Forgetting Altaf Hussain

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  • Such creations always become liabilities 

Head of MQM-Pakistan Altaf Hussain has always been reckless and unpredictable with his words. Apart from inciting violence, issuing death threats to rivals and giving kill orders on a regular basis from England, where he has been living in self-imposed exile since 2002, he has made statements that range from delusional to comedic all the way to downright treasonous. One can argue that since he is no longer a Pakistani by virtue of his British citizenship he cannot commit treason, but that doesn’t change the fact that he still has a significant support base in Pakistan; the Muhajir community for which the original MQM was founded. UK authorities have opened an investigation against Altaf Hussain for charges of incitement to violence for which he was arrested and is out on bail at the moment. This is why- as the ground beneath his feet shrinks- he has requested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for asylum and/or money. Perhaps he feels he can take advantage of the current tensions between Pakistan and India that could possibly lead Modi to entertain his preposterous request. His deteriorating mental health can be one reason for his inclination towards Indian help but Altaf has made anti-state speeches in the past as well, when he was relatively much saner.

One can only condemn in the strongest of terms what Altaf Hussain continues to spew but additionally and more importantly it should serve as another example to those who created the MQM and enabled it to become what it had at its peak: a killing machine unwilling to take dictation anymore. It necessitated two paramilitary operations over more than a decade in Karachi to finally rid the city of the violence and fear that Altaf Hussain thrived on. A similar experiment was conducted in Punjab as well with the creation of the Sipah-e-Sahaba that too had to be exterminated once it became a liability. Those followers who still support Altaf Hussain and choose to ignore his extreme transgressions should do some introspection and understand that their continued allegiance is actually what empowers him to operate the way he does. It is high time they forget Altaf.