KARACHI: As efforts are being made to bring leaders of different factions of the once-unified Muttahida Qaumi Movement on one platform, the MQM-Pakistan has declared its opposition to the move, saying “Mohajirs do not need any grand alliance”.

Washington-based former MQM convener Nadeem Nusrat, who is now heading the US-based Voice of Karachi (VOK) advocacy group, has been emphasising the need of a “grand Mohajir alliance” between all groups representing the Urdu-speaking community to fight what he called the conspiracy of Sindhudesh and “biased and racist PPP government”.

Rumours were doing the rounds that the VOK leadership as well as several ‘inactive’ MQM leaders living abroad had struck a deal with the powers that be and soon they would be allowed to return to Pakistan to engage in active politics since all of them had assured the establishment that they were in no way associated with the Altaf Hussain-led MQM.

The VOK claimed that it was in contact with several leaders scattered in different factions and they had welcomed and were ready to become part of the grand alliance initiative.

VOK spokesperson Shahid Farhad said Mr Nusrat was the last elected convener of the MQM before its split in 2016. “He commands a great deal of respect among a large section of those who once were part of the MQM. His message of unity among urban Sindh’s rights groups has received a very positive response.”

But the leadership of the MQM-P — the only faction that enjoys representation in parliament — is apparently unwilling to share a piece of the cake with their former colleagues if they are not interested in rejoining the party.

The party distanced itself from Mr Nusrat’s initiative at a workers’ convention held in Bahadurabad on Friday evening. MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui spoke not only about the reports of the Mohajir alliance but also on allegations recently levelled by Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal against him.

However, Dr Siddiqui and other leaders stopped short of taking any opponent’s name.

“The MQM-Pakistan and Mohajirs do not need any grand alliance. A grand alliance is present in front of us in the form of Mohajir workers. The grand alliance will be formed here and from the same place it will turn into a greater alliance,” said the MQM-P convener.

‘Our doors are open’

He made it clear that anyone who left the MQM-P had to return to the party fold first. “Our doors are open for those who heaped scorn due to any fear, misunderstanding or greed. The real power of MQM is its workers and no state and government can snatch this power.”

Responding to the PSP chief’s allegation that he went to India over 20 years ago where he destroyed his Pakistani passport and left for the US on an Indian passport, the MQM-P convener said that he was a federal minister at that time and was invited as a political leader in the same way as people of other walks of life were invited to India.

“I have fought the case of Pakistan in front of [Indian] media and the passport they said I burnt is still in my pocket,” he said, adding that the MQM-P could respond in the same tone in which the allegations were made but the party did not consider such people worthy of a reply.

However, senior leader Faisal Subzwari was more candid when he spoke on the occasion.

In a thinly veiled reference to the recent PSP public meeting at Bagh-i-Jinnah, he said an “artificial group” was using enormous resources and spending millions of rupees just to divide the vote bank of the MQM-P.

He said the same group was trying to provoke MQM-P workers in some areas of the metropolis but the party would not indulge in any sort of confrontation and instead use political forums to reply.

He said that MQM-P was the only party that approached superior judiciary against flawed census results of Karachi and pleading the case of urban Sindh.

Senior leader Amir Khan and other members of the coordination committee were present.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2020