Once again the Sindh Assembly was made into a playground for tit-for-tat politics. That latest in this war of resolutions is MQM – never too slow on the draw – tabling another one against Asif Zardari and Imran Khan for their respective ‘controversial remarks’ against ‘military and national institutions’. Now, after investing two days in ‘explaining’ Altaf Hussain’s latest offence (nato invitation this time), MQM leaders have set themselves on a fresh collision course. Would it not have been better if the party’s chief had not uttered such remarks from London? There would have been no resolution yesterday, and definitely no need for MQM’s counter that will ensure confrontation, instead of cooperation, in weeks and months ahead.
Obviously the party has not recovered from the Rangers’ raid and, of course, its aftermath. First it made threats, then it played the victim, and then its leadership made a series of provocative remarks against law enforcement agencies. And now there is this immature hide-and-seek; where the leader makes the strangest statements that his followers in Karachi try and spin, mostly unsuccessfully, into some sort of a dignified stance. Meanwhile, the noose tightens around some members both at home and in London, for different reasons.
It is clear that the Karachi operation will run its course. It is equally clear that a new MQM will have to emerge when it is over. Hopefully, those in charge will ensure this exercise is extended to other parties also; who are known to run militant wings and have been just as disrespectful, if not more, of the same sensitive institutions. But for now MQM will have to overhaul itself and reconnect with the people. Its political model of today will not work tomorrow. It must return to its roots, when its genuine connection with the people earned it the love and admiration of many. It can no longer be a party that is long on talk and short on action. And it can no longer afford to be distanced from the people.