The mysterious entry of one of the Muttaheda Qaumi Movement (MQM)’s founding members, Saleem Shahzad, set Karachi’s political parties to wondering why the politician had chosen to return in such volatile circumstances.
Shehzad left in 1992 in order to avoid action against him in the Karachi operation ongoing at the time, and returned to the country after a 24 year long self imposed exile on Monday. He was taken into custody by Malir SSP Rao Anwar from the Jinnah International Airport (JIA) upon his arrival in a case related to the provision of medical treatment and shelter to alleged terrorists.
On Tuesday, Shahzad was produced before an anti-terrorism court (ATC) which had issued his arrest warrants. The court then sent Shahzad to jail until February 18.
“He didn’t make any contact with any party leader before his return to the country,” Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly and MQM-Pakistan leader Khawaja Izhar-ul Hasan claimed.
“I don’t understand why he is here. He did not take me or any other party leader into confidence before returning,” Hasan maintained. “Shahzad is among the founding members of the MQM and we will his every legal demand of his, such as the provision of medical facilities in jail,” Hasan added. Shehzad is a cancer patient, which makes his return all the more confusing.
His political career
In 1979, Shahzad, a student of Urdu Science College, joined the Mohajir Student Organisation. In 1984, he became vice chairman of the newly-found Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) and three years later, he was elected as a councillor in the local body polls.
He was elected as a member of the National Assembly twice in 1988 and 1990, and left the country following the start of a military operation against the party in 1992. He was sidelined by Altaf Hussain, the party’s founder leader, in 2010. From 1992-2010, Shahzad served as a Coordination Committee Member for the party.
In 2014, MQM revoked his party membership when he pointed out a corrupt lobby within the MQM. In 2006, Shahzad wrote a book titled Shahoor Ka Safar to shed light on the creation of the MQM and growth of the party from June 11, 1978 to June 19, 1992.