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Tuesday, May 12, 2015
MQM Needs Reconfiguration
MQM, an acronym that initially stood for Mohajir Qaumi Movement, is a political party representing the Urdu speaking immigrants from India to Pakistan; it now stands for Muttahida Quami Movement, a name that literally means united national movement. Renaming the party was supposedly done to shift away from the party's narrow linguistic tribalism to a broader agenda that emphasizes secularism and economic egalitarianism. The following analysis recommends that the MQM redefine its political platform, bring new leaders in the forefront, and accentuate its all- inclusive progressive political credentials in consonance with its new name.
In 1984, Altaf Hussain, a son of working class immigrants from India, born in Karachi, five years after the establishment of Pakistan, founded the MQM. Hussain continues to be the party's top cultish doyen, though he now lives in exile in London as a naturalized citizen of the United Kingdom. On a regular basis, Hussain makes telephone speeches to his party workers in Karachi. Some of his speeches criticize rival politicians in unkind words. Some disgrace the Pakistan armed forces. Some extol India. Some threaten bloodshed in Pakistan. Criminal cases involving money laundering and incitement to violence are filed against him in London courts. Pakistan's provincial assemblies have passed resolutions to condemn his derogatory addresses and pressure is building on the federal government to ban Hussain's provocative orations airing live on the electronic media.
With its primary political base in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city and financial epicenter, MQM is being increasingly accused of terrorism, target-killings, abductions, extortions, land usurpations, and ties with India's spy agency, known as Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Rangers, a quasi-military outfit, have been deployed in Karachi to fight rampant crime and elusive criminals. In March, Rangers raided the MQM political headquarters and arrested several fugitives and recovered contraband. Hussain accused the Rangers of planting the incriminating evidence at the headquarters.