Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MQM’s New Political Initiatives

September 20, 2009

MQM’s New Political Initiatives
By Saeed Qureshi
Happily, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is spreading its political tentacles beyond its power base of Urban Sindh. It is making its entry into Punjab, a stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and also the bastion of the quisling Punjabi feudals and big landlords. There are already signs of panic and commotion not only among the hereditary and traditional political circles but also in the landed gentry that perceives in MQM a political force, committed to remove the vestiges of family based politics.
There are reverberations in the hegemonic political dynasties of the well entrenched aristocratic classes that have been surviving on a virtual tutelage over the landless tillers and impoverished urban slum dogs. The lecherous sway of the blood sucking dominant sections of Punjab seem to be threatened by MQM”s overtures of broadening its political base in other parts of Pakistan which were practically sort of no go areas for this party composed of mostly middle and lower middle yet conscientious and educated work force.
It is stunning to watch MQM”s announcement to contest the elections for the Gilgit Baltistan legislative assembly, scheduled for November 15. It has thrown 19 candidates into the election arena. In between Karachi and Gilgit, lies the entire territory of Pakistan. It means that for proliferating its political ambitions or mandate, MQM has covered the entire country. The gaps and the gray areas yet to be covered in between, must be on the express and eventual agenda of MQM.
The MQM’s thrust into the rest of Pakistan and its endeavors at breaking its regional barriers augurs an auspicious development for Pakistan’s politics which thus far remained hostage to the closely guarded legacy of the nexus between the feudalism, civil and military bureaucracy and big wigs of mercantile empire. The MQM cadres are resolute and are unflinchingly rallied behind their leader Altaf Hussain. They have demonstrated a monolithic unity and exemplary cohesion all these years. They are immune from the fear of making sacrifices for the ideals that they steadfastly stand for.
In the preceding years, the image of the MQM largely has been to be an ethnic party. The doubts were cast over its loyalty to Pakistan and its alleged linkage with India. Some of the speeches of the firebrand Altaf Hussain also fueled such apprehensions that he was out to truncate Pakistan and that plans were afoot for the Urban Sindh to rejoin the Indian federation. The Jinnahpur conspiracy was entirely attributed to MQM. The time has proven that all such allegations and rumours were part of a disinformation campaign The statements or the speeches of Altaf Hussain were merely a spontaneous outburst in retaliation to the maltreatment to the MQM members at some juncture in the past.
The MQM’s remarkable demonstration of nation building work in Karachi stands in good stead for it. It has with absolute honesty and attention reoriented and expanded the much needed roads and highway network in Karachi. It has laid down the sewage system, ensured sustained supply of water and have performed similar civic milestones to ease the lives of the citizens. It was always in the lead in rushing for helping the afflicted people from natural calamities such as 2005 earthquakes or man-made chaos such as in Swat.
Now when MQM wants to be a part of national political ethos, all such incriminations should be set aside. In fact the stagnant or degenerate Poltical culture prevailing in Pakistan needs vibrant political forces as the MQM, to join the mainstream political spectrum. This would be a welcome turning point in many ways. The MQM would be able to come out of the much trumped up cocoon of parochialism, ethnicity, and regionalism, linguistic or provincial entity. MQM should be more patriotic because the migrants suffered immensely in all manners at the time of partition of the Indian sub-continent The Mohajars or the migrants could have lived in India like other Muslims but these valorous people imbued with the undying spirit to live in the newly created Islamic independent state of Pakistan, crossed a sea of blood to reach this new land. So despite their being originally from a different part of undivided India, they have thoroughly justified their right and privilege to be the real Pakistanis.
It’s not the sacrosanct right of the already settled people to exclusively call themselves the real or patriotic citizens of Pakistan. Although Pakistan geographically happens to be carved on their lands, yet the country belongs to all: whether migrants or the natives. Ironically, as the history bears out, the feudals and land barons in the West Pakistan were not vociferously committed to the creation of Pakistan. But even if they supported the independence movement their only aim was self aggrandizement and to enjoy and secure the ownership of the vast tracts of lands bestowed upon them by the British colonial masters for serving their imperialistic interests in the Indian subcontinent. They were and still are the local tyrants over the powerless and the impoverished population.
So MQM would be a befitting and uncompromising bulwark against the privileged landed gentry, besides other vested interests that have been parasitic and odious agents of status quo. The grand and coveted dream of Pakistan to be a state with the shining hallmarks such as social justice, equality egalitarianism, accountability and clean and effective governance can be realized if political parties such as MQM join hands with other poltical forces at national level and steer Pakistan out of the quagmire this country is steeped in. The unholy alliance between exploitative and unduly privileged classes in Pakistani society can be effectively dented and debilitated provided the forces from the middle class and grass root sections, emerge on the national horizon, capture power and initiate a war to cleanse the society of the self perpetuating, blood sucking sections thriving on the miseries and agonies of the vast majority of the people of Pakistan. The clear demarcation between ‘haves’ and “haves not” has yet to be erased.

That can be done with clean governance and with rule of law and with a spirit of self denial. The spiritual, the economic exploitation of the disempowered masses and political monopolies have to end to carve out a glorious, honorable and prosperous Pakistan to emerge. Perhaps the hour for political parties with grass root orientation and mass appeal has come to deliver Pakistan from the chronic and unremitting multi-dimentional morass and perfidy it has been pushed into by a corrupt and degenerate system and by a pedigree of insidious politicians and parasitic privileged classes.
The task of MQM is going to be certainly daunting and apparently a long haul. To defeat and outflank the centuries old monstrosities and to eject the powerful feudals and their collaborators out of the power corridors is easy said than done. But as the proverb goes, “a thosuand miles long journey starts with the first small step.” It’s the people of Pakistan and downtrodden teeming masses who would definitely respond to the calls aimed at changing their miserable lot. The road to this pinnacle destination seems to be striven with fallen heroes and sacrifices by the torch bearers of change and revolution. But revolution will come and come it must: this is a lesson of history.

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