KARACHI: Members of Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) Central Coordination Committee in London and Karachi held a joint press conference on Thursday evening, terming allegations leveled by Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani against Altaf Hussain as ‘an insult to the intelligence of those who vote for the party.’
“The return of Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani is part of a conspiracy but MQM stands by Altaf Hussain,” said party leader Farooq Sattar.
He said similar allegations were levelled against MQM during last year's NA-246 by-polls.
“But people voted in our favour which implies that the people of Karachi, regardless of their religion, sect and class, stand with Altaf Hussain and the MQM,” claimed Sattar.
He advised Kamal to support Wasim Akhter, the elected mayor, and help Akhter during his work with his experience if "he truly sympathises with the people of Karachi".
Speaking via telephone from London, Rabita Committee convener Nadeem Nusrat lashed out at the media for making “an issue out of a non-issue.”
“Media gave hours of air time to people with no mandate,” complained Nadeem Nusrat.
He said the party does not need to clarify itself because the “people's court has always issued its verdict in favour of MQM.”
“On one hand the MQM chief is not allowed to appear on media, but the same media airs baseless allegations against Altaf Hussain”, maintained Nusrat.
'Altaf, the only genuine leader'
“I will ask the establishment to stop this media blackout because no one else but only Altaf Hussain is the solution to these problems,” said Nusrat.
“Altaf Hussain is the only genuine leader in Pakistan, who is sincere to Pakistan's cause and its people.”
Nusrat said those who oppose Altaf Hussain are treated as heroes. “But people like me, who still stand with the MQM chief are termed criminals.”
“My message is clear, don't pay heed to any Tom, Dick or Harry. True leadership lies with Altaf Hussain,” said Nusrat.
Also Read: Intrigue surrounds Mustafa Kamal’s return
Politicians react to Kamal’s presser
Earlier today, MQM leader Barrister Saif said a press conference by two people does not affect MQM and its chief Altaf Hussain in any way, terming Mustafa Kamal's allegations as baseless.
"My party and I stand with Altaf Hussain. The allegations levelled by Kamal do not concern us and have little value," said Saif while talking to Geo News.
MQM lawmaker Syed Ali Raza Abidi also slammed his former colleagues – Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani – saying the presser reeked more of a "hurt ego" than any "substance".
Meanwhile, other politicians and analysts remained divided in their reaction to Kamal's revelations that hit out at MQM supremo Altaf Hussain for alleged "deception" and poor management of party affairs.
Former MQM MNA Nabil Gabol said that during his days in the party, he knew people belonging to the party used to visit India.
"Around 70 per cent people belonging to MQM's Rabita Committee have similar thoughts about Altaf Hussain," said Gabol.
Gabol accused former interior minister Rehman Malik of supporting a party 'funded by RAW'.
PPP Senator Saeed Ghani, answering a question about Rehman Malik's role in negotiations with MQM, said only the former interior minister can clarify his position on claims made by Kamal.
On accusations regarding Indian funding, Ghani maintained that similar claims have surfaced in the past too, referring to the 1992 operation against the party which he said was launched under the same pretext.
Rehman Malik, however, clarified that "the whole world knows about my good relations with Altaf Hussain and MQM."
"This allegation of writing MQM's press releases is humorous. I only used to give input during the meetings," said the PPP leader.
'Kamal's presser vindicated PTI's stance'
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) leader Ali Zaidi said Kamal’s press conference vindicated PTI’s stance on MQM, including the party's links to RAW.
“Mustafa Kamal’s passionate candour regarding MQM’s links to RAW and criminal activities is a true vindication of our stance on MQM, as we have been saying the same for the past few years in the media and other public forums. However, I wish that Kamal would have spoken earlier but better late than never,” said Zaidi.
Talking to Geo News, PTI's Imran Ismail claimed that "some friends in MQM" had told him Altaf Hussain was upset that PTI bagged over 30,000 votes in MQM strongholds in the May 2013 elections.
“Raza Haroon, Waseem Akhtar and others were at the forefront in that area. Then I met three MQM leaders at my home and they had the same sentiments Mustafa Kamal expressed today.”
Imran Ismail, who once contested by-elections against MQM in the party's stronghold NA-246, indicated that PTI may approach Kamal for inclusion in their party.
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tweeted Shakespeare's famous quote: "All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances."
The official account of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) tweeted that: "If Mustafa Kamal is saying PTI got more votes, he is validating that there was rigging and ECP involved."
Lawyer and activist Mohammad Jibran Nasir tweeted that "Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani cannot be absolved by a simple press conference. They were MQM members for years. Must be accountable in court."
Earlier, before Kamal's press conference had begun, PTI leader Faisal Vawda told DawnNews that every party comprises good and bad people.
He added that it will not be possible for the MQM to disassociate itself from Mustafa Kamal.
The PTI leader had earlier also said that Kamal's return will open a "Pandora's box."
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told DawnNews that in his view, Chaudhry Nisar could not have been behind the move as claimed by MQM leader Syed Ali Raza Abidi.
Rasheed said that people of Karachi will decide the fate of Kamal's party.