Saturday, September 10, 2011

Altaf Hussain behaved like a Clown

September 10, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

If it was a humor purposely injected in his long network address to make it spicy, then it was certainly a clumsy and ludicrous humor. To express thoughts and reflections on very somber issues of violence and lawlessness in Karachi, a leader resorts to singing cheap film lyrics, swinging and mimicking the original singers.

It was enough to show the shallow side of the unassailable leader of a militant political party that otherwise claims peace and overreach to the downtrodden. At the same time he waved the holy book over his head in a way as if it was a fun-show to please the audience. It was unusually lengthy and boring sermon that was faithfully broadcast by the Pakistani TV channels live, either on payment or gratis.

Altaf Hussain whose face and physique looked run down and debilitated was not a person who did not seem to be in the mysterious hospital for a few days for recovery and recuperation from some physical ailment that also remains unexplained. Hr should have looked robust and healthy which he was not. Indeed he was the real Altaf Hussain but under heavy burden of some unknown paranoia.

His sermon that was telecast and listened by MQM adherents with rapt attention and as usual in large congregations was a potpourri and a mixed bag of frivolous anecdotes, inane rebuttals and loud-pitched denunciation of Zulfiqar Mirza’ litany of grave allegations against Rehman Malik as well as MQM.

The songs were vulgar and hardly fitted into the solemn issues that were being mulled by the great leader in his fitful fury and spell of overdone eloquence. The serious charges against MQM, bordering on treason and betrayal against Pakistan and aimed at its dismemberment were not earnestly addressed by the fire-spiting leader whose entire tone and center was jesting, ridicule, derision and making his prolonged address piquant and spicy.

He did not vividly and with modesty respond to the allegations of slaughter, rape, arson, extortion, kidnapping, running of torture cells and spearheading an orgy of brutal bloodletting for three decades that this militant party was brought into being. The charge of killing Imran Farooq, the GEO reporter Wali Mohammad Babar and several other prominent figures were not specifically answered or explained by the MWM chief.

The MQM’s cardinal approach and philosophy is to rule by terror and intimidation and to keep its firm hold over the largest city of Pakistan. Its cohesion and internal monolithic unity is an enviable yet loathsome example for other political parties how to keep the ranks together.

Its bargaining power and clout is so irresistible that it always wrestled out from the PPP government what it demanded. It got its local body system back in Karachi and Hyderabad while in the rest of Sindh it is the commissionerate system of bureaucratic governance that would be in vogue. How could PP take such a divisive and resentful decision?

It succeeded in driving a wedge between Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza and Asif Ali Zardari. Dr. Mirza had to quit the PPP when he felt himself irrelevant in the party for not being taken seriously with regard to his allegations about the conspiratorial collusion between interior minister Rehman Malik and the MQM.

To win the parliamentary support of MQM and to remain in power, Asif Ali Zardari had to ditch and abandon his chum and family friend Zulfiqar Mirza. The PPP stands divided in Sindh between pro Zulfiqar Mirza and the national Sindhis on one side and the party in power on the other.

The way the MQM simultaneously blows hot and cold and is always on the lookout for driving the maximum mileage out of the marooned PPP government at the centre, speaks for its shrewdness and self interest. It seldom agrees on restoring peace in Karachi but makes untenable demands that in normal situations could not be accepted.

The biggest charge that Zulfiqar Mirza leveled against MQM is that it was willing to become a catalyst for dismemberment of Pakistan planned by the United States. In this regard he showed a letter written by MQM chief to the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.He alleged that Rehman Malik was also privy and part of that diabolic conspiracy.

The MQM leader of all hues and cries are busy in decrying Dr Mirza and his charge-sheet against their party but their outcry and Defense lack force, vitality, logic and veracity that could match the roaring outbursts of Zulfiqar Mirza.

With this latest saber-rattling between a faction of the renegade PPP stalwarts and that of MQM, the possibilities of MQM spreading its tentacles elsewhere in Pakistan seem to be halted, at least for the time being.

The MQM’ fearsome profile that it had built over the years might be melting away after a battle cry from Dr. Mirza who would be joined by such strong ethnic and religious factions as Jamaat-e- Islami, ANP and the nationalist Sindhis.

Once the MQM’s rank and file on the lower strata of population in Karachi gets emboldened to defy and openly oppose MQM, the political situation for MQM would not remain congenial, nor would its vote bank remain intact.

Altaf Hussain’s loaded warning to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to be cautious in handing out verdict against the Urdu speaking people is presumptuous, roguish and ominous for the tenuous peace in Karachi. In this regard, MQM would prefer to stand in line with PPP for flouting the apex court’s decisions either by outright refusal and defiance or going slow on their implementation.

In the wake of so many rivals on the landscape of Pakistan and its tarnished image of a cutthroat and fear mongering party, it would be doubtful if it can stem its dwindling reputation as a social welfare or political outfit that can rid Pakistan of her myriad problems.

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