News of Altaf Hussain's terminal illness is an open secret. Consequently, MQM's leadership appears embroiled in crafting her next move on political chessboard.Timing of every move is critical to its success. It seems that MQM has done her homework to turn impending death of her Quaid in to an opportunity. They are going for an extreme makeover. There are concerns in some quarters that Altaf’s death and creation of rebel block may result in some unrest. This assertion becomes irrelevant as MQM is using her political brain and working adroitly on Post Altaf scenario in order to make the best of Bhai’s demise.
Now, let us build upon the hypothesis in the light of recent developments.
MQM’s militancy, money laundering, RAW connection and Altaf Hussain’s eccentricity have become facts by now. Political face of MQM is badly tainted. However, MQM’s strength lies in her party structure and mandate in Urban Sindh. This did not happen by chance. They have thrown everything but kitchen sink to establish political foothold in Urdu speaking community. Resultantly, their vote bank has grown after every election. Currently, they have 8 Senators, 24 MNAs and 50 MPAs (departure of Dr Saghir is not likely to change the tally of MPAs). These figures are staggering in any democracy. These figures also give you the answer to reconciliation compulsions of past and present Governments. Democracy as form of govt may have its advantages but MQM’s stranglehold on urban Sindh is the worst face of it.
Quick recap of Mustafa Kamal’s parachute landing along with Anees KK is; "calculated" allegations (no proofs, no specifics) only against Altaf Hussain, pleading to people & establishment for rehabilitation of MQM's militant wing on the pretext that 'they were not born killers'(probably same was the case with Al Capone & Hitler), highlighting RAW connection & mentioning South Africa & Indian 'Set ups', attributing all wrong decisions to one man who is dying & cannot defend himself giving strength to doubts over ‘timings’ of their return, measured attacks against PPPP & Rehman Malik, MQM's rather docile response to apparently 'Dabang' press conference, whereas, normally a word against Bhai was considered abuse against all Mohajirs, party flag & name withheld, establishment's mysterious silence either due to ignorance or complete confidence in the outcome or may be they are still colluding with MQM for 'saving democracy'.
Scribe wishes to be wrong but having been able to see through the MQM’s political acumen, one can easily smell the rat. It all appears to be a bargain to save party. The decision makers in the party have been able to look far ahead than its workers and people in general. It appears that important power players in MQM have decided to give up Altaf Hussain’s legacy and maintain Raaj in Karachi. It does not require a PhD economics to know that Karachi is the hen that only lays golden eggs in terms of revenue generation. So keeping grip over Karachi becomes more important than holding on to appalling legacy of Altaf Hussain. For which MQM political brains are working on following:-
1. Trade one man and take home all. They are playing on declaring Altaf Hussain an alcoholic douchebag who took all decision under influence which has ruined two generations of Urdu speaking community.
2. Again fix blame on Altaf Hussain for RAW connection, so that rest of them get away with it.
3. It is about time to close South African and Indian setups so that they come clean from militancy stigma. Again, Altaf Hussain’s name is the best choice and rest of them get a clean chit from people and govt.
4. Protecting and rehabilitating MQM’s dissident militant wing as there was serious resentment in party over the disowning of this wing. Since politics of violence was not making any headways, they have decided to do away with this aspect as well.
5. All three (MK, AKK and Dr Saghir) did not target any of their comrades in MQM rather they focused on singling out Bhai. Likewise, since Urdu community holds the key for power in Urban Sindh, they have tried to re-connect with Urdu speaking community only. Statements like we were once educated people and now being dubbed RAW agents. There is nothing wrong with unit and sector incharge on ground, they were just executing orders on Bhai’s behest.
6. Rebel group is hampering on the fact that people have been kept in dark in the name of Muhajir exploitation. They are, in fact, writing a new chapter of deceit for their own community.
7. Among all political rivals, these rebels are only targeting PPPP which can politically challenge MQM in Sindh. So the approach is politically MQM centric and futuristic.
8. Finally, for the sake of newer and cleaner beginnings, on demise of Altaf Hussain MQM is likely to take everyone into fold including Mustafa Kamal, Anees KK and now Dr Saghir by giving them important leadership slots in MQM. Or as plan B- wait & see; which MQM is doing right now. Let these rebels flourish, let others join, let them gain so much momentum that eventually remaining MQM is merged with rebels.
Mustafa Kamal may be the best choice as MQM wishes to start afresh with relatively cleaner politics. Minus one now appears to be a Win-Win for them. They will apparently mourn for optical value and then they will show a big heart and absorb old defections in to MQM or join them. Slowly they will start to disown all wrongs of the past attributing them to Altaf Hussain's solo and poor decision making just like they disowned all those militants in their ranks caught by LEAs. But it remains to be seen whether new look MQM gives up her old bad habits? Will the architects of MQM’s new episode be able to overcome temptations of the past?
Zia ul Haq, IJI (coalition of MQM & Noon), PPPP and Pervez Musharraf, all deserve a mention here. They all knew shenanigans of MQM but cast a blind eye to it. They nurtured this monster for the last three decades. Even now, the Interior Minister sees statements of MQM insiders as a storm in the tea cup and refuses to associate any weight to it. If not Interior Ministry then who is going to take stock of situation? Finally, little mention self proclaimed leader and political novice, Mr IK who is happy that recent events supplemented PTI’s stance on MQM. Apparently, MQM’s politics has once again outgrown everyone in Pakistan.
Above stated hypothesis may prove wrong. In which case, just take this piece as new episode of Game of Thrones. But it seems that MQM after undergoing extreme makeover by its political wizards is here to stay with a new look and same old agenda without Altaf Hussain.Only Allah knows the whole Truth.