KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Wednesday said Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad whose political career shares a long history with the party was no longer affiliated with MQM.
Speaking to a private television channel via telephone from London, the MQM chief directed party activists against expecting any cooperation from the governor, who he referred to as a "representative of the establishment". Hussain moreover said that the army holds conversations with Ibad whenever it suits them.
"[Ishratul Ibad] is not a representative of MQM," Hussain asserted, advising members of the media not to portray the governor as an MQM official.
Take a look: Profile: Dr Ishratul Ibad, the sole survivor
Hussain also seemed critical of what he called Ibad's indifference to the raids on MQM's Nine Zero headquarters and MQM offices. He said the governor neither took any notice nor condemned the operations and the raids against the party.
He further said that Ibad never paid heed to the extrajudicial killings of MQM members and what he called illegal operations against the party itself.
Hussain said the governor took no action when his sister's house was raided nor when it was claimed that the ammunition recovered during the Nine Zero raid was stolen from Nato containers.
He said Ibad was never a "governor of MQM", adding that he took the position of governor after renouncing his party membership.
Hussain said former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had named a number of political parties with militant wings but only MQM's headquarter was raided by the Rangers paramilitary force.
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He said his party has endured operations in the past when Ibad was not the governor and advised MQM activists to "remain united and seek refuge in their homes in case they are frightened".
Altaf Hussain, who has been residing in London for the past 23 years, said he was "willing to come to Karachi tomorrow" if the cases against him in London were dismissed.
Ishratul Ibad's political career
Dr Ibad began his political career as a worker of the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation (APMSO), MQM's students wing, when he was studying in Karachi’s Dow Medical College.
He contested the general election in 1990 on a provincial assembly constituency as a candidate of the MQM-backed Haq Parast group and became a minister in the Jam Sadiq Ali cabinet.
He went underground to avoid arrest after an army operation was launched against the MQM in June 1992 and surfaced a year later in London, where he obtained political asylum.
While he was very close to Altaf Hussain, he maintained a low profile in the MQM until 2002 when he became the acting convener of the MQM’s coordination committee after Hussain removed then convener Dr Imran Farooq from the post.
Ibad became Sindh’s youngest governor on Dec 27, 2002.