By M. Tahir Khan
Mutahida Qaumi Movement, the Karachi’s largest political party known with the name of its leader “Altaf Hussain” produced many prominent faces like Dr. Imran Farooq, Dr. Farooq Sattar and Haider Abbas Rizvi at national and provincial level but never able to produce a second tier leadership other than Mustafa Kamal.
If we look into the politics of Karachi, MQM is in power for the last 16 years, enjoyed power and strengthened itself in the nine years of General Pervaiz Musharaf government. However, the only name Mustafa Kamal, proved himself somehow exceptional with his performance as Karachi Nazim (Mayor) and shown himself a future leader from the platform of MQM. As a city Nazim he gave Karachi a new face and enjoyed full support from President Musharaf and his own leadership and completely overhauled the face of Karachi. On the basis of his performance Foreign Policy Magazine also awarded him as the second best Mayor of the world. Musafa Kamal became the poster boy of the MQM, not only given new face to Karachi, but also used to give a positive image of the party to the rest of the Pakistan.
After the completion of his tenure as Nazim Karachi, Mustafa Kamal remained very active in party politics and he was given membership of Raabita Committee and also headed the Khadimat e Khalaq Foundation and actively campaigned for party in general elections 2013. He was awarded the ticket as a party Senator, but he could not continue for long time after May 2013 general elections where his party won majority of the seats from their traditional constituencies of Karachi and Hyderabad. He parted his ways with party after having differences with party leadership and quietly left Pakistan in the end of 2013 and submitted his resignation from Senate seat and stated his personal reasons while giving resignation.
Mustafa Kamal is not the only one who left party, but in the same period some other important leaders of MQM also left the part and some important names that left include Anis Kaim Khani, Raza Harron and all of them left part by citing personal reasons.
After 2013 general elections, MQM caught into real difficult times in London as well as in Pakistan because of multiple reasons. In London, in Dr. Imran Farooq murder case London Metropolitan police raided the house of MQM leader Altaf Hussain and recovered 400000 pounds and a parallel investigation initiated for money laundering against MQM leader Altaf Hussain. In 2015, BBC correspondent Owen Bennett Jones produced documentary on MQM and also filed a story titled Pakistan’s MQM received Indian funding which completely shattered the image of MQM in Pakistan. BBC report alleged that MQM not only received funding from Indian RAW but also India trained hundreds of people for MQM. The actual inquiries in UK started in 2010 after the murder of Imran Farooq but diverted to money laundering case after the recovery of four hundred thousand British Pounds from Altaf Hussain’s home which further paved the way for money laundring case and Indian connections came up in the same case.
On the other hand in Pakistan, 3 arrested suspects Moazzam Shah, Khalid Shamim and Kashif Khan had confessed that they murdered Imran Farooq on the orders of party’s high command. Furthermore, Rangers operation in Karachi also held many MQM workers on the charges of target killing and other crimes. Altaf Hussain’s speeches also got banned by Lahore High Court on foul language used against national institutions, however after such a difficult time MQM was able to win by elections in NA 246 and afterwards won local government elections in Karachi as well which strengthened the party.
This is the time when Altaf Hussain is not in a good health, party is under severe stress and at a sudden on 3rd March, 2016 Ex Nazim Karachi Mustafa Kamal and Anis Kaimkhani came back to Karachi with huge plans on board. On the same day, they announced the formation of their own political party, charged the ex leader having connections with RAW, accused him creating the law and order situation in Pakistan and also accused him a real culprit of Urdu speaking people. This is not it, Mustafa Kamal also started to bring other party leadership under his banner as well and in the last two weeks four important leaders of MQM also joined hands with Mustafa Kamal and Anis Kaimkhani. The leaders who joined hands with Mustafa Kamal include the names of Dr. Saghir Ahmed, Waseem Aftab, Iftikhar Alam and Raza Haroon.
The latest edition who joined Mustafa Kamal Bandwagon is the strong and heavy voice of Raza Haroon who remained ex provincial minister and also member of MQM Raabita Committee. While addressing the press conference Raza Haroon had shown his willingness to join hands with Mustafa Kamal and also repeated the same charges on Altaf Hussain having connections with RAW, accused him of using foul language against all state institutions and furthermore he said MQM is no more an ideological party for which he had joined.
Will Mustafa Kamal & Company succeed??
The answer to this question is not easy, however it can be analyzed on the basis of few facts and on the basis of strengths and weaknesses of both groups
First, Mustafa Kamal has charismatic personality and he is one who has proven capabilities of leadership. He has proved himself in the capacity of Nazim Karachi by completely changing the dynamics of Karachi and the people of Karachi remember him with his hard work for the city and more importantly he is the son of soil who belongs to Karachi. The way Mustafa Kamal is taking up issues of people of the Karachi like taking forward the concept of general amnesty for Urdu speaking people who are in prisons and those who are on run will help him to create close relationship with Urdu speaking people of Karachi.
Second, Falling health of Altaf Hussain and lack of leadership in MQM will also support Mustafa Kamal and company in launching a new party and its vision of nationalism by bringing all under the flag of Pakistan will further help in attaining the popular stance among the Karachites. Furthermore, if in the same way important leaders like Dr. Saghir and Raza Haroon keep on joining the band wagon of Mustafa Kamal, the party will further grow in Karachi and will take over some of the space being occupied by Altaf Hussain.
Third, after 2013 general elections it was believed that Pakistan Tehreek- e- Insaaf filled the vacuum in Karachi and will become second largest party in the city, however after NA 246 by elections and Karachi local body elections PTI completely disappeared from the horizon of Karachi, which ultimately produced a space for Mustafa Kamal as well.
Arrival of Mustafa Kamal is a good sign for the politics of Karachi and Pakistan, however its fate will be decided in the coming days on the basis of fact that how many people are actually started to follow him Karachi.