’s statement unfortunate Staff Report
    Thursday, August 26, 2010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20108\26\story_26-8-2010_pg11_7

    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) has termed the MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s call to “patriotic generals to initiate martial law-like steps against feudal politicians” as inappropriate and unfortunate but at the same time indicative of the growing public frustration with weak governance.

    Altaf Hussain, founder and leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) made these comments in a telephonic address from London to a Workers’ Convention held at Lal Qilla Ground in Federal “B” Area, Karachi on Monday.

    PILDAT in a statement issued on Wednesday, agreed that there were serious drawbacks in current governance and some of the of high public offices holders might be involved in wrongdoing but its solution lies in putting in place an independent, effective and efficient system of accountability by creating an accountability institution free from political interference through the passage of a strong accountability law which had been pending before the National Assembly for the past two years.

    It stated that strengthening civilian and democratic institutions is the only way to ensure justice and fair play in society. Military rules in the past have resulted in the destruction of civilian and democratic institutions without any improvement in the quality of governance and rule of law.

  • ROVER’S DIARY: Extra-constitutional politics —Babar Ayaz
    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20108\31\story_31-8-2010_pg3_4

    If the MQM wants to fight against the remnants of feudalism, it should first join hands with the Left in rural areas and demand land reforms, minimum wages for the agriculture labour and return of agriculture land allotted to the generals to the landless peasants

    Writing on the politics of floods in my article ‘Politics of floods and meeting the challenge’ last week (Daily Times, August 24, 2010), I had concluded, “Let us hope when the monsoon clouds thin out, the Pakistani phoenix proves me wrong and it rises from the rivers of the country. Amen!” But before I could finish my four letters ‘Amen’, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM’s) supreme leader dashed my hope and threw in a highly controversial statement taking the politics of the floods several notches up.

    First let us recap the main points raised in his speech before analysing them. He declared: “We will support any such move made by the patriotic generals of the army on the pattern of martial law to abolish the oppressive feudal and tribal political system of the country and rid the country of corrupt politicians.”

    Speaking about foreign policy, Altaf Hussain said that the foreign policy of the country was not independent. We formulate our foreign policy by taking dictation from foreign powers. In contrast to this, our neighbour has a sound and effective foreign policy free from the taint of foreign influences.

    He praised the army as an institution that has always been sacrificing for the country but also criticised it for sacking democratic governments at the whims of a few generals. He asked: “If they can dismiss elected governments to extend their rule and that of corrupt politicians, then why can they not take any action to root out the menace of corruption and abolish the oppressive feudal system from the country?”

    Now let us discuss these three major points of Mr Altaf Hussain’s speech. The strong reaction against the suggestion of any ‘pattern of martial law’ has been outrightly rejected by all political parties and the media. Only the MQM website poll shows overwhelming support of the idea, but then it is not surprising because most of the participants in this poll are likely to be party workers, who visit the site every day. The good thing is that all other political parties in parliament and outside did not support the invitation to the army. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N’s) Saad Rafiq was honest enough to admit in a TV discussion that though like the MQM his party had supported military takeovers in the past, they have learnt from their mistake and would resist any move to impose military rule. Unfortunately, the MQM, which has a strong middle-class base in Urdu-speaking Sindhis, has perhaps not learnt any lesson from the history of this country. In the past, naïve — or should we say conniving — politicians have played into the hands of the army to destabilise an elected government and then to invite the so-called ‘saviours’.

    Political issues should be settled within the framework of a constitution. The MQM has a right to leave the ruling coalition, gather support of the opposition and other smaller parties in parliament and submit a no-confidence motion. But it has no right to call for extra-parliamentary measures by an army that is supposed to be an institution working under the Ministry of Defence. Unless we reduce it to an arm of the government and cut out its rule, the country would not be able to develop as a democracy.

    Undoubtedly the army has played an important role in the flood relief and rescue efforts, but this is in aid of the elected government because they have been commissioned to assist. The funds for these efforts are not coming from the heavens to the army, but are being billed to the government. But the credit for building an image that the army is doing relief and rescue work goes to its excellently managed public relations team lead by Major General Athar Abbas. And also to a great extent to our TV channels journalists who are embedded with the army. On the other hand, the civilian federal and provincial governments have not been able to take the credit where it is due. Instead of projecting the relief work that has already been done, their untrained public relations teams only project the visits of the VVIPs and VIPs to the relief camps.

    So if Altaf Hussain has an impression that this is the time to attack feudal and corrupt politicians and invite the army because the image of the army is once more at its peak, he has misread the situation on the ground. I am saying this because the poor MQM leaders in the country, who have to justify an inappropriate statement of their leader, say that the statement was in reaction to the pain of the flood affected people being felt by their supreme leader.

    The slogan that the feudal and corrupt leaders should be removed may sound attractive to the people who do not think of the long-term consequences of inviting the third force. What Altaf bhai needs to study is Ayesha Siddiqa’s Military Inc. to refresh his memory that post-independence day army generals who have been allotted agriculture land are feudals. They are a shoe-in to the true definition of feudal because the land was allotted to them in return for providing their services to the armed forces. Was that not one of the major factors in the creation of feudalism?

    There is no denying the fact that there is a quasi-feudal system in southern Punjab and Sindh. But it is losing its feudal social grip not because any military ruler has contributed in the weakening of the feudal system. It is the Left in Pakistan that created the anti-feudal movement since the inception of Pakistan, and a feudal leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto amplified the message interestingly. So if the MQM wants to fight against the remnants of feudalism, it should first join hands with the Left in rural areas and demand land reforms, minimum wages for the agriculture labour and return of agriculture land allotted to the generals to the landless peasants.

    On the issue of corruption, it should be remembered that all the generals who ruled this wretched country came in the name of weeding out corruption, and all left us with a new set of corrupt officials and politicians. Interestingly, the middle-class corrupt bureaucracy who guides the politicians is seldom called to the deck.

    Lastly, the cack-handed statement blaming the political government for foreign policy was a surprise, as it came from a leader who knows well that all important foreign policy and national security decisions are made by the khakis he is inviting to take over. Can the rank and file of the MQM advise their leader to cool it please?! Such statements only damage the image of the party among saner people and make the task of defending him difficult by the party leaders on the ground. It also makes conspiracy theorists wonder whether he is market-testing for an army takeover.

    And lastly to an ‘ahlay zuban’ Altaf bhai, may I remind you of Mir Taqi Mir’s:

    “Mir kya saada hain beemar howay jis kay sabab;

    Usi attar kay londay say dawa mangtey hain.”

    (You are a simpleton Mir, the apothecary who made you ill;

    You seek remedy from his son.)

    The writer can be reached at ayazbabar@gmail.com

  • ALTAF HUSSAIN MIGHT NOT BE THAT WRONG

    Altaf Hussain has called the patriotic Generals to come forward and eradicate corruption. He later directed that the people who were made homeless or who lost their agriculture lands or crops due to breaching of the protective bunds by the Fuddles to save their own Havlies, Farms and lands, to capture the lands and houses of such Fuddles.

    A lot criticism has appeared that Altaf Hussain was calling Martial Law, who are “patriotic General”, Altaf Hussain himself is part of the same corrupt government, what he did to get rid of Feudal when he remained 10 years part of Musharraf etc. I am a common man. I am not aware of what is “practical” difference between Martial Law and the Democracy despite having seen both. I was of a few months when Pakistan was born. My late mother told me that she walked miles hungry miles bear foot crossing bloodshed she reached Lahore in a refugee camp. Now I am a senior citizen. During my life I saw four martial laws and democracies. My experience as a commoner is that it makes no difference for the people like me if a General rules or Nawaz Sharif or for that matter a Bhutto. Fate for us is the same; to concentrate on our daily livelihood, in the evening to listen the Karachi soon to become another Singapore, while every year my salary to increase Rs. 50 or Rs 150/- immediately cost of living increasing from Rs. 300 to Rs. 500, tax on petrol/kerosene oil which is never to affect the common man, my kitchen day by day becoming thin etc. However what I know as being a live member of this society is that the creation of PPP and later the MQM a sort of PPP extension (in relation to bhutta, distortion, recruitments etc) was in fact was the “punishment” from God for our individual and collective sins. I never like Altaf Hussain knowing well how from lower middle class my family has come to poor class and yet we have to dispense off “bhatas” in different forms to Altaf’s activists. For example on Eids despite not willing I will have to pay “Fitrana” to MQM workers when a knock will come on my door .which later being an ordinary faithful I will re-pay again to my satisfaction to some deserving.

    However it is the first time to a good extent I agree with Altaf Hussain calling patriotic generals to clean the corruption. His choice of words for the purpose may be another matter. This is the firm belief of this senior citizen based on his whole life spent in Pakistan and having no bank account or house abroad and more being a commoner that it is the Generals who can to a good extent provide justice to the common man rather than our minister, MNAs, bureaucrats. I have spent one third of my life near a Cantonment. In my childhood I saw that the army people were very innocent, kind heated, simple and helping hand towards suffering people. There was a time it was a big blessing if an army man was your neighbour or living in your street as it was a sure sign of protection of your family from street loofers. Today however I wish God no army personnel becomes my neighbour knowing well how it will be a 24 hour harassment for me, my family through the hands of children of such an army man. Perhaps I may not explain it properly but example of Presidential Brig. Taj is one to remember what happened to his family.

    However during the three Martial Laws what I saw is that these so called political activists trusted more on martial law authorities for their personal grievances needing justice rather than on their own so called democrats. In the 1968, 1972 and in 1977 Martial Laws I found it very interesting that those who yesterday afternoon participated in protest march raising loud slogans seeking so called democracy, the next morning in the office requested me to type their applications complaining against a builder who had received full money but not was delivering the flat, against one who had encroached upon on their lands, against KDA which was not issuing allotment letters etc. In my Office during 1972-75 as is always a usual since 1968 the time of birth of PPP, there were many PPP stalwarts (3 colour party identity card holders) who sat in office more than like SHOs. They occasionally for a while came to office, as one can see today any time during work hours 70% seats deserted in KDA. But whenever they came they wanted applications to be typed addressed to martial law authorities. The reason behind this as I observed was that the military officials working in civil, as far as the common man was concerned, had always been kind, judicious and strict in discipline. I read in an autobiography of a bureaucrat that during the martial law he was attached as secretary/staff officer to Karachi martial law administrator. The small length road from lucky star (Saddar Karachi) to Napier Barracks had always been neglected and broken as I myself in my youth saw it. During the 70s martial law one day the Karachi Martial Law Administrator passed through this road. When his car jumped twice he murmured what was this bloody road. The secretary listening this next day telephoned some KDA senior about it who stated that the road was within the jurisdiction of Cantonment Board. When the Secretary phoned them he was apprised that the road belong to the KDA. The Secretary, at his own, asked both the persons attending the phones at KDA and Cantonment Board that they both should come personally next morning 09.00 am and explained themselves to the Administrator on whose jurisdiction the road was. The autobiography records that the next day morning saw the road having fully been carpeted during the previous night. Who did it, KDA or Cantonment Board, the book did not reveal. Being an ordinary soul having seen the affairs I feel if in the mind of Altaf Hussain really is the speedy gradual deterioration of services, law and order, economic lootings, appointments of criminals, then his voice to the patriotic generals is very wise, timely and in the larger interest of the common and in true spirit of saving the country as at present unlike previously its very foundations are being dug.

    He has now directed that the people who were made homeless or who lost their agriculture lands or crops due to breaching of the protective bunds by the Fuddles to save their own Havlies, Farms and lands, to capture the lands and houses of such Fuddle. It is very easy for people like Altaf Hussain to advise others to capture the lands and houses of concerned fuddle. But he did not tell when the aggrieved on his advice will capture lands and houses then how to face and handle the situation vis police, private jugga force, abduction of family members who capture this land etc. Similar advices so often keep coming from others advising people to come out in the streets against the rulers but kith and kin of such voice raisers are never seen in the streets. Amin Faheem about three years back in the background of severe load shedding advised people not to pay their electricity bills. Electricity is cut if one does not pay bill for two consecutive months. It is four years that Amin Faheen’s house is still in lights in the evening clearly meanings he wanted only the ordinary people to get their electricity cut why he acting on his advice he could not dare stop making payment of his own home.

  • The assassination of Imran Farooq Rahimullah Yusufzai Tuesday, September 21, 2010 Shawwal 11, 1431 A.H.
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/21-09-2010/opinion/5864.htm

    According to media reports, the Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism command unit is investigating Dr Imran Farooq’s murder from different angles including a mugging that went wrong to a politically-motivated crime in view of eyewitness accounts that the man who stabbed him to death appeared to be Asian. A report even mentioned that the Pakistani Taliban could be involved in the murder, though the militants would likely target Altaf Hussain if they could because everybody knows who controls the MQM. Internal party rifts were also mentioned in media reports from London as an aspect that would be probed by the police to find clues to the murder. On his part, Dr Imran Farooq in the early years after his escape from Pakistan continued to voice concern that Pakistani intelligence agents could harm him. In fact, many MQM supporters would want this aspect also to be probed. Altaf Hussain has refused to return to Pakistan because he cannot feel safe in Karachi where some of his close relatives and many party colleagues were murdered. Dr Imran Farooq’s murder would effectively close the chapter of Altaf Hussain’s return to Pakistan.

    As a party that evolved from a students’ organisation, the MQM developed into a force that was often accused of involvement in violence with and against rival political and ethnic groups. It was more often identified with political violence than getting credit for its grassroots support among the people of the middle class. The turf battles between the mainstream MQM and the Haqiqi group of Afaq Ahmad and Amir Khan and the MQM’s ethnic warfare with the Pakhtuns, Punjabis and Sindhis reinforced its image as a party that employed strongarm methods to retain its control of Karachi. The murder of Dr Imran Farooq and, before him, the deaths of other party stalwarts such as Azeem Tariq, S M Tariq and Haji Jalal, could be seen as manifestations of the violence that has continued to haunt and, at times, define the MQM.

  • Imran Farooq’s murder linked to rows within MQM party- by Farhad Jarral 27 September 2010 http://criticalppp.com/archives/24436

    Imran Farooq’s Murder: Altaf may not return to lead the ‘revolution’ By Shiraz Paracha 19 September 2010 http://criticalppp.com/archives/23094

    MQM leader Imran Farooq assassinated in London 16 September 2010 http://criticalppp.com/archives/22940

    BBC Hard Talk : MQM Muhammad Anwar Part 1
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq36z52CwDk

    BBC Hard Talk : Part 2 MQM Muhammad Anwar
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXF0gCNEidU

    Altaf accuses foreign powers of plotting to eliminate him
    By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque Monday, 27 Sep, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/altaf-accuses-foreign-powers-of-plotting-to-eliminate-him-790

    Mr Hussain said the murder of Dr Imran Farooq was a link in the chain and news analysis and columns published in the international press gave a clear indication about which party and personality were being targeted. He referred to the BBC programme “Hard Talk” in which the host asked coordination committee member Mohammad Anwar why the MQM leader (Mr Hussain) had not been removed.
    “This has implications for the situation… what was the purpose of this question?”

    Saleem Shahzad expelled from MQM Rabita Committee Saturday, February 14, 2009 [The News and Jang] http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:daTZSTmCaXgJ:www.thenews.com.pk/print3.asp%3Fid%3D20309+aleem+Shahzad+expelled+from+MQM+Rabita+Committee&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=pk

    KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has expelled Saleem Shahzad from its Rabita Committee on account of his personal and secret activities and contacts. Besides, MQM activists have been asked not to contact another Rabita Committee member, Muhammad Anwar, on any issue.

    According to a press release issued by the MQM on Friday, anyone found contacting Saleem Shahzad would be expelled from the party. Similarly, the MQM activists have been directed instead of contacting Muhammad Anwar they may contact the Rabita Committee in Karachi or the party’s international secretariat. The party took the decision on the basis of Anwar’s suspicious activities and his disinterest in the affairs of the party, the statement said.

    Meanwhile, MQM’s senior member and in-charge of its Labour Division Anees Ahmed Khan, advocate, has voluntarily resigned from the basic membership of the MQM, the statement said.

    Another MQM statement said on the grounds of serious violation of organisational discipline and involvement in activities outside the organisation, the Rabita Committee had suspended the following activists of the All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (APMSO) for an indefinite period: Ejaz Qureshi and Mohsin Shahab (University of Karachi unit); and Mohsin Ahsanul Haq (NED unit). When contacted, MQM spokesman Faisal Sabazwari offered no comments, saying: “Whatever the MQM has to say in this regard, it has stated in the press release.”

    Saleem Shahzad expelled from MQM By Our Staff Reporter
    February 14, 2009 http://www.dawn.com/2009/02/14/nat3.htm

    KARACHI, Feb 13: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement expelled on Friday its senior leader Syed Saleem Shahzad from the party for his alleged ‘mysterious’ activities. The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the party’s coordination committee. A statement issued from the MQM’s London secretariat said any party member found in contact with Mr Shahzad would lose his membership.

    A former MNA and London-based MQM leader, Anis Ahmed Advocate, resigned from the party and stated that in future he would have nothing to do with the views and actions of the MQM, the statement said. Meanwhile, the MQM directed its workers not to contact Mohammad Anwar, another senior London-based member of the coordination committee.

  • Altaf Bhai ko 10 lakh insanon k samnay phansi pe charha daina chahye. Woh qatil zalim aur jaabir insan he. Khuda usay berbaad keray Dr Imran Farooq ki tarah. Lanti Altaf bhai ko ALLAH jaldi mout day Allah kray Altaf bhai jaldi mer jaen ta k Karachi aman ka gehwara ben jae AAMEEN SUMMA AAMEEN

  • Altaf Hussain is not a normal person his behaviour like a murderer and a killer.he is also a mental man,and also not a muslim. he has no sense he is senseless person.according to his violent behaviour he is a master blufer. shame on him.