Cutting the umbilical cord


A turning point in MQM’s history?


For the first time in MQM’s history the party has declined to defend Altaf Husains’s anti-Pakistan diatribe and the attack by party workers on media houses in Karachi. Farooq Sattar instead condemned those who shouted anti-Pakistan slogans and vandalised the media offices. What is more Sattar picked up the courage to announce that the party in Pakistan was the real MQM and would henceforth take decisions independently of the leadership stationed in London. Referring to Altaf Hussain’s outburst against Pakistan Sattar said statements of the sort issued again and again have created problems for the party and it can no longer bear their consequences. By issuing apologies and ascribing the statements to mental stress that he was allegedly undergoing, Altaf Hussain made a laughing stock of himself and the party. He assured that never in future would statements of the sort be allowed to be announced from the party forums.


Farooq Sattar seems to enjoy the support of the MQM parliamentarians and members of the party hierarchy. In fact he held consultation with them before proceeding to hold the press conference. Several prominent party leaders were present at Karachi Press Club when he spoke. Quite a few others had already dissociated themselves from Altaf Hussain’s recent remarks through media statements. It must have been a difficult decision for Sattar to cut the umbilical cord, but this was the only way to save the MQM from legal proceedings and political isolation.


Farooq Sattar maintained a semblance of ambivalence by avoiding condemning Altaf Hussain by name. He even parried the question if he was supporting the ‘minus one’ formula. This was perhaps required in view of the party cadres’ sentimental attachment to Altaf Hussain. Hopefully the party leadership would persuade common workers that the decision was in party’s best interest. There is a need on the part of the MQM to also bid farewell to its militant past and act as a genuine parliamentary party.


  1. Dictatators rule by fear, Tyrants by tyranny and bullys bu bullying. Where does the Leader of the MQM fit in?. OK he has admitted health issues and admitted the need for treatment but this is not the first time he has said so. His incendiary statements cause material damage and loss of life which often resemble tsunami effect.His psychotic statements make millions of ,people esp. in Karachi feel anxiuos,unsafe and under suspicion.Is it fair? MQM has to take a hard look at itself. Is it fear or respect for the demogogue which lets him rule the roost? Is he irreplaceable. The grave yards sre full of people who thought so. The greater interests of the party and the country should be taken into consideration in deciding the future of MQM. The party should not only talk the talk but also walk the walk otherwise it's loyality to the nation will be rightly questioned. The rubicans has been crossed! History beckens. Let it not be said that you did not prove equal to the task..

  2. Thanks for a very balanced editorial. With Farooq Sattar having done, in consultation with other party leaders, what would have seemed impossible, it is now incumbent upon the army chief to ask Rangers to make way for the political process to continue. Emboldened by allowed to get away with torture and death of MQM worker in their custody, the Rangers went far beyond their mandate when they sealed MQM's (not a banned outfit) offices , and manhandled MNA Farooq Sattar in clear public view. Their tendency to take on the role of judge, jury and executioner is regrettable and must be checked.

    The good news is that even though belatedly, the MQM Pakistan leadership has unshackled itself from the grip of Altaf Hussain whose tantrums made life unbearable for MQM leadership. With ideal situation reached, MQM is unlikely to accept Altaf Hussain's Iron grip on party again – despite his exemplary sacrifices – more so when such a course is sure to result in many desertions from the party as confirmed by Barrister Farogh Nasim, and MQM is registered in Farooq Sattar's name, who is best suited to lead it


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