THE art of politics hinges on the ability to choose the mot juste, and MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s recent statement on Karachi’s place within the federation was ill-considered in the extreme. Reacting to protesters’ allegations of poll rigging by his party, he had asked the leaders and the establishment to separate Karachi from Pakistan if they did not like the city’s mandate. His words may have been misinterpreted, as he clarified through a press release on Monday, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was inappropriate lexicon to use in a country that saw dismemberment in 1971 and still faces a separatist insurgency in Balochistan. Mr Hussain pushed all the wrong buttons; as the head of a political party that claims to have national aspirations, he ought to have known better.

Unfortunately, this was not all. In the same press release, he also said that anyone who had any grievance about the elections should seek legal remedy instead of coming out on the streets. Only a day earlier, he had issued what were taken as threats against a rally at Karachi’s main Teen Talwar intersection that was protesting against alleged poll rigging. Mr Hussain should keep in mind that taking to the streets in peaceful protest is a basic right of the citizenry. It is ironic that this must be repeated just after an election — one with a high turnout — has taken place. Now that this step towards continuing to strengthen the democratic process in the country has been taken, it behoves all quarters to play their part responsibly and with maturity. Reacting in haste and in anger will only result in playing into the hands of those that envision a regressive future for the country.

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Comments (22)

May 16, 2013 5:23 am
You're repeating the same mistake of calling the army probably because you lack faith in democracy... Here in India we often see lay politicians and seccessionists making these type of statements.. Initially they have their followers, later these melt away as people don't see much merit or feasibility/practicality and have other urgent daily needs to focus on.... Best is to ignore them, while keeping an eye on these elements. Why react and aggravate & legitimize them...
TK from USA
May 16, 2013 11:08 pm
Altaf Hussain and his Comrades are best described by the Joker in Batman Movie: Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things. Started out with a legitimate cause but now have no clue. Alas, MQM has become a cult instead of a political party.
May 15, 2013 6:22 pm
Its a shame educated lot of Karachi falling prey to Altaf Hussain's negative politics. At least people should listen to the foul language he is using and making fun of Karachiites....Please wake up Karachiites.
May 15, 2013 5:52 pm
100% agree, if he is a true leader he should be with the peoples
May 15, 2013 11:37 am
My biggest problem with Altaf is that he loves to make everything an ethnic and regional issue and leaves little as a political debate. Karachiites are lovely people and they are as Pakistani as anyone else for every practical and theoretical purpose. But MQM should stop acting as their theke-daar. It just doesn't wash.
ali haider
May 16, 2013 5:05 am
Complaining British authorities is the right way to solve this problem :)
May 15, 2013 10:58 pm
Why should the Army come into this, why not the people of Sindh especially Karachi tell him what they think of his idea. Everyone was clapping when he was probagating division of Punjab.
May 15, 2013 11:22 pm
I say his remarks were off color.
Agha Ata (USA)
May 15, 2013 11:56 pm
Altaf Hussian's speeches have always been rhetoric, with no substance.
May 15, 2013 3:09 pm
What does have army has to do with anything?
May 15, 2013 1:27 pm
Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.
stop hate
May 15, 2013 7:27 pm
And this is not the first time he has done this.
May 15, 2013 11:54 am
This is not for the first time when Altaf Hussain issued a statement against the integrity of Pakistan.First, he issues a provoking statement and after the public reaction a statement is issued that media,anchor persons and the public could not understand what the leader had said.
May 15, 2013 12:06 pm
Well written!
May 16, 2013 8:53 pm
Nawaz Sharif did the same, he coaxed and enticed Talal Bugti to make anti Pakistan statements, just to get Bloch sympathies. So much so he invited Manmohan Singh on his Oath Taking ceremony in response to Manmohan's over exited and untimely invitation to Nawaz to visit India and then sudden refusal of the whole statement, had also created a foul smell. Altaf Bhai infact just asked to separate Karachi from rest of the confusion created concerning the Election Drama in whole of the country, as MQM commanded people's mandate at least in Karchi. The slip of the tongue is being exploited un necessarily.
May 15, 2013 5:19 pm
Army was called in every occasion, but the problems were never solved, rather those were amplified beyond recognition. Read history what happened in 1971. What has happened to PPP in this election no army general could do it, what the people did to it. Keep army out of it.
Ali Akbar
May 15, 2013 4:43 am
Our so called patriotic army is sleeping!!!!!!
May 15, 2013 4:50 am
I am a big fan of MQM but i feel his remarks were completely uncalled for, and totally against patriotism.
May 15, 2013 6:41 am
AH thinks Karachi is his property. He and those sitting and clapping on his comments should be separated from Karachi. Who is financing his Kingship and Telephone Calls in U.K. since almost thirty years. It has been drained from Karachi only. His phone calls should be blocked and all those clapping persons should be put on trial. Non-sense.
Ali Akbar
May 15, 2013 7:19 am
Dear General Kayani Wake up before its tooo late.....
Zafar Iqbal
May 15, 2013 8:01 am
one thing can give us peace and mental satisfaction if his telephonic contact should be disconnected when he tries to address in a meeting.
May 16, 2013 3:14 pm
He needs to relocate to London Zoo
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