The Kamal-Qaimkhani duet is here to sing AH’s swan song

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Will Mustafa Kamal and company trounce mighty Altaf Hussain and his cabal?

All is not right in Karachi. Everybody knows this as a gospel truth. All is far from even the remote semblance of being right in Karachi as the city is in chaos; sheer, complete, all-engulfing chaos and we are told that a serene dawn awaits round the corner by the gurus and saints who rule Nixon’s ‘idiot-box’ (for apolitical ones, Television) in our land. So, it is about time that we too indulge our existences in some ‘informed’ speculation while sitting idly in our ambiance laden drawing rooms, sipping piping hot coffee from a mug that reads, ‘To hell with politics, I support army’.

Let us start with the coming out of the much-speculated, much-desired and much-awaited ‘MQM’ of the muscly MQM. And since the return of K-town’s ‘Prodigal Son’ the ages old seams within the party are being telecast on live TV, 24/7.

Every day a fresh dissident enters the new company of ‘kosher’ saviours of K-Town who heard every evil, saw every evil but, they swear, never participated in any evil at all.

“Alas, how the mighty have fallen”, comes across as the most befitting line for AH in our times. The fortunes of beloved ‘Bhai’ have dwindled away. Now, not only the old grandeur and omnipotence has completely withered away but his very sons and brothers have turned against the once-mighty monarch. The former mayor and his associates are promising to atone for every sin ever committed and pay penance for all acts done by their former gaffer.

The duet of MK and AQ, along with their demons, desires and earthy doubts, have made an entry and are here to sing Altaf Hussain’s swan song. And the designs of their puppeteers from the look of it seems that this time around things will ‘go the whole hog’ for all times to come.

One can recall that during mid-2000’s MQM was at its zenith, the Governor Sindh and Mustafa K were in cahoots with each other and next mayor Karachi, Waseem Akhtar, then minister of local government was behind the curtains, away from all the applause and limelight. The mega development projects in Karachi were paddled as proof of impeccable governance of the educated political lot under the benevolent auspices of Altaf Bhai.

Governor Ishrat and Mustafa K were the winning race horses of MQM then. Those were the best of times. And the déjà vu-sensation one feels is that still they are the prized horses even in the worst of times. However, they’ve sacked their old master and the new master will remain a mystery, maybe forever.

Mustafa K vanished only to return, which he did and conducted a tears-filled, sobs-punctuated, really long press conference. From then on, till today, the stars of MQM universe started joining the ‘new regime’. Dr Sagheer, Waseem Aftab, Iftikhar Alam and Raza Haroon have jump shipped, and it is expected that many more will follow.

Karachi, before anything, needs hope. The MQM, since its inception, has mongered fear and is famed for dubious tactics to attract conformity. The fact that it has enjoyed more years in government than any other party couldn’t be overlooked either. Its top leadership held its positions and status at the behest of “Quaid-e-Tehreek”, who was away physically, but was aware of all that was going in and out of the party. Altaf Hussain’s closet is full of skeletons, like everyone else’s, but the dilemma of Altaf bhai is that his skeletons are rumbling back to life.

Now, the year is 2016, the Orwellian hold over power of Altaf Hussain is a tale of the past, his strong man Anees Qaimkhani has severed the umbilical cord and knows all the hush-hush stuff pertaining to the functioning of the party at large and it is an open secret that 75 per cent of all sector incharges are by his side. Anees Qaimkhani needs assurances, and it could be inferred from all that is going on that he has bagged them.

Gone are the days of the ‘chum chum’ business (slang term used for killings, executions and assassinations in Karachi). The reign and rule of Altaf Bhai won’t ever see the glory it witnessed. Bhai is ill, the youth of Karachi tired of unemployment, abject poverty, pollution, etc.

The mighty PTI having an MNA and two MPAs from Defence area in Karachi better prepare itself for many surprises in the offing as many of its voters hail from Urdu-speaking, muhajir background. A majority of these voted not because of sweet love of PTI but because they were frustrated with MQM supremo and his ways, coupled with lack of alternatives. Now, in the shape of Mustafa K — a former mayor, young, loyal, charged, clean, born-again patriot and most of all an Urdu speaking muhajir — is in the vicinity. And the sauceboat of PTI with its aloof, indifferent Kaptaan and a party that is utterly inert in Sindh needs to toil really hard to improve on what it has achieved and is gradually losing.

I don’t have a denouement this time as things are unclear at best and absurd. So, I better end my column on a wise man’s quote. The sage is Frank Herbert and the quote goes, ‘Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts corruptible’. May the new custodians unlearn all they’ve learned while serving the old one.

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