Mustafa Kamal & Political Tides in Karachi

By Obaid ur Rehman.

Karachi has always been the economical hub of Pakistan due to which political atmosphere here matters a lot and imparts a major role in Pakistan’s politics. In the last couple of years, the political environment of the city has attained all the attention and focus. Ex-Mayor of Karachi Mustafa Kamal since his re-entrance into politics has been shaking MQM and its leaders quite again and again. So far, many people who were once the leading members of MQM are now the part of Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party. The slogan of Mustafa Kamal is to re-ensure the long lost status of MQM’s workers who were keen to serve Pakistan but they got misused by the selfish and mean leadership. Mustafa Kamal has the motive to provide people of Karachi and Sindh once again with such a platform through which they can come out of boundaries which have been set by few leaders of MQM to use them for their own specific purposes only. People of that region now see Mustafa Kamal as an only hope for the revival of pure politics and respect. Also Mustafa Kamal wants to give people of Pakistan a new political dimension through which they can come up and serve the country without having any inappropriate tag on them.

Within the period of one month, Mustafa Kamal has got extreme fame and popularity once again in no time. There were leaders and members of MQM, who were silently against the party’s ongoing situation and reputation, were not at all able to speak openly about it because of possible life threats which they could face later on. Upon the arrival of Mustafa Kamal, these people finally found a platform through which they can have their words against MQM for its poor policies and its leader sitting in London for almost two decades. The process continued and many more people kept on joining Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen party. This is the reason why Mustafa Kamal has successfully managed yesterday to bring people in the form of political gathering. The event proved to be a successful one under the circumstances, which can be termed as the possible start of MQM’s downfall on political grounds.

Mustafa Kamal Personality

One of the main reasons for quick progress of Mustafa Kamal is his impressive personality and effective political background through which he can easily convert and convince people towards himself. When he was the mayor of Karachi, he had done a lot for the city and its people. He was the one people were looking for, as the next probable leader of MQM and it was all because of his committed efforts and dedication towards serving people of Karachi. But unfortunately, in 2013, Mustafa Kamal went abroad, leaving behind all his politics due to clashes with the leadership of MQM. In the meanwhile, MQM also suffered a lot because of its leader’s inappropriate content of speeches, different allegations regarding to links with Indian Intelligence Agency RAW, statements regarding to security forces of Pakistan, Saulat Mirza’s revelations before his execution, progress in Dr. Imran Farooq murder case and Money Laundering investigations. These political dents made the people of Karachi to rethink about their political mindset that either it should be in support of MQM or not. It became very difficult for MQM leaders too to stabilize their vote bank and do not let themselves endure the negative response from people. Although MQM was being bashed badly by civil society and different media groups for their reputation, allegations and its leader’s statements regarding to security forces of Pakistan, but yet somehow MQM managed to escape with all the scenarios and keep their vote bank in safe hands.

PTI in NA 246

In the meantime, it was Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) who became famous in Karachi. In spite of having a lot of in-house issues, yet PTI successfully managed to grab the vote-bank in Karachi on massive scale. Another reason due to which inhabitants of Karachi looked forward towards PTI was the disappointment which they have received from the ruling party of the region, MQM. The above mentioned controversies that MQM has faced damaged its reputation to maximum extent. This was one of the major reasons that PTI got pretty much successful in stabilizing their feet in Karachi and proved itself as the second biggest political party of the city. As per current situation of that time, the infrastructural problems within the PTI couldn’t be highlighted as everything was going in their favour. But later on, the loss in Bi-Elections in NA-246, bad results in Local Body Elections exposed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf badly. In spite of gathering huge crowd in its various political gatherings, yet PTI couldn’t convert the crowd number into number of votes, which has been the prior problem of Imran Khan’s party since the General Elections of May 2013. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and its leaders settled down in Karachi to some extent but they couldn’t implement the door-to-door campaign to let people know about their manifesto, policies and plans for the people. This is the major setback or failure which PTI has faced in Karachi so far due to which they have lost when they have contested in actual battle of Local Bodies Elections.

The flaws in MQM and PTI and their failure in governance have ultimately provided safe-passage to Mustafa Kamal and his party. How can a person, who once had millions of fan following due to charismatic political personality, cannot regain that fame and respect which people gave him in his mayor-ship tenure. People who voted for PTI, not by getting impressed by Imran Khan or his party leadership, but because of unimpressive performance and critical allegations on MQM, finally realized that there is now one person within them who could be their real voice and he is none other than Mustafa Kamal. Many people believe that Mustafa Kamal is the one who actually belongs to the people of Karachi. We can say that because of structural issues in both the parties MQM and PTI, in owning the people, it has become much easier now for leaders of Pak Sarzameen Party to make their position strong enough in at least Karachi. If they keep on progressing in the same way like they have proved it in one month only, then it won’t be difficult for PSP to beat the opposing parties in next elections.

For me, the future of Karachi probably belongs to Mustafa Kamal and his Pak Sarzameen Party. There are a couple of reasons for such prediction. One of them is the reputation of MQM as a whole. Multiple problems which MQM is facing that I have discussed above including links with RAW, progress in Dr. Imran Farooq Murder Case, Money Laundering Investigations, etc are enough to destabilize MQM’s political strength. Then here comes another reason that the lack of leadership qualities in leaders of PTI through which they could not maintain their political balance in Karachi, has ultimately resulted in exposure of their bad governance. In contrary to these reasons and along with these facts and figures, we have very crystal clear background of Mustafa Kamal. When he was mayor of Karachi, he has proved himself as a true leader, without a doubt. And now after stepping away from MQM, he came back with prominent goals of serving people of Karachi and Pakistan who also have always had decent point of views for Mustafa Kamal. His yesterday’s political gathering directs us to think that a person, who can achieve this much in the time span of just one month, can even pave the way for future political battles. These are the basic reasons due to which I believe that Mustafa Kamal could be the one who will be the leader and real voice of people of Karachi.

Obaid ur Rehman

The writer is Islamabad based Journalist and a Research Analyst.

He can be reached at;

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