Ex-Karachi mayor launches party to take on MQM

WEB DESK: Former mayor of Karachi Mustafa Kamal on Thursday launched his yet to be named political party, levelling a slew of allegations against Muttahida Qaumi Movement supremo Altaf Hussain. Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani, another former MQM leader, returned home from self-imposed exile in Dubai early Thursday morning.

Both left Pakistan in 2013 over reported differences with Altaf, and lived in Dubai since then. Addressing a press conference along with Qaimkhani, Kamal, who was once strongly admired by Altaf, accused the latter of getting killed thousands of Urdu-speaking people with support of Indian spy agency RAW.

In his unprecedented fierce remarks against Atlaf, Kamal accused him of working against the State and deceiving the people of Pakistan. Mustafa, who used to address party chief as “Altaf Bhai” was now seen calling him ‘Altaf Sahib’ during his presser. “PPP’s leader and former Interior Minister Rehman Malik has all the information that how MQM operates in the country under the patronage of RAW,” a weeping Kamal said. “We are launching a two-man party with a strong conviction to create national unity,” he said. He also displayed the flag of Pakistan, describing it as the flag of his party.

He also accused Altaf of destroying the two generations of Urdu-speaking people in Pakistan, adding that “once we were a patriotic community, now we are described as RAW’s agents.” Kamal accused Altaf of humiliating party workers several times in public meetings, especially once in May 2013 when he changed the party setup overnight. He also said former Interior Minister Rehman Malik used to dictate MQM’s press releases.

He accused Altaf of making party policy while drunk. “We requested Altaf Hussain not to make highly objectionable remarks but he never accepted his mistakes,” he said, adding Altaf dissolved the party structure on May 19, 2013 in a state of drunkenness. Bursting into tears, he said Altaf would often make MQM Co-ordination Committee to unsuccessfully clarify to media his objectionable and controversial remarks.

“For the last 30 years, just to save Altaf Hussain’s dignity and prestige, we kept on defending him despite all odds,” he said. He said Altaf has been misleading people who have supported him. He said senior leadership of MQM, including himself, was summoned to Dubai and were apprised about the allegations which had been accepted by the party’s London-based hierarchy including Mohammad Anwar and Altaf Hussain before the Scotland Yard. In the second part of his three-part presser, Kamal told media that they have come back to Pakistan to save lives, to bridge the differences between people. He said he asked Altaf to seek forgiveness from the Almighty.

He said that Urdu-speaking community has always been loyal to Pakistan. Sharing the agenda of his newly-formed party, he said they would focus on urban national plan, presidential form government, creation of new provinces on administrative grounds, health and education. To a question, he dispelled the impression that they have come back to Pakistan with the support of ‘hidden forces’. “We are here in Pakistan without any prior guarantees from powerful forces,” he mentioned.

In August 2013, Mustafa Kamal , quietly left the country, moving first to Tanzania and then settling in Dubai, informing party leaders through emails that he had left because of his wife’s illness and personal problems. Days later, Qaimkhani also followed in Kamal’s footsteps and reside in Dubai.

INP adds: Kamal recalled how the MQM Rabita Committee was manhandled by people when the PTI secured 800,000 votes in areas considered as MQM’s traditional stronghold. He asked why the children of MQM workers continue to bury their fathers. He demanded to know the agenda behind all these sacrifices. “Is it to help fund Altaf Hussain’s alcoholism, to finance their properties and wealth abroad?” he asked. “We were a civilised community. We have now been reduced to RAW agents,” he said. “What do you want us to see? More arrests? Torture? Martyrs? I agree you have to give sacrifices in movements. We are willing to sacrifice ourselves. But tell me what for?”

Kamal minced no words when claiming why he left the MQM after he realised that all his efforts and hard work was not for the benefit of the people but to fund the ills of one man. “We have returned today because every child of Pakistan, every party, the establishment of Pakistan as well as the present and past government s know, that Altaf Hussain has links with the Indian intelligence agency, RAW,” he alleged.

“When Dr Imran Farooq was martyred, and the Scotland Yard started gathering evidence from his residence; they took away a truckload of evidence from his (Altaf’s) residence. For six or seven months, the investigators studied the evidence and documents that they had collected. Then they summoned the members in London, including Altaf Hussain who was interviewed for three days,” he said.

Kamal claimed that during the Scotland Yard interviews, they were asked whether they were taking funds from India. He alleged that all the individuals denied the allegations for at least 10-15 minutes and then the Scotland Yard began serving them documentary evidence proving all the allegations that they had just denied.

Kamal claimed Altaf was misleading the people of Pakistan that “since he has raised his voice against the establishment of Pakistan, he is being cornered and silenced”. He added that the low level workers of the party, “the unit in-charges, the organisational committees – none of them know the truth and are buying into the lies, believing the Rangers are doing a great injustice to their leader and the party.” “Did Saulat Mirza have any personal dispute with Shahid Hamid? Who made Saulat Mirza the murderer of Shamid Hamid. Ajmal Pahari, who made him a terrorist?” he said, visibly in tears.

Kamal asked how the Urdu-speaking Mohajir community that was known for its literacy and eloquence has been reduced to being labelled RAW agents. “Do not hate the Urdu-speaking people for the actions of certain people,” he said. He urged the establishment of Pakistan not to hate the Urdu-speaking people because of the actions of Altaf Hussain.

“Giving instructions to party workers to go and train using weapons, why?” asked Mustafa Kamal. He claimed that Altaf Hussain who never came to the party office for months, which was only minutes from his residence in London, was not going to return to Pakistan to lead anyone.

Mustafa Kamal appealed to the establishment to begin to see the Urdu-speaking community in the same light as the rest of the loyal citizens of Pakistan. He appealed that the community was not disloyal to the state and pleaded that they be brought back to the fold so they could help build the country. After spelling out why he had left the party and why he has returned to Karachi, Mustafa Kamal outlined his next line of action. “Today we are here to launch a party that does not have a name, but just the two of us, Anees Qaimkhani and myself Mustafa Kamal are laying the foundation of such a party that does not have a name today but, we can tell you today what this party will do.”

Mustafa Kamal dispelled any notion of likening his return to that of Afaq Ahmed and others who he said had come under the protection of others. Responding to a question about being on the wanted list Anees Qaimkhani rejected the rumours, stating that wanted people are on the run they do not come out in the open.

Source: Business Recorder