KARACHI: Former mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal in a dramatic return to the city revealed for the first time his reasons behind his controversial exit from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and criticised the party’s chief Altaf Hussain for "deception" and what he called his poor running of one of Karachi’s strongest political parties.
In a speech that lasted nearly two hours, he also announced the formation of a new political party, which he said is yet to be named. He raised a Pakistani flag and said it is the official emblem of his newly launched organisation.
A summary of Kamal's presser
- Mustafa Kamal, Anees Qaimkhani announce new political party
- All senior MQM leaders aware party takes funds from RAW
- MQM chief Altaf Hussain addresses workers while intoxicated
- Altaf ruined two generations of Urdu-speaking youth
- Establishment, agencies are not backing me
- Altaf Hussain does not care about Mohajir community
"Today we are laying the foundation of an organisation, you may call it a party. We are just two individuals, myself and Anees Qaimkhani."
Midway during the speech, Kamal broke down into tears while addressing the press conference, as he went on to make major revelations about the internal workings of the party and what he called the cult of personality made around Altaf Hussain.
"Every time the MQM joined the government, its position deteriorated," Kamal stated.
"But Altaf sahab and the MQM instead of apologising, began verbally attacking PTI women activists at Teen Talwar,” he said, adding that despite poor governance, the MQM was able to bag two more seats between 2008 and 2013.
"I thought the PTI stealing almost a million votes from MQM's strongholds will make the party rethink its ways," added Kamal, shaking his head.
Referring to the MQM supremo as “Altaf sahib” as compared to his earlier reverential use of “Altaf Bhai", he said Hussain was often intoxicated while addressing workers, and that his state worsened over time.
'Altaf was intoxicated'
"Altaf gathered his workers and was intoxicated, when he addressed his supporters at 90 after the PTI achieved success during the 2013 elections," said Kamal.
Kamal said despite repeated requests, Altaf Hussain did not pay heed to the advice given by party leaders.
Kamal added that Altaf was intoxicated when addressing the entire Rabita Committee. He went on to state that people have sacrificed their lives and generations for Altaf Hussain, while "we [Rabita Committee members] used to take responsibility for all his mistakes and actions."
'We tried our best to save Altaf'
"We tried our best to keep Altaf Hussain from being exposed. Initially, he used to be out of his senses at night due to excessive drinking. But now he stays intoxicated for days and weeks," stated Kamal while shedding light on current state of party affairs.
"We staged a protest outside the Sindh election commission after elections just to cool down Altaf's temper."
Kamal went on to say, "He used words such as "thok dou" (kill them) for PTI workers and it became the Rabita Committee's job to explain and justify his statements in front of the entire world," said Kamal.
Referring to the many resignations presented by the MQM supremo, Kamal said even the media doesn't remember how many times Altaf Hussain has resigned as party chief.
"We sacrificed for Altaf, and did not distinguish between right and wrong, but Altaf does not care about his workers. Party workers' deaths are used by him for political point scoring only."
Referring to the loyalty of the party's supporters, Kamal said, "Ever since this party came into being, people have lost their lives for the party's cause, we fought the establishment and the entire world just to save Altaf Hussain."
Talking about the current state of affairs within MQM, Kamal stated, "Look at the raids, the arrests, and the ignorance of the people, we accept that sacrifices have to be made for a cause, but what are these sacrifices for? Tell me, and I will make them too."
He further stated that he tried to reverse the trend that was prevalent within the party for five years, but left when he grew frustrated with the lack of progress.
"When I was leaving the party I knew my life would be in danger," said Kamal, adding, "We knew we will be killed."
He went on to say, "I knew I could not live in Pakistan. I knew Altaf's Hussain's boys from the Indian and South African setup will be active."
Talking about frequent allegations of Altaf's links with the Indian intelligence agency (RAW), Kamal stated, "Everyone knows Altaf Hussain has links with RAW."
"After Imran Farooq was murdered in 2010, Scotland Yard found documents from his (Farooq's) house, and started summoning the MQM leadership (present in London) for interviews, including Altaf Hussain, who was grilled by British law enforcement for three consecutive days," elaborated Kamal.
"They asked them (Altaf, Anwar, Tariq Mir) if they had links to India's spy agency, which was refused initially, but the Scotland Yard produced documents after which the MQM leaders, including Altaf, confessed to getting support from RAW."
Kamal was addressing the press conference with Anees Qaimkhani.
The announcement corroborates speculations that there was a rift between Kamal and MQM supremo Altaf Hussain, a rumour that was earlier not confirmed by either the party or Kamal.
"MQM's top hierarchy was called to Dubai and the incumbent interior minister (Rehman Malik) was also present. The leadership was briefed about what the Scotland Yard had asked them and how they had responded."
"All senior MQM leaders are aware that MQM has been taking funds from India's RAW for 20 years," Kamal said while elaborating further on the alleged links between MQM's chief and RAW.
'Pushed against the wall'
Kamal, while explaining the mindset of the average MQM worker, said: "In the ensuing situation, party activists and workers on the street are of the opinion that the establishment and security agencies are targeting and attacking MQM and its workers."
"The workers are unaware of the true situation. Altaf should come clean and tell the workers why he has been receiving funds from India's spy agency."
"The purpose of our return is to make Altaf Hussain speak the truth," added an emotional Kamal.
"Children from respected families have turned into agents and criminals, working against the state of Pakistan."
He asked the media personnel present: "Was Saulat Mirza born a murderer?"
"Did Saulat have a personal rift with Shahid Hamid (KESC MD)?" he asked. "Who turned Saulat Mirza into a murderer?"
'Do not hate the Mohajir community'
"The entire Mohajir community, and Pakistan thinks we are RAW agents," said Kamal.
He went on to say that "no one is born a RAW-trained gunman," but is made into one.
"Thousands have made sacrifices to secure a dozen individuals including Altaf Hussain and his aides."
"Please do not hate the entire Urdu-speaking community due to actions of Altaf Hussain," appealed Kamal to the viewers.
He further added that the Mohajir community of Pakistan is full of patriots who would lay down there lives for Pakistan if need be.
"A Mohajir is not any less a patriot when compared to the other ethnicities of Pakistan."
Earlier today, former mayor of Mustafa Kamal returned to Karachi after a prolonged absence from the political scene, alongside close aide and former party co-worker Anees Qaimkhani.
Kamal had told DawnNews that the conference will address political matters.
The former mayor belonged to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) before he suddenly left the country in Aug 2013. The statement announcing his press conference had not made any mention of the MQM, with the press conference held at a private residence address in DHA Phase V as the venue.
After his departure, the MQM asked him to quit his senate seat.
The former Karachi nazim, who was elected to the upper house of parliament in 2011, was reportedly working for a construction company in Dubai, and remained in touch with some senior MQM leaders.
In an interview with Herald, a Jamaat-e-Islami leader had hinted at the reason behind Kamal's exit. “The moment Altaf Hussain feared that Mustafa Kamal will surpass him in popularity, he had him sidelined. That is not how political parties work.”
However, a statement issued by the MQM's Central Coordination (Rabita) Committee in Dec 2013 had said that Mr Kamal had gone abroad because of ‘personal and family problems’ and he had formally informed the party leadership before his departure.
The statement also described all news reports about Kamal having developed differences with the party as ‘baseless and fabricated’ and said that he had sent his resignation to the party leadership in the first week of November 2013 citing personal problems as the reason.
The MQM has maintained silence over Kamal's departure from the party. In an interview with Geo last year, MQM supremo Altaf Hussain remained diplomatic when asked about his ties with the former mayor.
Anees Qaimkhani's name had recently surfaced in a joint investigation team report into the Baldia factory fire case that claimed the lives of 259 workers and caused injuries to 50 labourers in Karachi in 2012.
MQM MNA Ali Raza Abidi on Twitter said Kamal's return was "the last and final card by Chaudhry Nisar", apparently hinting at a greater game behind the former mayor's return.
The party recently cried foul and alleged there is a conspiracy in place to malign the MQM after the Federal Investigation Agency registered a case against Altaf Hussain and other party leaders in the murder of former MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq.
MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, reacting to the development last year, questioned the ‘timing’ of the case, terming it "an attempt to malign the MQM".
A popular mayor
Kamal is often remembered for being a leader who took initiative during his time as mayor.
American magazine Foreign Policy, had counted Kamal as one of the best mayors in the world.
The magazine described the mayor of Karachi as an unlikely poster child for innovative urban planning.
It said the 36-year-old Mustafa Kamal governs a city thats more often in the news for religious violence than cosmopolitan ways. But the hard-charging Kamal is looking to change all that. Hes courting foreign investment, encouraging international ties, and boosting the citys tourism.
According to the US magazine, Kamal is not shy about his goals. He has said he wants to turn Karachi into the next Dubai. His Green Karachi project aims to plant thousands of trees in the city. Kamal is not letting anything stand in the way of his grand plans. He has threatened to arrest anyone who tries to cut down the new saplings, it added.
In a statement, the Nazim said that in the past there was no concept of ownership in Karachi. He said his administration carried out development works on a large scale, but added that lot of work still remains to be done.
Also read: Karachi`s nazim bids the city farewell
Mustafa Kamal was the last serving mayor of Karachi and after his departure the Commissionerate system was restored in Sindh province.