MQM fears at least 60 defections to rebel group

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As many as 30 to 60 sitting and former lawmakers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have been marked as ‘red’ by the party’s top decision-making body – Rabita Committee – for their constant absence from crucial meetings and sittings, and it is feared that they may join the rebel group led by Mustafa Kamal and Anis Kaimkhani anytime, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Wasay Jalil, the MQM spokesman, however trashes all such claims.

“These are all rumours or speculations. Remember the media had claimed Haider Abbas Rizvi, Faisal Sabzwari, Izharul Hassan would also join Mustafa Kamal-led party but all such claims were razed to the ground,” the spokesman said.

However, a well placed source in the MQM Rabita Committee told Pakistan Today that the party had marked those senior lawmakers for their close relationship with Kaimkhani and other rebels as well as for their absence from party meetings.

“These suspected elements also include sitting members of the National and Sindh assemblies, besides former lawmakers. Most of them have been inactive or remain absent after Amir Khan took over the party’s affairs,” the source added.

He also said that when lists were being prepared for the 2013 general elections, Kaimkhani, the then Rabita Committee convener, had got his comrades and colleagues accommodated against key posts. “Take the example of Iftikhar Alam. He was not a resident of Azizabad – the lifeline of the MQM – but he was nominated by Kaimkhani from this constituency due to his close relationship with him. When Kaimkhani was sidelined, Alam also left the country. He went to Dubai to live with his family,” the source argued.

Asked whether the rebel group also had sympathies of the party’s sector and unit in-charges, the MQM leader said that many former sector and unit in-charges were sidelined under Amir Khan.

“Since he (Amir Khan) does not have loyalists in all areas of Karachi and has support in Landhi, Shah Faisal Colony and some parts of the central district, some sitting unit and sector in-charges may be sympathetic towards the rebels,” the source said, but contended that Altaf Hussain would still be able to defeat the rebels as he lives in the hearts and minds of the people.

“Mark my words. Even if thousands of party workers join rebels, Altaf Hussain’s writ would remain unnerved in lower middle class and the poor,” he added.

Asked about the strength of Altaf Hussain among the poor, the party leader said that the party’s actual support base was the families of the martyrs, orphans and jailed leaders who received aid from the party in billions of rupees every month.

“Altaf Hussain is the only hope for them as they have no other source of income. Thousands of party workers have also been provided jobs in various departments of the Sindh government. So how they could defy the party chief,” the MQM leader asserted.

According to Wasay Jalil, the MQM spends millions on the welfare of its martyrs, their widows and orphans every month. “Millions are spent by the KKF (Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation) while thousands are given jobs,” he added.

Jalil compared the rebels to parachuters, and said they landed in Karachi with the help of the establishment. “They have big houses worth millions of rupees; carry huge convoys with double-cabin vehicles. Media needs to check and analyse which source they are getting all this money from,” he added.

The rebellion:

Of late, rebellion in the MQM was out of question: whosoever tried to stage a rebellion had to face consequences. From Azeem Ahmed Tariq to Dr Imran Farooq and from Amir Khan to Afaq Ahmed, either the party’s rebel was killed or had to live under constant fear until and unless he was pardoned. But this time around, it seems as if the fear factor is no more effective, with the presence of Army and Rangers a guarantee for peace in Karachi.

“Altaf Bhai knows well if any of the rebel leaders is hit in an accident, it is likely that the case is lodged against the MQM, with the recent incident of Mirpurkhas being an example. So, the party head has sent clear instructions to all: don’t even think of confronting the rebels. It’s not the right time to do so,” the MQM leader said.

Asked whether the party’s thunder squad had been dissolved, the MQM leader said that in no circumstances this would happen.

“They are the real enforcers of Altaf’s writ. They are the eyes and ears of the party chief. If they are gone, so is the writ of Altaf Bhai. But they have been told to either leave the country or remain underground. For the time being, the party chief wants no fuss. They can be called in if required,” the source added.

Altaf reforming himself, party after rebellion:

It seems that the recent rebellion in the MQM has badly shattered the otherwise strongman Altaf Hussain. He is fast reforming his habits as well as the party, keeping in view the criticism from his estranged colleagues.

“The good thing is that Altaf Hussain is improving. He is controlling his bad habits. He is behaving in his addresses which are more specific and to the point. Now he listens to others a lot. You can say he is on a rehabilitation process,” the party leader said.

Asked what led to a change in the MQM leader who had not changed when Azeem Ahmed Tariq and Dr Imran Farooq had rebelled, the party leader said that the party chief had been under the influence of a group and was being told the lies.

“This group used to flatter him. They would tell him that he was the best scientist, a top strategist, super genius, superhuman and had no match in speeches. That was why Altaf Bhai used to make speeches which brought embarrassment to the party,” the MQM leader said.

New faces to represent MQM:

According to the MQM leader, party chief Hussain has now given front role to those party leaders who could boost its soft image. “You would soon notice the party being represented by highly educated professionals like Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, Dr Nadeem Nusrat, Dr Farogh Nasim and others who have an immaculate character.

Meanwhile, the MQM leader said there was no truth in rumours that Altaf Hussain was in critical condition. “He is 64 now but he is not suffering from any fatal disease.” Asked whether or not the party leader had a last stage cirrhosis liver, the MQM leader said he had no knowledge of such a disease.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am not sure if my comments would appear. Since I wrote comments on PPP and they did not appear. Now I write of MQM and again the knife may be used. But I have my opinion. Coming to the topic. MQM, like PPP is fighting a lost battle. Altaf Hussain has enough to repent. 20000 MQM workers have been used like 'tissue paper' said Dr Saghir Ahmed. Is Altaf Hussain that naive that he is easily 'misled' by people around him and for decades ? Those who have lost their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers in the line of duty and have been ignored like the family of Saulat Mirza. MQM even disowned him. Even if : Aadat jaate jaate hi jaegi !

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