[This is another contribution by Bilal Qureshi (see here for Bilal’s previous piece on the NRO). We are pleased to publish it since we believe it is important to continue the debate. We do not necessarily subscribe to the author’s views – PTH]
By Bilal Qureshi
© The Nation, Pakistan
There are times when I am tempted to accept Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as a genuine political party. However, thankfully, I come to my senses as soon as MQM attempts one of those fascist maneuvers that have become synonymous with MQM. If anyone pays close attention, it is not difficult to see a pattern with MQM.
After every election, MQM promptly joins government, but they act like they are in opposition. On the surface, MQM offers unconditional support to every incoming government, but in reality, there are deals that are negotiated and finalized behind the scene. Right after taking over plump ministries in center and Sindh, MQM starts the usual blackmailing routine by publicly pressuring government by slogans like ‘our workers are being targeted, MQM is being persecuted, and we will continue to fight for our rights, MQM will not sit silent’ etc. This is a very basic, but a brilliant way of blackmailing Islamabad and Karachi to keep the goodies coming MQM’s way. Obviously, MQM has perfected the art of staying in power without being tainted, but there is a lot more to MQM than what is visible.
Take for example the fact that MQM’s leader, Altaf Hussain who is not even Pakistani citizen, but he continues to run MQM from London. Isn’t it interference in Pakistan’s politics by a foreigner? After all, Altaf Hussain is a British citizen. So, why is acceptable for Pakistan (and for MQM) to accept Altaf Hussain’s meddling in Pakistan’s affairs? Is MQM not for an independent Pakistan? Doesn’t independence dictates that dictation from foreigners and management by remote control be rejected?
Also, according to the published reports in Pakistan, two of the biggest beneficiaries of NRO are Altaf Hussain (72 cases against Altaf Hussain were withdrawn) and Farooq Sattar who is MQM’s leader in National Assembly (23 cases were withdrawn against Farooq Sattar) but they have not either accepted responsibility, nor have they taken a clear stand about the issue. Those who know MQM are not surprised by the news of MQM benefiting tremendously by NRO because this has been MQM’ history, take everything, yet, claim to be a victim of multiple conspiracies. Wow!
However, what remains the most disturbing aspect about MQM is their unreliability, both as friends and as allies. MQM has always kept its eyes open and as soon as any government was toppled, dismissed, or replaced, MQM was always there to claim their share. And unfortunately, given Pakistan’s current challenges, it is impossible for anyone to confront the monster, otherwise called Altaf Bhai!