Tag Archives: MQM


Over the past one week MQM chief Altaf Hussein has started suggesting that Pakistan should have 20 new and smaller provinces and that Sindh should also have more provinces. Earlier MQM had a stance that they do not want division of Sindh which they still maintain.

MQM is scared of rising popularity of PTI particularly in Sindh. This is the most serious political challenge that MQM is facing in urban Sindh, particularly in Karachi in its history. PTI has successfully penetrated those areas which were earlier considered as MQM stronghold and were virtually ‘no go areas’ for other parties. If fair & free elections are the results will be a total surprise and devastation for MQM. MQM is perturbed as its politics of gun has totally failed to deter the citizens of Karachi from joining and supporting PTI.

In order to neutralize PTI and diminish its popularity in Sindh MQM has played its trump card– the division of Sindh. MQM thinks that if PTI supports making of more provinces it will lose its support in rural Sindh and if it opposes the new provinces it will lose lose support in urban Sindh and Karachi. Someone asked Dr. Arif Alvi of PTI about this proposal of MQM to which he said, ‘ Make more smaller provinces in rest of Pakistan and leave Sindh for the time being, as it is a sensitive issue there”. Making this statement of PTI leader as an excuse MQM members staged a walkout from Assembly and have announced to stage a dharna at Teen Talwar Clifton Karachi on 21 Sept.

It is interesting to note that MQM is not protesting against PPP who always opposes the division of Sindh aggressively. MQM is not protesting against Noon league who do not have any plan for making more provinces anywhere not at all in Sindh. MQM is protesting against PTI who is not in power either in Sindh or in Center. They are protesting against just one casual statement of one of its leader which cannot be even termed as policy statement of the party. The sinister designs of MQM are very obvious to any neutral observer, particularly when Imran Khan is going to address a jalsa in Karachi on 22 Sept.

I expect PTI leadership to neutralize this conspiracy of MQM by making a clear policy statement on this sensitive issue. PTI should announce that they are not against making of new provinces in Sindh but it should be left to the people of Sindh to decide. PTI should also ask PPP (being rep of rural Sindh) and MQM (being rep of urban Sindh) to sit together, discuss the matter and form a joint commission that would decide about the number of newly proposed provinces and other related details. Once both the parties arrive at a conclusion PTI will have no reservation to support the plan.

If MQM is really serious (which I doubt it is as the past history of the party reveals) then the issue will be resolved without creating any ethnic and linguistic confrontation in the province. If MQM has floated this proposal just as a tool to trap PTI, it will be neutralized well and proper.

Written by   Akhtar Malik  on 20 Sept 2014



By Akhtar Malik

27 July 2013

1003483_687225897958828_1052467147_nIn an unprecedented move PML-N delegation went to MQM center 90 and requested for MQM votes in favor their presidential candidate Mamnoon Hussain. MQM announced unconditional support to PML-N. The ruling party has also offered MQM to join the government in center.

This development has come as a surprise to many. To me this is the biggest political tragedy that has happened to the nation within just two months of the change of government.

PML-N had no compulsion of entering into alliance with MQM. The number game is clearly in favor of PML-N, both at government and presidential level. PPP has this compulsion hence they had to oblige MQM at the peril of Karachi and Pakistan. It was PML-N who had been the most aggressive critique of MQM, its politics of violence and its alliance with PPP. Even while framing Charter of Democracy, PML-N had placed the condition that no party will ever make alliance with MQM. Doing exactly the same thing after coming to power by the PML-N is not understandable.

Elections 2013, whatever their status regarding the allegations of rigging be, had given a golden opportunity whereby MQM was deprived of its nuisance value of political blackmail. At the federal level PML-N was having a comfortable majority and in Sindh PPP could make government without MQM. But unfortunately this opportunity has been smashed by the wrong initiative taken by PML-N.

The support of MQM to PML-N will never be unconditional. It will have its many tags attached to it as usual. May be that their governor in Sindh is being retained? May be that legal cooperation of Pakistan government with British police in Imran Farooq murder case will be blocked? May be that MQM is again given a free hand to play with the life and property of citizens in Karachi and to protect its criminal gangs from prosecution? And all this at what cost? Just few votes for the presidential candidate who could otherwise make to his office?

PML-N will have to give full justification of their U-turn in policy to their supporters and voters, who have entrusted them with power to see a meaningful change in Karachi situation. It is feared that we are heading towards another round of bloodshed, lawlessness, and destruction in Karachi. Najam Sethi has termed this move as ‘excellent political strategy’ on the part of MQM and PML-N. If this is excellent strategy then what was the notorious policy of ‘reconciliation’ of PPP? If such strategies are considered admirable then any ruler of the country will be justified to join hands with the criminals, decoits, looters, smugglers, exploiters, terrorists, kidnapper, murderers and miscreants to keep them happy. Those elements will be more than satisfied to enter into alliance with the government to enjoy protection of the state and will play havoc with the lives and properties of people with impunity.

PM Mian Nawaz Shareef will be expected to satisfy the people of Pakistan on this crucial policy matter.

MQM Chief Altaf Hussain Threatens to Separate Karachi From Pakistan

Altaf Hussain’s call for Separation of Karachi

By Saeed Qureshi

“The MQM chief Altaf Hussain‘s conditional call for separating Karachi city from Pakistan comes closer to the independence of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965. The Singapore separation from Malaysia that it willingly joined in 1963, was the result of extreme strife, unbridgeable disagreements and ethnic bitterness between the Chinese origin population and the native Malayans mostly Muslims. Is it also the blue print of Jinnahpur that was later swept under the carpet?  

Altaf Hussain the fiery and unbridled chief of MQM has enslaved or indoctrinated his Muhajir community, mostly settled in Karachi city after their migration from India in 1947. By his rigid and merciless authoritarianism, instead of integrating, he has isolated his community from the mainstream populace of Pakistan. MQM is basically a movement for the sake of Muhajirs as an ethnic entity and not for the Pakistani nation.

Since its formation in 1984 as Muhajir Qaumi Movement and later renamed as Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997, the imprint of MQM in the minds of the people is that of a kind of mafia or an entity of  roughnecks or extortionists. It is believed that the special death and terror squads within MQM kill, kidnap and torture their rivals including the critics from within the MQM fold.

There has been also a prevailing impression that has gained ground, that the extortions or the obnoxious “parchi system” was first started by MQM to raise funds for the organization to become financially robust for carrying out its political and apolitical activities. Undoubtedly Altaf Hussain has proven to be a great and unassailable master and unbending and strict lord of his party.

He can summon the multitudes of Urdu speaking Pakistanis and Muhajirs within a matter of hours and with one call. They all gather at a venue with their heads down and hands motionless unless raised to cheer or clap for the scathing tirade of their great master. They sit rather motionless for hours together listening to his long, dreary and high pitched discourses as if they have been bewitched or mesmerized. There is a gossip that anyone who does not clap or come to the assemblage is dealt with vindictively.

Several pioneering cohorts and companions are alleged to have lost their lives in all these years ostensibly due to their opposition of the ruthless leader with symptoms of indiscretion. Their names are in the public knowledge. The MQM captures most seats in Karachi both for the National Assembly and for the Sindh provincial assembly. These seats in the distant past used to be shared by Jamaat-i-Islami and some other political factions. But for many years now these are exclusively bagged by MQM.

With a sizable number of seats in the federal and provincial parliaments, the MQM gathers enough bargaining clout and leverage to share the power at the center and in Sindh. The latest show of their bargaining power was brought to bear in case of their coalition with the PPP government in the national assembly for almost five years with some brief walkout periods.

The MQM has been playing its bargaining card with great dexterity and with a mix of pressure and fear hanging upon the main coalition partner. Thus it would be in a decisive position always to draw as many perks and concessions that it would place on the table for becoming the coalition partner.

The MQM’s political behavior  for all these years has been to  browbeat and flex its muscles whenever its hegemony was challenged by other groups within the context of Karachi and broadly in Sindh. A shrewd and Machiavellian person like president Zardari has always been going extra mile to accommodate MQM’s demands not matter how unreasonable or excessive those would be.

However, the May11, 2013 general elections seemed to have changed the turf, the ground realities, terms of engagement, and environment specifically in Karachi, Hyderabad and generally elsewhere in Sindh province. For the first time there have been aggressive contests with the MQM candidates. The PTI and JI have jointly put up candidates in the constituencies that were out of bound for non-MQM parties.  

Yet those who lost in various constituencies alleged serious irregularities and indeed rigging in the areas inhabited by the Muhajir communities. The terror and revenge that is associated with the covert and overt activities of MQM, restrain the rival candidates and their supporters to canvass or carry out their electioneering campaigning.

 Also, for the first time, there has been massive reaction from other political parties contesting the elections. As a result there could be a possibility that reelection or recounting of votes in disputed constituencies is considered by the Election Commission. That possibility has outraged Altaf Hussain so much that he has implicitly demanded separation of Karachi from the rest of the landmass.

By broaching the separation of Karachi from the rest of Pakistan, Mr. Hussain seems to be stepping into the shoes of Mujibur Rehman who was the architect, executor and proponent of cessation of East Pakistan. Although in all fairness, the West Pakistani politicians and the army was much to blame for the tragic dismemberment of one united Pakistan.

The latest address of Mr. Altaf Hussain is pregnant with serious threats and warnings to those who according to him were trying to push the Muhajirs to the wall. If it happens he thundered, neither Pakistan nor its perpetrators would survive. He also lashed out at the media and those journalists who opposed MQM and dubbed them as barking dogs. 

Altaf Hussain has the seeds of a great leader and in this role he has converted his thus far meek and marginalized community into a monolithic, united, formidable force that rose to prominence to the extent of becoming a shareholder in political power.

But instead that he himself should have looked upon as an apostle of peace and love, he came to be known as a dreaded and pitiless czar and a violent baron. The MQM itself bore the stamp of an ethic entity with a prevalent perception that it was like a mafia that mostly uses terror and intimidation to draw loyalty out of its cadres. Thus Altaf Hussain unwittingly or inadvertently isolated the MQM from being a party of the national standing.

In his latest tirade from London, while mentioning  Mujibur Rehman and the break-up of Pakistan in 1971, he threw the idea of separating Karachi an independent unit if MQM”s mandate was not acceptable to the establishment.  He warned that by giving one call he could create mayhem in Karachi. Does he want further dismemberment of Pakistan and is prepared to fight back by mobilizing the Muhajir community?

Does he know that the conditions behind the separation of East Pakistan in 1971 were drastically different from those related to Karachi? Does he mean India would replay her role of further truncating Pakistan and free Karachi for the migrated population to live independently? Can his statements no matter emotional, be interpreted as seditious and treasonable?   

It would be absolutely preferable if MQM sheds its image of being a rogue entity and Altaf Hussain elevates his role from an ethnic boss to that  of a national leader. Instead of donning an insidious role like Bal Thackeray or eying on what Sheikh Mujibur Rehman right or wrong achieved, he should liberate and unleash his own people from his fearsome stranglehold.

Regardless of what the press projects about him and the MQM, or what his questionable conduct has remained thus far, he should rise above the ethnic straight jacket and serve the entire Pakistani nations.

He should speak and represent the people of Pakistan and not exclusively Muhajirs. That role would endear him to the entire Pakistani nation and he would be venerated not as a clan lord but a lofty leader of national prominence. By way of suggestion, he should rename Muhajir Qaumi Movement ( MQM) as Pakistan Qaumi Movement(PQM)”.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat

This and other articles can also be read on www.uprightopinion.com.

Any political party founded on linguistic or racial basis will always remain restricted to its own group. Same happened with MQM though it changed its name to ‘Mutahida’ but the actual spirit and inspiration remained the same. Mere renaming does not serve the purpose. Moreover violence begets violence. MQM based its strategy on the power of gun hence it invited violent reaction from other rival political parties and the state. In all the cases the actual sufferers remained the ‘Muhajirs’ (urdu-speaking community). Just see the statistics and you will be astonished to see how many ‘muhajirs’ were killed before 1985 and how many met their unfortunate fate after the emergence of MQM.
The best way solution to empower ‘muhajirs’ is that they should support a party who carries out mainstream national politics. Just see when ANP did ethnic politics in Karachi they could not get more than two PA seats there. But when PTI carried out national politics the party got about 600,000 votes from Karachi and became 2nd most popular party there.
I strongly believe that 2 % quota for Karachi should be abolished immediately. Karachi has 180 million population and it should have 10% quota. But MQM cannot achieve this goal because of its ethic base. It could not convince the rulers in Islamabad over the past 25 years on this issue. People of Karachi can get rights by voting to a mainstream national party, particularly PTI.
Akhtar Malik

Why is Britain Supporting MQM Despite of Knowing it to be Party Causing Trouble in Pakistan

Britain’s Special Relationship With MQM’s Altaf Hussain

o   London Raid: Britain arm-twisted MQM chief Altaf Hussain to get behind Zardari

o   MQM’s Farooq Sattar warned British diplomats in Pakistan against ‘defaming’ Altaf Hussain

o   Farooq Sattar told a British diplomat that his party ‘is the only party’ in Pakistan ‘loyal to and shares common interests with’ Britain

o   Britain supports MQM through DFID, but the British govt. was not pleased when the party ended alliance with PPP

o   MQM sought British government support at United Nations against Pakistan on delimiting constituencies in Karachi

o   British high commissioner declined invitation to visit MQM’s head offices in Karachi to avoid suspicions over UK-MQM links


SPECIAL REPORT | 22 May 2013

LONDON—Britain is soft on MQM and its chief Altaf Hussain, who gets to use London as a safe haven. He gets legal protection as a British citizen. But occasionally, Britain gives Altaf Hussain a little slap on the hand every now and then when he gets out of line.

This is apparently what happened one night in December.

MQM was creating problems for Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari. Britain helped put together his coalition government. Former American ambassador Anne W. Patterson regularly intervened with opposition politicians to get them off Zardari’s tail every time he got in trouble.

This time it was Britain’s turn to talk some sense into Mr. Hussain. So a group of British investigators descended on the London office of MQM chief and occupied it for two days, on Dec. 6 and 7, 2012. The declared mission was to search his office for evidence linking him to the murder of Imran Farooq, a MQM cofounder mysteriously assassinated in London in 2010.

This piece of information – the British raid and London’s links to domestic Pakistani politics – represents one aspect of the intriguing relationship between Britain and MQM, a violent Pakistani ‘political’ party that almost occupies the country’s largest city, Karachi, where police and the military dare not tread. Residents of Karachi, also the country’s richest city, are forced to pay protection money to MQM and to an assortment of other parties like ANP, PPP and several criminal syndicates that are linked to one or more of these political parties.

The raid came as a shock to MQM, which had come to rely on Britain as a trusted safe haven for the party’s leadership.

Several weeks after the raid, Dr. Farooq Sattar, a top MQM politician and Altaf Hussain’s main representative inside Pakistan, met with Mr. Francis Campbell, the British deputy high commissioner in Karachi. The meeting was anything but cordial.

A desperate Farooq Sattar warned the British diplomat against harassing the party chief in London.

“MQM has evidences,” Sattar warned Campbell in the meeting, “that the British government is backing the PPP government in its policies of encircling MQM at home and threatening and pressurizing Altaf Hussain in London.”

This revelation comes from a British politician with access to information on his country’s unique relationship to MQM, which controls Pakistan’s business hub and is effectively threatening secession.

PakNationalists.com has concealed the names of the British politician and the Pakistani journalist on their request.

The information is a diplomatic treasure trove that appears to have been gleaned from British diplomatic correspondence, but PakNationalists.com has no way of verifying this information. However, the British source’s links to United Kingdom’s foreign policy community are unquestionable.

The data confirms what many in the Pakistani government already know: that Britain maintains a close relationship with MQM, protecting Altaf Hussain’s London safe haven, financially nurturing the party through British public funds, and, between 2008 and 2013, using the party to prop up the PPP-led coalition that served American and British interests in Pakistan and the region.


The Sattar-Campbell meeting is said to have taken place in Karachi sometime in January 2013. Sattar almost accused the British government of arm-twisting Altaf Hussain. “He termed the raid on MQM’s office in London as an attempt to defame MQM in Pakistan,” said the British politician. “He emphasized that MQM is the only political party [in Pakistan] that is loyal to British Government and shares common political interests with the British Government. He also requested Francis [Campbell] to intervene to resolve the political crisis in Sindh.”  [In upcoming reports, PakNationalists.com will show how several other Pakistani politicians made similar claims to British

To be fair to MQM, the information that the British politician provided is not limited to MQM but also covers meetings between Pakistani political parties and politicians and between British government representatives. Pakistanis will be stunned to read how some of their politicians are almost slavish in their dealings with the British government. This information will be released on PakNationalists.com over the coming days.

Despite the raid, the British government continued its special relationship with MQM. The raid was not publicized in the British media, and the party office in London and its chief were not put on media trial. Not a single British media outlet was briefed by the British government on this raid. No British media questioned what Britain’s business was allowing a Pakistani political party chief wanted by Pakistani courts to have a safe haven in London, using British soil to incite violence in Pakistan.


After the Sattar-Campbell meeting sometime in January, MQM legislator Waseem Akhtar met the British press attaché Jonathan Williams in Islamabad. This meeting is said to have taken place in the first week of February. The British source does not disclose where this meeting took place. Akhtar and Williams discussed the British government’s position on Pakistani general elections and MQM’s development projects in Karachi funded by the British government. For the first time, Akhtar hinted at MQM’s plans to end political alliance with Zardari’s PPP and sought British government’s support in the elections. Akhtar asked Williams to arrange for a visit by the British High Commissioner in Islamabad to MQM’s headquarters in Karachi to raise the party’s profile. To this, Williams was noncommittal, saying High Commissioner Adam Thomson would visit officials from all political parties before elections.

It is thought that a week or so after this meeting, the MQM ended its alliance with PPP on Feb. 16.


On March 7, the British High Commissioner Adam Thomson traveled to Karachi to meet Governor of Sindh Ishrat ul Ebad, a MQM appointee. According to the British politician, it was most probably in this meeting that Thomson bluntly conveyed to Ebad and to MQM London’s displeasure at the demise of MQM-PPP alliance. “Mr. Adam Thomson conveyed to Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad, Governor Sindh, that MQM’s departure from alliance with PPP was not received well by” the British government, says the British politician. On his part, Ebad accused Pakistani intelligence agencies and the PPP of working together to undermine MQM’s influence in Karachi.

“Dr. Ishrat ul Ebad stated that practically Karachi is being governed by intelligence agencies and PPP is [undermining] the image of MQM in collaboration with intelligence agencies,” says the British source. The British high commissioner also conveyed to Ebad that he won’t be able to visit MQM headquarters in Azizabad, Karachi, in order to avoid creating an impression that Britain is sponsoring the party.

“The BHC regretted the invitation of MQM regarding High Commissioner’s visit to MQM HQ on the plea that BHC wants to dispel the impression of directing and formulating MQM policies by BHC,” said the British politician. Apparently the Ebad-Thomson meeting did end on a high point after all. The British high commissioner apparently conveyed to MQM official his government’s approval to fund two Karachi-based NGOs owned by MQM. One of them is called Ehsaas. The other NGO is called Raasta. The funding is to come from DFID, the British government agency that disperses aid to other countries in support of British policy objectives.


The British politician referred to another pre-election meeting between MQM’s Waseem Akhtar and an unnamed British diplomat. “Wasim Akhtar of MQM has assured British diplomats that if the British government helps MQM return to power, the party will look after UK’s interests in establishing a Business Zone at Baba and Bhit Islands adjacent to Kimari,” said the British source.


On April 1, senior MQM politician Nasreen Jalil visited Francis Campbell, the deputy British high commissioner in Karachi, where she sought British government’s support in taking the battle against Pakistani government and the Supreme Court of Pakistan to the United Nations. “Nasreen Jalil of MQM met British Deputy High Commissioner [Francis Campbell] at his residence in Clifton, Karachi on 1 Apr 2013, at 2000 hours. Nasreen conveyed party’s reservations on new delimitation of constituencies in Karachi. She added that new delimitation will lead to Talibanization of Karachi which may affect the smooth withdrawal of NATO supplies (containers) through the port city. She informed the British diplomat that MQM has taken the matter to the UN and requested UK’s support. MQM is also planning to invite a EU delegation to apprise them about the party’s stance on delimitation issue,” according to the British source.


These insights lay bare the extensive relationship between MQM and the British government. They also show the extent of problems that Pakistan is facing because of British safe havens for extremists and fugitives. Since the 1970s, Britain has allowed itself to become a safe haven for militants and extremists from the Middle East. In mid-1980s and mid-1990s, Egypt and Saudi Arabia publicly protested over British government’s protection for militants fighting to topple governments in Cairo and Riyadh. London has also played host to dissidents opposed to the Russian government under Vladimir Putin. It is obvious that Britain gives shelter to political fugitives to use them for its strategic policy. Aside from sheltering Altaf Hussain, there is strong evidence that Britain is hosting BLA terrorists involved in killing innocent Pakistani teachers, laborers and government officials.

London is also home to a British extremist group, Hizb al Tahrir, widely known to be penetrated by British intelligence, which in turn uses the group to further British interests in Middle East and Central Asia. The group has recently escalated a covert campaign to recruit lower- and mid-level soldiers and officers in Pakistan Armed Forces. It is the first case of a British-based group targeting Pakistani military personnel in what is suspected to be British psy-ops.

British sanctuaries for fugitives involved in violence and terror should top the Pakistani agenda. Another European country, Switzerland, has given a safe haven to Brahamdagh Bugti, the BLA terrorist commander who managed a terror campaign in Pakistan for years from his Afghan hideouts under American watch before he was escorted to safety in Europe by the American Central Intelligence Agency.

The British and Swiss examples point to a trend in development that needs to be nipped in the bud. This requires Pakistani government action, which is missing.


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Politics of Violence in Karachi and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf

By Akhtar Malik

17 April 2013

karachi_violenceThe political party that introduced the culture of violence in Pakistan was probably Jamat e Islami. With its baton – carrying (Danad bardar) youth Jamat e Islami would raid any social gathering like new year festival or a fashion show that was perceived to be ‘un-Islamic’ by them. The baton was probably not that lethal a weapon when compared with the Kalashnikov, which was introduced in the politics by MQM which stated taking routes in Karachi in 1985. There is no doubt that MQM was the pioneer of politics of violence in Karachi. All the political parties in Karachi now have a militant wing of their own. It is sad that these parties still deny it, despite of the fact that Supreme Court has also given their verdict on this issue. When the representatives of these parties come in the talk shows on media, they claim that they do not harbor any terrorist and that any operation against the terrorists should be carried out across the board. But when the criminals related to any political party are arrested the same leaders then put pressure on the government from behind the curtains, to get their criminals released.

This is what has been happening in Karachi for the past two decades. Whenever the activities of any group, particularly the MQM, would go beyond limits, the establishment of those times, in collaboration with the sitting political government, would start a cleanup operation in the city. This happened in 1992 and 1995. Military operation is never an appropriate solution to the actual problem. As a result MQM always staged a successful comeback through elections, declaring their party as an innocent and a victim of the state coercion. There is no denying the fact that political problems always need political solutions. Use of force is just a temporary and short term measure.

This government of PPP from 2008 to 2013 did not have the courage and political will to cleanse Karachi from the terrorists just because it depended heavily on the support of MQM. Without MQM the government of PPP would have collapsed in Islamabad. This was the bitter fruit of their notorious policy of reconciliation. As a result the Supreme Court had to take Suo Moto notice but the decision of the Court to disarm the militant wings of political parties and to finish ‘no -go’ areas, were never implemented by the government. Even now the caretaker government is just passing its time and is not serious on enforcing the writ of the state and rule of law.

The policies of violence, coercion and blackmail adopted by MQM, ANP and PPP have been well exposed before the public. With unfolding of the current events, even the supporters of MQM in Karachi and urban Sindh have been baffled. The political parties formed on the basis of race, language and sect always try to keep their vote bank intact through the barrel of the gun and by inculcating fear of being eliminated by other rival groups. The citizens of Karachi are not finding any way out to liberate themselves from the cruel clutches of these racial and linguist groups. As and when they are able to find any alternative with the assurance of protection of their lives, they will not hesitate to change their loyalties in favor a national level party.

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) leadership has done an excellent job to adopt a policy of nonviolence. This policy though a slow-moving and enduring one, is showing its results. Apart from the general public even the media persons, journalists, human rights activists and the civil society campaigners are now all out to appreciate the party for its serenity, resilience, persistence and fortitude. These are the virtues that are hardly visible in any political party. These are the qualities that are going to further attract the masses. Some hawks in PTI may be impulsive to do something matching with the mood of the people and political culture in the country but the party is successfully towing its line of nonviolence. The mammoth Jalsa of 25 December 2011 in Karachi marked an important milestone in the political progression of PTI. The party was thus seen as a good substitute for MQM, ANP and PPP in Karachi, who had given nothing to this metropolis except for terrorism, target killings, kidnapping for ransom, ‘Bhatta Khori’ and land mafias. If the people of Karachi want to change their life and destiny for the better there is no other option than to refrain from casting their votes in favor of MQM, ANP and PPP. Obviously PTI is the only suitable choice for the people of Karachi. If they are tempted to vote for PML-N as alternative to PPP, they are going to repent it soon. PML-N after coming to power will again form an alliance with MQM exactly as PP did in order to ‘facilitate’ their governance. The results will not be different from what happened during 2008-13.

(The author can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com)

The Return of General Pervez Musharaf to Pakistan

Is It Musharaf’s Political Kargil?

By Dr Ghayur Ayub

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez MusharrafGen. (rtd) Pervez Musharaf is a commando trained by a well disciplined army. Against such background, he is known to have taken risks during his career. He makes tactical and strategic plans and executes them accordingly. He does not get discouraged if his tactical plan fails and waits for proper time to strike at strategic level. Take Kargil episode for example. In 1995 he put the plan and presented it to the then PM Benazir Bhutto. It was turned down. He retreated it tactically but kept it alive strategically for future. When the time came he executed it. That’s how his brain works.

When he was the most powerful leader heading Pakistan with four caps, he shouldered MQM in political gusto and made it the most powerful ally in Sindh controlling the economic hub of Pakistan. During his tenure Mustafa Kamal, the administrator of Karachi, was given a privileged reception when he visited America; thanks to him. It was in those days when a news appeared in media that he might join MQM. He never rebutted it. This was his tactical move to be counted as a political player.

Altaf Bhai who has many political eyes on his face and matching ears on his head realized the consequences. He took it as Musharaf’s tactical move to enter MQM and push him to one side later as part of strategic plan taking over the party leadership. He became active and made sure it did not happen. To show his command over the party he brought down two important personalities of MQM to their knees- Dr. Liaqat Hussain and Mustafa Kamal. It happened both were close to Musharaf. The former was thrown out of the party.

Thus Altaf Bhai was successful in obstructing his tactical move. Being Musharaf, he let it go but held to his strategic plan. According to news coming out of London, he maintained his links with a few old guards of MQM such as (late) Dr Imran Farooq. Were those links part of the strategy? Is it also part of that strategy which landed him in Pakistan? Keeping his Kargil episode in mind it may not be surprising to link it with that. Only this time he might be planning to fight political Kargil on three fronts; to clear his name in court cases; to make inroads in MQM; and to isolate Nawaz Sharif. How?

  • Before going to Pakistan he went for ‘a politicised Umra’ and prior to that he apparently met Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia with blessings of the West and Saudi Arabia.
  • He knows he cannot put a dent in coming elections because against all his army training he has not prepared his party for the event. For him the election is part of tactical move through which he wants to be part of the democratic process to cleanse his ‘Khaki’ skin and counted as political player and sit in the parliament. For that he will be satisfied only with one seat.
  • While concentrating on his strategic plans he will take tactical steps to clear his name in court cases pending against him. He is not worried about Article 6 because he knows it involves many ‘untouchables’.
  • After failing tactically a few years ago now he will work on strategic plan to find a place in a widening gap of MQM. According to the ‘Chirya’ of Najam Sethi the gap has been widening rapidly in recent months and pressure groups within the party are emerging.
  • Some reports even suggest that a few western powers might be behind this intra-party turmoil. They are getting frustrated when they see Altaf Bhai bringing the country to a standstill with a blink of his eyes by closing its economic hub. They want to see a disabled Pakistan not a dead Pakistan. Disabled Pakistan is in their interest. Altaf Bhai, in their opinion, can kill the country. They want to replace a stubborn and unpredictable Altaf Bhai with a tractable and predictable Musharaf to lead MQM and thus control the breathing apparatus of the country rationally. Musharaf wants to align his strategic plans with western powers and MQM disgruntles to the advantage of all.
  • Using this strategy Musharaf knows an optimum pressure can be applied on Altaf Bhai from outside especially UK and US to step aside. He knows the consequences of resisting such pressure could be extremely damaging to Altaf Bhai. Rehman Malik might come handy playing important role for his own reasons. He is a crafty Maneuverer in games such as this. At the same time using his links with the powerful agencies within the country, Musharaf can enhance this pressure.
  • On the third front, he is expecting that PML-N will win the coming elections without getting overall majority. Knowing the type of electable Nawaz Sharif has gathered around him, he foresees the future government led by PML-N will fail in its promises in the same way as the PPP government failed. In such a scenario Musharaf will work on tactical plans to bring all the Muslim league parties closer, downgrading PML-N as party and isolating Nawaz Sharif as leader. He knows the ‘moles’ within PML-N (he knows them from past experience) will support him in his plans. The armed forces might help Musharaf if Nawaz Sharif repeated identical role he played in previous two stints as PM.
  • If his tactical and strategic plans succeeded Musharaf believes he will emerge one of the most powerful political leaders in coming four to five years if not earlier. He sees Imran Khan of PTI as modern Talibanised mouthpiece in the parliament and Tahir-ul-Qadri as moderate voice outside the parliament. He will project himself as a secular bridge between the two.

So here is Pervez Musharaf entering the politics of Pakistan as a civilian with a background training in tactical and strategic planning. He played this game in Kargil as an army general. Now he wants to play it in political field as a civilian leader. His success will be directly linked to the failure of Mr. Nawaz Sharif. The question is will NS give him reasons which will make him a popular political leader? It all will depend on Nawaz Sharif’s leadership qualities, statesmanship and control over his close friends and allied colleagues. He should know that Musharaf’s army-game at Kargil brought him down once in past. He will try to drag him down again in political-game this time. That is why Musharaf is adamant to walk tall on the path to political Kargil.

Who will Win 2013 Elections in Pakistan?

 By Usman Khalid, Director RIFA

15385-electcopy-1357206705-329-640x480The Economist of London has predicted on the basis of polls that Mian Nawaz Sharif, Leader of Pakistan Muslim League (N), would be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan. I agree with that analysis. Having just returned from a six week long stay in Pakistan, I would like to say, why? The TUQ (Tahir ul Qadri) ‘sit in’ took place a couple of hundred yards from my house in Islamabad. I would also like to share with readers what it meant – something that the local and the international media missed.

Everybody in Pakistan believes that election results depend largely on the way the ‘entrenched’ electable turn. The entire strategy of Imran Khan, leader of TIP, is based on that and the ‘youth vote’. President Asif Zardari – a consummate politician – has made a plan to win in 2013 Elections on the basis of sure winners – issues as well as politicians. But I believe that Imran as well as Asif Zardari are mistaken. The people are no longer driven by ‘kinship’ with candidates; they are mainly driven by their concern for national security – internal as well as external. The nation of Pakistan is more patriotic, more united and more certain of what is good for the country is also good for them. A significant minority does take part in political meets and sectarian processions but often because of the attraction of a free meal and a chance take home chair or two. Every one was surprised at the discipline shown by TUQ followers in Islamabad. The same discipline had been shown only in the meetings of MQM and JUD, or processions by Shia organizations and Defense of Pakistan Council. Discipline is a value ingrained during upbringing or training. It is easily inculcated when the leaders demand and reward discipline.   

Dr TUQ organizes his followers in communes of sorts where members help each other ‘through thick and thin’. This is the same phenomenon that binds ‘generous’ local leaders with their ilk. The MQM is one political party that organized its constituency in the cities as ‘communes’ and the core of its leadership is Shia. That an important Shia leaders – Agha Murtaza Ali Poya – was always present by the side of Dr TUQ informed the country of the emergence of a new alliance – one between Shia and moderate Sunnis. It is a benign alliance the objective of which is ‘security’ in the face of rise of extremist led by the Takfiri cult. If the USA, Canada or other Western countries supported Dr TUQ it is a change in policy that is entirely welcome. Until the Iranian Revolution led my Imam Khomeni, the Shia were the allies of the USA and Israel. But everything changed after that revolution. Now Iran is the leading champion of Palestinian liberation. Shia led Hezbollah of Lebanon is the only force that ever defeated Israel in battle. The erstwhile friends have been bitter enemies since the Revolution. The joint ‘sit in’ may well turn out to be return to days when Iran and the USA were friends and allies. This is not unexpected; this is practical politics. The Al-Qaeda and other Takfiri groups have had Saudi support which has sustained US ambivalence that is largely responsible for the rise of anti-US cults. After all, the Takfiri led by al-Qaeda have taken no notice of the change and persist in massacre of Shia in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Is it not time, they were sent a message?

There us yet no sign of a shift in the policy of Taliban towards the USA. But the ‘sit in’ in Islamabad could well mark a watershed in politics of Pakistan. The MQM realized that its policy of defiance of the Executive and Judicial authority of the state that underpinned its absolute power in Karachi and other cities of Sindh until recently has become counter-productive; more Shia are being killed than members of other communities. The support provided by the MQM to Dr TUQ from within the Government was crucial to reaching a deal.. Imran Khan, as usual, said he welcomed the support by TUQ to what was the stand of TIP all along PML(N) responded by assembling an alliance of all opposition parties. Imran Khan was conspicuously isolated and sidelined. But there is another game in town being played by the very same players. The name of the game is public support as against the TUQ game which was about US support. The USA has realized that any role it gives to India in Afghanistan would end in the USA being completely ousted from Central Asia. Pakistan holds the key to peace in Afghanistan and the region.

Patriotism, which had been out of fashion in Islamabad, is the focal point of ‘people’s power’. The people see the MQM and ANP as India sponsored parties. The PPP, which was the nemesis of both under Benazir rule, is now the most allied ally of President Zardari. The constituency of the PPP does not approve of that. He has exacerbated the situation by playing the ethnic card – naming the Frontier Province as KPK, giving in to MQM demand on local government, trying to sow discord in the Punjab loading the dice in favor of Seraiki speaking in South Punjab. But this is not working. The people see President Zardari as the ally of India sponsored parties and now giving entry to TUQ into his coalition. But there is another side to Dr TUQ. Under the cover of presenting a moderate and peaceful image of Islam, he has declared Jihad in Kashmir to be un-Islamic. All those impressed with the exemplary discipline of the ‘sit in’ in Islamabad, took notice of his stand on Kashmir. The patriotic majority which, contrary to popular belief, in not a majority only in the Punjab but in all the provinces of Pakistan, will vote for Nawaz Sharif and the parties allied to him. That is the basis of my forecast that PML(N) would win Elections 2013.

The last time PML(N) won a big majority – more than 2/3rd of all seats in the National Assembly – was in 1996. Within a short period of time he had made so many mistakes that the people heaved a sigh of relief when his government was overthrown by General Musharraf in 1999. Electoral victory of the present opposition is in sight but end to misrule in Pakistan is not. Mian Nawaz Sharif has announced no new policies; added no new talent to his team; and he persists in calling his economic and security policies that resulted in the humiliation at Kargil and brought Pakistan’s economy to the brink of collapse as ‘success’. I remember having conveyed a message from eminent Lawyer – Lord Gifford – to Benazir Bhutto after her government has been dismissed in 1991. The message was: “You will come back to power again, but you should know what to do when you do”. No body ha asked me to give advice to Mian Nawaz Sharif. But if I was asked I would give the same advice that Lord Gifford gave to Benazir Bhutto. Mian Sahib is surrounded by the very same losers who helped him lose twice after the people gave him their trust and reposed confidence in him.