In 2010 in Karachi, billboards and wall-chalking appeared across the city with the term ‘Altafism.’

Unlike the word ‘Bhuttoism’ that was mainly the construct of some passionate lower-tier leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that was then (from the mid-1980s onwards) adopted by the party leadership, ‘Altafism’ seems to have been the brainchild of the main headship of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

The term, of course, is associated with the political thinking of the chief of the MQM, Altaf Hussain.

It first appeared as political graffiti on the walls of Karachi in 2010, gradually making its way into the speeches of the MQM activists and members.

The MQM explains Altafism to mean 'doing politics of positive practicalism (sic) ' and/or 'of realism.'

Though it is not a documented doctrine, it did, however, emerge from within the party and was greenlighted by the party head.

The term seems to have come about to describe the synthesis reached by the party's intelligentsia after a hectic discourse within the MQM in the last decade.

The discourse was an intra-party debate about what the party's ideology was after it evolved from being a Mohajir-centric party to trying to become a more widespread and non-ethnic political entity.

Even though the MQM's main support still comes from Sindh's Urdu speakers, an ideological conflict had erupted in the party when it clashed with the state on the streets of Karachi in the 1990s.

Facing three separate spats of operations as described by the government of the time in the said decade, the party suffered concentrated state action, first by the military (1992-93) and then by para-military outfits and the police (1994-96).

Noman Beig in his lengthy paper, ‘MQM: From Mohalla to the Mainstream’ and French academic and author Laurent Gayar in ‘Guns, Slums & Yellow Devils’ suggest that the authorities at the time of the operations explained them as a way to 'expose the party’s criminal activities.’

Gradually the accusations then led to some organs of the security agencies and the government accusing the MQM of wanting ‘to break Karachi from rest of the country and turn it into a new homeland for Mohajirs called Jinnahpur.' Both Beig and Gayar are highly sceptical about the Jinnahpur claim in their respective studies and it was also something that the MQM constantly denied.

But it was only recently that former IB Chief, Brig. Billa, finally went on record saying that the whole Jinnahpur issue was largely a fabrication.

There is however truth in the fact that the MQM's sudden rise to power in Karachi (in the 1980s) did seem to have galvanised the inexperienced party leadership into exhibiting aggressive, almost totalitarian tendencies.

But since the party’s electoral rise also disturbed the traditional political balance of Karachi (and of Sindh at large), it is also correct that the party did face multiple attempts by those affected by the rise to undermine it.

The state as a whole too began feeling the pinch when the party started to challenge it. In 1979 Altaf Husain was arrested for allegedly burning a Pakistani flag, a charge he denied. Then during a 1986 rally in Karachi he described the Pakistani state as being ‘hegemony of the Punjabi elite.’

Dutch author Oskar Vaarkaik who spent more than two years in Karachi and Hyderabad studying the politics of the MQM (in the 90s), wrote that many of the MQM leaders also thought that the ruling elite was using other ethnicities settled in Karachi to undermine the economics and sociology of Mohajir majority-ism in the city.

The MQM's ideology was squarely ethnic (Mohajir) between its inception in 1984 till the late 1990s.

However, the party membership and activists began sliding into an existential crisis during the state's operation against the party.

In the ensuing turmoil, two streams of thought emerged within the besieged party: one was that since the Mohajirs were not exactly a people or ethnicity based on any singular collective cultural homogeneity, they would not respond to the crises like the Bengalis of former East Pakistan.

Then, unlike the Bengalis, the Mohajirs were once actually an integral part of the country's ruling and economic elite along with the Punjabis.

This strain of thinking concluded that the Mohajirs' support for the MQM was largely based on the desire that the party would bring them back into the mainstream of Pakistan's power politics and economics. And thus, the MQM should reinvent itself as a mainstream national political party that would not only look after the political and economic interests of Sindh's Mohajirs but also (or at least pretend) to cater to the economic and political aspirations of the country's other urban middle and lower middle-classes.

The second synthesis emerging from the discourse concluded that the MQM's original project to mould the Mohajirs into a single ethnic entity —through the propagation of a narrative of having a shared history of migration from India and having roots in the royal Persian and Turkish Muslim regimes of ancient India — should be retained.

Nevertheless, it was the first strain that won the day and the MQM, from 2002 onwards, began to expand its ideological scope.

It set out to evolve itself into becoming a modernist and secular urban party that was opposed to the 'feudal-mullah nexus' and a supporter of 'the spirit of constructive business and social enterprise and entrepreneurship.'

The party leadership also explains Altafism's pragmatist aspect as something that gives the party the flexibility to eschew ideological contradiction.

For example, the MQM, though vehemently opposed to Political Islam, has in recent times supported certain issues championed by its reactionary and fundamentalist opponents — issues such as the demand to release Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neurosurgeon jailed in the US on the charge of supporting terrorism in Afghanistan.

This flexibility (pragmatism) then also gives the party the space, at the same time (and breath), to exhibit its opposition against religious militancy through huge rallies, and put up billboards saying ‘Dandey ki Shariat namanzoor’ (No to Shariah law through force) — a campaign it ran late last year.

Both ways, the emergence of the term Altafism and its emphasis on ‘practicalism and realism’ can largely be seen as an outcome of a compromise.

It can be explained as a consensus reached between the modernist, pro-business and secular aspirations of the party's new leadership and the hyper populism of the old guard that still roots its rhetoric in the horrid memory of the bloodshed witnessed during the state's operations against the party and in imagery entrenched in the idiom of martyrdom found in the tales of defiance in Sufi folklore.

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Comments (92)

sameer
August 13, 2012 10:28 am
Nicely written, This is the time both parties need to identify the bad people and keep them out of the party. There are a lot of Pashtun criminals are taking the cover of ANP which is also bad for the ANP and same is for MQM that there are people using party name to their own benefit.
Karamsiddiqui
August 13, 2012 10:28 am
All intelligence ppl are Intelligent
JPositive
August 12, 2012 10:17 am
You are right najam: MQM needs to attract non-urdu speaking people. But as a citizen of Karachi, my questions is: are the non-speaking people inclined to be attracted towards the MQM. Unfortunately, I think the answer is no because right from the inception of MQM, I have seen how staunchly non-urdu speaking people (specially those from punjab) loath and hate MQM. They simply couldn't digest the idea of accepting the leadership of non-punjabi (or a non martial) race. Therefore I think that MQM should stop trying to attract these people and instead focus on improving the lives of its constituents only!
Nhz
August 13, 2012 12:55 pm
Wafa: What about weaponization, Bhata mafia, fight on KHALS.......... the list goes on and on.... NHZ
junayd
August 12, 2012 9:00 pm
I am waiting for that big day when mqm chief returns to 90 and starts leading from there. If this dont happen than i doubt the future success of mqm to benefit pakistan. All said, 1 good thing that mqm has produced is mustafa kamal in the form of excellent administrator.
Muhammad
August 12, 2012 3:12 pm
NFP tries to turn liberal to MQM rather than Imran khan,he fails to convinced them to PPP after zardari roots channeled in party.I do not why he don't like Imran and called him new version of jamat e islami,but where was MQM populism ideology when they banned current chief justice and imran khan to enter in Karachi,MQM was fooled by zardari during all his tenure,they do not deserve vote of secular
True Pakistani
August 12, 2012 10:27 am
Those who are criticizing MQM here are advised to read Anatol Lieven's 2011 book "Pakistan - A hard country". He does a brilliant job of analyzing the Pakistani society including her political parties. MQM is far, far apart from the other ignorant and feudal parties whose only aim is to extort money from the State by plundering its resources and rewarding their own followers!
junayd
August 12, 2012 8:55 pm
Jinnah pur
Masood Hussatn
August 12, 2012 8:59 pm
MQM policy has always been"Running with the hare and hunting with the hound". They have always attempted to stay in the Govt,enjoying all the benefits ander its cover carry on their criminal activities.NFP has failed first time in his analysis to pin point the the causes of failure of law and order in Karachi. To begin with one needs to go deep into the factors leading to creation of mqm.Explainations given were always thought over later. The ckearance certi ficates of good conduct issued by intellicent agencies at different times werealways according to the requirment of the govt of the time.
Razzaq
August 12, 2012 11:39 am
The dutch writer's observations mentioned in this article was, is correct and it will be used in future as well, The ruling class just want to use Karachi for it's vested interest but not give anything back to Karachi, Evidently,all leading figures in ruling class do not belong to Karachi but belong to villages of provinces but do not hasitate to claim a stack in the city. So the ground reaality is that in order to protect their vested interests, it is also important to keep Karachi disrupted,unsettled and keep the control of city in their hands.
Karachi Master
August 12, 2012 12:56 pm
Wah, fizza. Jeeay Imran kaho toh aap mohib-e-watan Muslaman, Jeeay Altaf kaho toh aap kuch aur? Yeh kya baat hoi.
Arif
August 12, 2012 11:47 am
i wud say half captured!
Arif
August 12, 2012 11:46 am
well judged!
sameer
August 13, 2012 10:18 am
There are people from many ethnicity in MQM, e.g. Sindhi, Balochi and a number of Pashtoons are in MQM, a number of minority are also in MQM. It is dominated my Urdu speaking but it does not mean that there are no other language speaker in MQM. Most of the MQM worker are from middle class and lower middle class. How would some one privileged to moving in bullet-proof Mercedes can know the problems of common people, or staying abroad most of his life.. I have seen my-self Farooq Sattar in white corolla-XLI without tinted glass on back seat along with driver only, no gun-men in the car, there was a police mobile behind that with only one Police standing on the back of the van.
Ghani K
August 13, 2012 10:03 am
@Khan : If Altaf Hussain speaks for middle class & against Wadharas, Choudhries & Sardars, why MQM has been part of Musharraf's regime for 9 years where Wadharas & Choudhries were part of the government? Now supporting A Wadhara, AAZ.The fact is MQM wants to be part of the government, any government. Altaf Hussain is leader in absentia, pulling strings from London while his cronies make sure that Karachi is under their unchallenged control. He is a master of political somersaults. He has no ideaology , he is a supremo of a linguistic party.
NFP Fan
August 12, 2012 7:32 pm
The only 'ism' that should really matter is NFPism. I tell you this country would become a lot better. Of course, there won't be any room for the moral brigade. What a pleasant thought.
shoaib
August 12, 2012 7:27 pm
Why not blame MQM? They hv been in government fr the last 10 years !!!!
karamsiddiqui
August 13, 2012 10:24 am
It was an intelligence sleuth
Mustafa Razavi
August 12, 2012 7:11 pm
Toti34; I wasn't aware that Altaf Hussain has suggested the removal of the word "Islamic" from our country's name, I will take your words for it. Although I disagree with Altaf Hussain on this and similar issues, I must admire and respect his honesty and courage. Most leaders and journalists who are working to undermine our religion our Tahzeeb and our language wouldn't admit their true allegiances.
Noorie
August 12, 2012 12:13 pm
What's JP?
Karachi Master
August 12, 2012 12:50 pm
But politics is all about oppurtunitism. Only a fool would think it's about idealism.
@fizzarahman
August 12, 2012 12:50 pm
Sare article mein kahiin b mazak nahin ura? Kahiin b bura nahin kaha? Lagta he, NFP also beleives i n "Karachi mei rehna he toh jiye mutttahida toh kehna hai"
Abdullah N.
August 12, 2012 12:58 pm
Bhutto earned ' Bhuttoism' by his presence among the masses. Altaf Hussain is a supremo of an exclusionary, linguistic minority party, MQM which he controls from his safe haven in London. If he truly wants to promote "Altafism", he better come back and mingle with masses from Peshawar to Karachi. Otherwise "Altafism" will remain a slogan just like his party's name switch from Mohajir Qaumi Movement to Motahida Qaumi Movement.
Ghani Khan Niazi
August 12, 2012 12:40 pm
Supremo Altaf and his MQM were loyal partner of a military dictator for 9 years and then jumped the wagon to join feudalism under AAZ. NFP erroneously calls it 'Altafism' , in fact it is 'Opportunism.
Wafa
August 12, 2012 10:37 am
About time we all should get over the propaganda of 90s about MQM. There may be some flaws in this party but Pakistan has bigger issues to deal with and for that I just know one thing, its only a worker from MQM, who will go to Parliament without buying a seat and will go there with issues that more than 90% of us face. Only a MQM worker can know how it feels to travel in a bus, or manage load shedding or water shortage or inflation. A party that is a true representation of middle class & lower middle class society of Pakistan and can bring the real Change and lessen our miseries.
ali shah
August 13, 2012 8:38 am
So....now the great NFP is scared of the MQM? A complete article on MQM without mocking it?
aku
August 12, 2012 12:05 pm
I do sympathize with MQM on JP and various other conspiracies in the past. But hiding the fact that they play on fear of common man is criminal on part of NFP. MQM's gun politics has destroyed Karachi's peace. And their government's inability or may be unwillingness to control the law and order is shameful. They may have a great agenda, but the people who run the show at the helm of affair in this party now are politically intoxicated with power and wealth.
zaki khan
August 12, 2012 11:18 am
nicely written article, just one correction wanted to make , Afia siddiqui is not a neurosurgeon.
Nasiroski
August 13, 2012 11:45 am
This is Gibberish, do you a point at all, aside from personal bashing?
EmMoosa
August 13, 2012 11:34 am
Very true. I would like to add that Karachi's population has always been the best of the education class comparing to all over the country. Therefore, they were the only one who were choosing Jamat Islami and JUI of Noorani as their representatives in the parliaments before MQM . But the both parties leaders never have shown their faces after got elected. Altaf Husain and his collegues belonged to educated class and monitoring the whole situation very closely. At that time they were also among the admirers and followers of particularly JI and their student wing IJT. People of Karachi would never support MQM if there have not been the failure of JI and JUP because of their misconduct. to the Karachities. MQM is blamed for the violance in Karachi. But she can not only be blamed for that. Jamiat, JI and ANP have always been there to stop MQM. JI and IJT were fully equipped with weapons in those days. Unfortunately, the establishment either beaurocracy or army supported the other parties against MQM by all means. So " tung aamad bajang aamad".
Haji Ashfaq
August 12, 2012 7:14 am
A good analysed piece. Whatever - the people of karachi are living in a shadow of fear 24 hours of a day, there are NO GO areas, there is target killing, there is extortion (even the Reriwalla is not spared) and there is enough arms and ammunition in Karachi to raise an Infantry Division (May call it Muhajir/Pakhtoon/Sind Division). Will be happy if the population can get rid of it all. Damn care who comes to power.
Khan
August 12, 2012 3:56 pm
From this article you can draw few thinking behind the policies of MQM.__It started as Mohjir Quami Movement. Mohjirs came to Pakistan as Pakistani and with a feeling to support build up of Pakistani State. They to work with their education, expertise and resources for that cause. While migrating they suffered tremendous loss of life and resources. After few years of creation of Pakistan it was a county of Punjabi’s Sindhi’s Pakhtoon’s Bloochi’s and Bengali’s and there was no recognition of a minority but substantially large segment termed as “Urdu Speaking” although this term should be used for all Pakistanis as Urdu is national language of Pakistan. MQM was in the beginning an effort to provide recognition for these people.____Then MQM also realized that there is injustice done to middle lower middle and poor class by Wadairhs Choudhries and Sardars who have taken control of Pakistani Government affairs. To raise their voice it changed its name to Muthada Quami Movement. Its demand to get rid of these systems as was done in India long time back to abolish Zamindara system.____It also demand to widen the Tax policy to include agriculture which is also not possible as long as Wadharas Choudhries and Sardars are having majority in Government.
naz
August 12, 2012 10:36 pm
jinnah poor.
naz
August 12, 2012 10:34 pm
hhuuumm - care to share which INTELLIGENT person? who can be intelligent than your own highness?
naz
August 12, 2012 10:33 pm
you are going a little wrong. punjabis are from punjab. sindhis are from sindh. so mohajir were from? well they were from different places like bihar, hyderabad, lakhnaow and so on. so why don't they call themselves that? had they done that and didn't go on to unite and change their identities they'd not have faced the dilemma. infact that would have lead them to make small groups of people from different areas settling into and keeping their loyalties to their own clans than to unite with others to behave like an injured party. the zamindarana nizam can't be changed - mohajirs left India on their own free will - people with vast lands in India didn't give up and are still living their - there are nawabs and maganates who are muslims and who didn't want to come to Pakistan because they couldn't leave thousand years of inherited fertilized lands or established enterprises. now the chaudrys and wadairas are the same story - they have been living here with all these previliges and they aren't going anywhere - even in US, Australia, UK and most of the developed countries people who choose to farm do farming on their inherited lands - their is still fuedalism in UK where Lords and Barons and even the Royal family hold palaces and huge estates and yes they do yeild some power of different sorts too. the whole ideology of liquidating someone's wealth because you don't have it and they yeild power with it would bring MQM nowhere and that is the reason MQM too make alliances everytime with Wadairas (PPP), Industrialists (PML-N) and even Military (despite being voilated by them every now and then) whille brainwashing people that Altaf Bhai (who is sitting on huge cache of wealth himself in LONDON) doesn't believe in it and is against it. and please for the love of this country (or perhaps GOD because you are so biased against this very land and the division of INDIA being the greatest blunder in the history of mankind) go and check out yourself if India has killed the Jagirdarana nizam or whatever. India is run by Provincial powers and that power comes from religious leaders, land owners, property maganates, industrialists and so on. in India Federal government has no power and even clinton visited a province first than Dehli so I am sure we both aren't smarter than her doing it.
Rabita
August 12, 2012 9:14 am
This is a short but one of the most insightful looks at the progress of the MQM. It remains to be the only openly liberal and secular parties in Pakistan. But I loved the way NFP described how it reached there. Kudos.
naz
August 12, 2012 10:20 pm
mustafa - there is no problem of adding "Islamic" in front of the name of your country. there are flags of muslim countries with Allah, Allah Akbar and the full Kalama who don't have "Islamic" in front of their official name. ask yourself this question: why don't you have an Indian name but an Arab name? because you are muslim isn't it? that doesn't make you an Arab. does it? so I believe (and its my own opinion) that adding something like "islamic" in front of the official name of your country doesn't make you belonging to a particular belief. another thing to consider is that its a name given to a place where group of people are living collectabily and though its not a great idea to "brand" the majority it also seem a little necessity and treated and behaved rightfully does no harm just like your name doesn't. yes I know you haven't agreed with him on this issue - perhaps you could also elaborate it why and if you haven't I guess this is my take on it.
gul alam
August 12, 2012 12:16 pm
But you completely swept under the rug the continued conflict ridden politics of MQM vis-a- vis ANP. It is difficult to figure out as to why these two secular parties are at logger head. The fact of the matter is that Pashtuns play a very insignificant role in Sindh establishment. They are under represented in every walk of life. But that is the problem of a handful of Pashtun elites. The overwhelming majority of pashtuns living in karachi are laborers, transporters and petty traders. These people have born the brunt of MQM atrocities as they are dispersed, unprotected and hence soft target. The time has come to turn the page and radically transform policies. Human beings fancy change when they find themselves exhausted in a bloody business. Both the MQM and ANP are political realities of Karachi and this has to reckoned with. The two together can bring about a positive change in Karachi. Given that the specter of terrorism rearing its head in Karachi , the two are natural allies rather than formidable foes.
Noorie
August 12, 2012 12:17 pm
Solid piece and an unbaised look at the MQM, even though NFP has never hidden his support and soft spot for both PPP and MQM. However, he has been equally supportive of Sindhi and Balochi nationalists as well, and ANP also. But him being a passionate Karachite, I can understand why he wants the rest of Pakistan to better understand the dynamics of the MQM. An interesting article.
Karachi Master
August 12, 2012 12:59 pm
And anyway, Paracha's sympathies for MQM go back a long way. At college when he was heading the Peoples Students Federation in 1988, he was one of the first people there to strike an alliance with MQM student wing the APMSO. I know because I was there.
Tariq K Sami
August 12, 2012 4:37 pm
The only time I liked Altaf Bhai was when he sang the film song Pardey mein rahnay do.. It was such a refreshing moment. It said volumes about him. Like no article can describe.
Muhammad Bhatti
August 12, 2012 2:00 pm
What you think people of other ethnicities are fool and you are master of words. The damage done by MQM to karachi will remain forever. The Whole generation of Muhajir youth was swallowed by hate teached by Altafism. Now the life of any citizen living in karachi is under the control of Mafias supported by MQM.
Ali S
August 12, 2012 2:01 pm
MQM could be the most promising left-wing political party of Pakistan if it gives up its street violence and hooliganism. It seems like on the ground level, the after-effects of the 90s operations still dawn heavily upon the party's conscience. They need to move on from that mentality - and not just on paper, but also in practice. Although I realize that Altaf Hussain did struggle for his cause, I think that non-Mohajirs would understand MQM a lot better if its official head was not someone who hasn't been to Pakistan in two decades - there are many very competent people in their ranks who need to be given a chance.
Abdul Mujeeb
August 12, 2012 6:18 pm
The problem is that we have had many generations being gradually conditioned to “isms”. Whether it’s Altafism, Bhutooism, sharifism, pachaism, jamtism etc. believe me, Pakistan would be a much happier and safer place to live, if all these isams wouldn’t existed in Pakistan. Pakistanis should think in “ out of box”.
Karam Siddiqui
August 12, 2012 2:34 pm
The discipline of MQM went against it. In a public meeting in Karachi where Nawaz was on stage as Prime Minister accompanied by Ch.Shuja'at. Altar Bhai got up to speak and said,"khaamosh" and there was a pin drop silence. Seeing this Shuja'at whispered to Nawaz, ' ae'nu nakeel dal'ni '.(he needs to be reined in). This was narrated to me by an Intelligent person.
Qalandar
August 12, 2012 4:56 am
Is Altafism is then synonymous with ethnicity (urduwalas) and ethnic cleansing (Pakhtoons, and others out of Karachi), extortions (distribution of perchies and determination of the extotion amount as per number of shutters of a shop), creation of Mahajir Suba (current graffiti on the walls), and ultimaytely a separate state (Hong Kong like 'Jinnahpur'!). MQM is in government yet it takes no reponsibility and its politics is as if they are victims themselves; and are are ruled by others (the mythical term used by MQM is "Hukmran Tabqa") Politics through terror and ruling from London. Yet people of Karachi are quiet. This explains the force of the Karachiwalas! When shall we see state doining anything to put an end to MQM's systematic extortions which is ultimately tranfered to the poor population of the city?
sabi
August 12, 2012 5:15 am
Whoever has used this term for mqm has done a great damage to his party because,the first thing that for the term ,ism, come to mind is religeon and immediate reaction to this thought is rejection as no body wants political personelties founding a new religion.
@TheseLongWars
August 12, 2012 5:17 am
the old guard that still roots its rhetoric in the horrid memory of the bloodshed witnessed during the state’s operations against the party I would also add that the memory of bloodshed during partition and and the Bangladesh war also motivates the old guard of this party. There is a significant Bihari faction within the MQM after all.
Yawar
August 12, 2012 5:18 am
Excellent analysis. Indeed, MQM's evolution has been a rather interesting episode, well captured here in this article.
Nusrat
August 12, 2012 5:24 am
Ha. Typical knee-jerk reaction. Sorry to break your heart, Qalandar Mian, but NONE of the many accusations you have put against the MQM were ever true. Kindly read the article again. The Jinnahpur issue was a trace planted by the state agencies.
Asif
August 12, 2012 5:39 am
The poor population is paying anways as there is no progressive taxation system; 9% tax to GDP ratio. Only salaried class cannot escape taxes. Everyone else evades it, but the results are there for all to see. And even in other countries like Bangladesh where there is a comparably low tax to GDP ratio much more is spent by the govt on education Only 56% of primary school children in Pakistan go to school as compared to 92% in Bangladesh. And you cannot blame these problems on MQM. The rural landed elites have taken over power soon after Pakistan was created and army is the other power elite. If you travke in Pakistan outside of the 5 big cities you will see how the millions of rural poor live there. How would you compare their lives to the people of Karachi? In fact in Karachi rents are the cheapest of all the cities in Pakistan and there is CPLC and there was significant urban infrastructure development during the last MQM led Karachi city govt of Mustafa Kamal.
ysk
August 12, 2012 7:46 am
I agree with you. Sarkar Raj concept employeed by MQM is working fine. They were created by Zia to challenge PPP in Karachi. The world will remember Altaf as non-resident people leader?? He rules by fear.
Obaid
August 12, 2012 6:11 am
A very cautiously written piece, which is very unlike of NFP. Usually, he is very specific in capturing some details and goes on to elaborate it but when it comes to Karachi & MQM, he is always like this and blame his reaction on Punjabi burgeon. Anyway, I adore his every single piece, so the message for him is “ Chahath may kia dunia dari, ishq may kaisi majobri….”
Kashif
August 12, 2012 6:20 am
I condemn this biased comment of Mr. Qalandar. My respected friends is perhaps far away from realities. Let me update him about the reality of Extortion & Ethnic Cleansing in Karachi, that it is not MQM who is doing this all, rather it is MQM who is affected the most because of this all being done by out of Karachi criminal elements (Source Sindh Police Reports). Indeed we Karachiites are more informed about MQM then anyone else! I personally have experience & strongly believe if MQM was not there we would be history by the same out of Karachi criminal elements!
Shan Nasir
August 12, 2012 6:36 am
MQM is still an enigma to most Pakistanis.The way it has organized itself, is amazing.
najam
August 12, 2012 6:36 am
MQM still has lot of work to left to evolve itself as maintstream secular and democratic party. It has made some bold moves to in so far as transforming itself from Mohajir movement to Muttihada Movement. Now, the task at hand for MQM is to reunite Karachi into one city for all. If it fails to open itself to non-Urdu speaking people, MQM will never become a true democratic and secular or pragmatist party. To amend its ties with other ethnic groups in Karachi, MQM will need to accomodate ethnic parties that means making sure it can share power with them as well as cultivating and recruiting new blood from these ethnic groups based on its ideology. Question is what would make "others" join MQM? Is there a recipe or a plan MQM has to achieve this goal. As of right now, I dont see MQM having any plan to attract non-Urdu speaking people except for putting a good show. NFP can you advise MQM on what they should do to attract non-Urdu speaking people? I say this because I want to see secure and prosper Karachi.
Toti34
August 12, 2012 6:38 am
You can say what you want, but Altaf Bhei has some secular credentials. I liked it when he said that name of Islamic Republic should be changed to just Republic of Pakistan. There is no other country which calls itself by association with faith, except Muslim countries. If it is Islamic republic, does it not automatically mean minorities are not wanted? Another good remark he made was that in Pakistan everybody should be considered a Pakistani and no distinction be made between majority and minorities. As a Secularist I cannot but admire his views on these two issues. I am sure the party has weaknesses on other issues but it is important to listen to the good sides also.
Rohail
August 12, 2012 6:50 am
NFP is a master of word-play. But he is also highly informed and insightful. His sympathies for MQM and PPP are well known, but he never goes over-the-top in pinpointing their plus points. This is a poignant piece. Both MQM and PPP are advised to take suggestions from writers like NFP, instead of opportunists.
Rahil
August 12, 2012 8:41 am
MQM can only gain electorally if it seriously lets go its traditional politics of Violence and extortion....they can blame it on the state and other parties all they want...however, the reality remains that MQM has harmed Karachi more than any other political party....they have corrupted a whole generation of young adults in the city!!!
khanzada
August 12, 2012 8:43 am
NFP non-Mohajir people living in Karachi or Hyderabad know MQM really well. You have tried to show them as a good party but the people living in reality know the truth.
@MuzzammilSaleem
August 12, 2012 8:52 am
Every body Knows about this JP cospericy.....But No one want to accept it.... So there is not no need to explaine again and again & refering to reality...
EmMoosa
August 12, 2012 11:03 pm
There are two main parties in Karachi who represent the majority of population. One is MQM and the other is ANP. Education is the biggest difference between their leaderships. MQM has educated team to lead the masses but this quality is missing with ANP. They think by wearing red cap and inserting red rumaal in their pockets they are representing Khan Abdul Ghaffar khan and Wali Khan's ideologies. If they would be senseable Karachi's problems can be solved by sitting together and talk and not by threatening the other communities and playing with fire.
naz
August 12, 2012 11:03 pm
no. Toti I am not sure what's your name but if you are like millions of Pakistanis with an Arab name you should be willing to accept that that doesn't make you an Arab. there are countries like Saudi (which has full kalama on the flag but not written ISLAMIC on their offical name), Iraq which has Allah Akbar but then again not Islamic Republic of... then you have more strict Islamic countries and states which don't have Islam (or some other religion name) written anywhere near their name or on their flags but that doesn't make them less Islamic (or whatever faith they believe in) neither with the fact that they also do have minorities and minorities which are even more oppressed than our country. china is a great example. you are slightly (slightly) righter that people living collectively shouldn't be "branded" but then why you have arab names? to brand yourself as Muslim? isn't it? does it make you an Arab too? not. so in my opinion it doesn't automatically make you a muslim if your country has an Islamic republic of or something in front of it. there are other countries which put heavier than "branding" influence of Christianity with official religions and National Motto being so much influenced by GOD and Jesus Christ (unlike ours which is Unity Faith Discipline) where Muslims and Non Christian Non Muslims go and live merry without any objection. its just how it goes in the world "IDENTITY" is everything and having an Islamic branding doesn't make you an Islamist Militant Extremist Fundamentalist Wanna Be Suicide Bomber. and for those who are minority here need to Understand the fact just as millions of Muslims do in non-muslim countries who often even push forward them to fight with Muslims (muslim US soldiers fighting US wars? British muslim soldiers fighting wars in muslim countries... where even by default their faith tells that its haram to kill a muslim brother). Israel is also founded on Religious base and its Constitution also has strong influence of Judaism - why not criticize just another state based just like us - its branded in the whole world as Zionists and Jewish and they do some serious nasty things with their minorities and the neigbours. words don't matter in the end I believe actions does. great nations are also FLEXIBLE nations. lastly do you think by deleting the Islamic from the name would make any difference? any difference? has it in other countries even in US or Britain where people go out on the roads to shout their very own countries in favor of sharia law? or burn their own flags? p.s. I think you associate being secular with (nude bikini clad girls all over with scarfs not allowed like Turkey a few decades ago) I guess its not secularism but something based on Hatred and Judgement - great nations like perhaps US who you might think is a secular state does ban their women even to wear burqa if they want. so is it secular? or perhaps democratic you are confused about? p.p.s. by your analogy you should be blaming your parents of associating you with a "christian" or "muslim" or "hindu" name... go please please please fix it with some secular name... but then can you find even one name which isn't associated with religion? yes you can but I am sure that's not really that attractive for a smart intellectual.
sri1
August 12, 2012 11:39 pm
Hmmmm, your comment is half-valid with zero explanation.
Shabbir
August 12, 2012 11:59 pm
One of the Mqm supporter wrote outside the Jinnah'stomb Tu nay hamhain Bulawayo hum Teri term doray Tu yahan sooraha hay hamray quaid You called us to immigrate from India, we obliged Now we are being discriminated by Pakistanis Poor Sindhi
Asif Ansari
August 13, 2012 1:25 am
Article consisted on huge information about MQM. This is no doubt that this party belongs to middle-class and lower middle-class people. Its reaching areas are at Urban Sindh (especially Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpur-khas). By the point of conspiracy two operations had been done against this party but now it is real true that this party is play the mainstream of our local as well national politics. NFP, knows more than me that this party existed with literary class more than others political parties. So they well known about their norms, attitudes and others. If this party belongs mostly to Karachi so why others hate it. Others political parties do well in their belonging areas, Altaf Bhai is running the party to London, this is the quality of any individual. This party against the " Land-loards, Waderas, corrupted industrialists". Why? Its a big question. It is very true if MQM has not existed than middle class, lower middle class people does not reach in the National as well Provincial assemblies. MQM is a real fact, everybody try to include it in his/her mind.
G.Nabi
August 13, 2012 2:00 am
Only journalist like NFP can put Altaf Bhai on the pedestal. "---ism" is earned by a leader who is in the fore front of the struggle.Acting as a remote control, living in London , making gibberish speeches on telephone is cop out.He is and will remain a leader who has no universal message. His frequent political somesaults only endears him to his cronies.
ram
August 13, 2012 2:22 am
Ask Zulfiqar Mirza(i) or Shahi Syed(Shahi!)
Suhaib
August 13, 2012 4:37 am
Q: How Altaf Bhai representing Pakistan's best interests by living abroad?? Just thinking
azharali
August 13, 2012 4:58 am
"go and check out yourself if India has killed the Jagirdarana nizam or whatever. " Please check out the this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_reform A relevant excerpt is reproduced below: "India: Due to the taxation and regulation under the British Raj, at the time of independence, India inherited a semi-feudal agrarian system, with ownership of land concentrated in the hands of a few individual landlords (Zamindars, Zamindari System). Since independence, there has been voluntary and state initiated/mediated land reforms in several states. The most notable and successful example of land reforms are in the states of West Bengal and Kerala. After promising land reforms and elected to power in West Bengal in 1977, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) kept their word and initiated gradual land reforms, such as Operation Barga. The result was a more equitable distribution of land among the landless farmers, and enumeration of landless farmers. This has ensured an almost lifelong loyalty from the farmers and the communists were in power till 2011 assembly election."
ghaleezguftar
August 13, 2012 5:36 am
politics also ought to be ideological. and that should draw a line between shameless and acceptable opportunism!
farazbinahmad
August 13, 2012 5:48 am
Agreed.
farazbinahmad
August 13, 2012 5:58 am
Theek Baat.
Shaz
August 13, 2012 6:14 am
Are you sure it was Altaf Hussain and not Shatrughan Sinha........btw are trying to say that your friend was in the intelligence agencies?
azharali
August 13, 2012 7:07 am
Challenge PPP is Karachi? What representation PPP had in Karachi before creation of MQM? Instead, MQM got rid of pro Zia JI from Karachi. Very misinformed Mr. or Ms. YSK
umer
August 13, 2012 8:15 am
In the early days of Pakistani politics, the mohajir community vehemently opposed any move to decentralise the government. It thwarted all attempts at constitution making as it feared the rise of Bengalis to the corridors of power.Back then the forebears of MQM demanded a strong federation.During the decades of 60s and 70's, ethnic Punjabis overtook Mohajirs in every sphere of national life and the latter were quick to read the writing on the wall. The MQM was formed and its political agenda has since shifted from a strong to a loose federation with maximum local autonomy. What a transformation!!. To the credit of Mohajirs leadership, they are tirelessly working for the rights of their constituents unlike some other so-called nationalist parties.
Farooq
August 13, 2012 8:22 am
Urdu was the original Indo-European or "Aryan" language of the hordes (urds) who colonized the subcontinent tens of thousands of years ago, driven southwards by the advancing glaciers of the last Ice Age. Sanskrith was a deliberately obscurantist and hyperembellished language developed by pagan priests to maintain their priviledged status. Hindi, Hindustan, India did not exist until the ancient Urdu speakers discovered Darya-e-Seandhu, the great "sea-like" river, thousands of kilometers in length, and then tens of kilometers wide. The primitive aboriginal inhabitants of this land, Seandhustan, Sindhustan, Hindustan (much later Anglicized as Indostan, then India) were termed Seandhus, Sindhus, or Hindus. They and their indigenous languages, related to Australian aborigines and South African bushmen, from the time when India was part of the great southern continent of Gondwanaland, interacted with Urdu to give rise to Hindi, Pushto,Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi, Gujrati etc, with an admix of Mongolian/Chinese central Asian languages for Bengali, and Malay. Turkish and Farsi (the latter being the language of Iranian or Aryan peoples) are more directly derived from Urdu, not vice versa as most people think (probably as Urdu was the common language of the 700 year Mughal Empire, with both Turkish and Persian cultural affiliations). So, Pushto and Punjabi and Sindhi and Balochi developed as patois languages from Urdu interacting with local Dravidian languages with Farsi influence on Pushto and Punjabi, and Arabic and Coastal African influence on Sindhi and Balochi. They bear a similar relation to Urdu, Persian, and Arabic as Creole and other Caribbean languages spoken in Haiti and adjacent islands to English, French and Ebon or "Pidgin African English". Quaid-e-Azam, being a man of extraordinary foresight and vision selected Urdu or Urdish as it is now evolving, as a common uniting language for Pakistan, and as a counterweight to colonialist and neocolonial aspirations to "divide and rule". To use linguistics as divisive ethnicity is playing into their hands, equally as sectarian conflicts do. Acceptance of Urdu or Urdish as THE national language of Pakistan is an imperative for education as well as economic and political survival in the 21st century. Assalam Aleikum aur jeetay raho!
Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi
August 13, 2012 8:24 am
My apologies but if you believe THAT is what common Pakistani is and does, you actually have no idea about common Pakistani.
Jangloos
August 13, 2012 9:25 am
Well, MQM can become the party for the urban middle class in Punjab also, for the only thing thats bad about MQM is that Altaf Hussain is sitting in London, which seems quite ridiculous.
Kdspirited
August 13, 2012 2:35 pm
And you are quoting this piece of history from where?
Masood Hussatn
August 13, 2012 3:46 pm
Piece written by mr.Farooq about the urdu language is very interesting I will like to know the source of his commentary.
Feroze N.
August 13, 2012 4:06 pm
In given time, NFP will prove that Altaf Bhai , after Mao tse Tung is the greatest revolutionary of Asia .
Muhammad Ahmed
August 13, 2012 4:09 pm
NFP: Time to grow a pair and write honestly write about this menace. A party that emerged along the ethnic lines to ensure existence of a bureaucratic system which favored their types cannot really be called pragmatic. The existential crisis may be from perspective of lower or middle order within the party where as the upper section within party still believes in the superiority of mohajirs. I think NFP can provide a more detailed outlook of Altafisim using his more versatile satirical methods. Present article seemed like one that was passed out a by a really constipated patient after sitting for hours in can with really unsuccessful results.
syedjunaidali786
August 13, 2012 4:16 pm
When people doubt about the Altafism they have not seen this ism in its practical applied form. they have not seen the karkun being thrown out from the APC by Police alive in 1992 onward and only one condition offered to them for leaving, say altaf murdabad and get alive but those preferred to martyr did not say alftaf murdabad. Such brutalization executed by State Machinery failed only due to the Altafism, it showed that Altafism is not an ideology coined recently in MQM philosophy as a matter of compromise. Altafism has not get recent green light from its leadership recently but it has been documented recently to keep informed to new karkuns who are joining mqm as only option for the better future of them and their country Pakistan. MQM never run any battle against state ever, a few individuals have used state machinery and organization against a particular rising middle class representatives in Karachi which was suppose to spread like fragrance all over Pakistan. Untimely all those who remained highly active has accepted the fact that all evidences were fabricated in the factory of Asif Nawaz Janjua. MQM never remain as totalitarian of youth, its blood is youth but its brain is silver aged leadership. Ishtiaq Azhar was not a young man in Party etc.,
Kashif
August 13, 2012 9:25 pm
Dear you want to blame MQM for foreign policy made by PPP? or you want to blame MQM for the law & order a domain of Interior Ministry held by PPP, or you want to blame MQM for power crises due to mismanagement of PPP or you want to blame MQM for unrest in Punjab, Balochistan & KPK where MQM don't have any influence? Yeah if you can highlight any of irregularity in MQM led Municipal Govt. of Karachi then I would consider to think about it, but if you want to blame MQM without making any sense it will be only a wastage of time.
Kashif
August 13, 2012 9:29 pm
NHZ as far as such allegations are concerned I must say you shouldn't believe on propaganda of the past!
Kashif
August 13, 2012 9:50 pm
I believe it is not a matter of sympathies or having friendly relations. It simply is analyzing unbiased!
Kashif
August 13, 2012 9:51 pm
Do they have credibility?
umer
August 14, 2012 7:06 am
It is wrong to assume that mohajir political activity started with the birth of MQM in 1980s. In fact they were the dominant socio-economic and political force in the newly created Pakistan untill overtaken by the Punjabi juggernaut. The emergence of the MQM is in fact the mohajirs positioning themselves for life in the new Pakistan-- a Pakistan where they are no longer the sole arbiters of power
Aijaz Ali
August 14, 2012 8:46 am
Writer didn't mention gunny bags and drilling holes into human bodies.
Aziz uddin
August 14, 2012 11:00 pm
I once heard Altaf Bhai's speech on TV. I am still trying to figure out what was he trying to say. I am amazed that thousands turn out to listen to him. Probably they can decipher him better that I can.
Feroze Khan
August 15, 2012 9:56 am
"Altafism" ! - NFP are you working out of NINE ZERO ?
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