MQM merger

Published January 2, 2023

ONCE the dominant electoral machine in urban Sindh, thanks largely to a vicious militant wing, the MQM today is split into various factions and is no longer the vote-getter it once was.

While the Altaf Hussain-led ‘London’ faction was banished from politics by the powers that be after the MQM supremo made his infamous speech in 2016, triggering violence in Karachi, the other factions — MQM-P, Farooq Sattar, Haqiqi, the PSP — are largely non-entities in electoral politics.

However, it seems that the establishment is cobbling together these disparate elements to create a reunified Muttahida, though apparently minus Altaf Hussain. Leading this mission is Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori, a recent, lateral entrant in the MQM ranks, who has been busy trying to bring the factions back together.

Mr Tessori says that both Dr Sattar and the PSP have agreed to return to the mothership and work with the Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui-led MQM-P, while he met Mustafa Kamal and other PSP leaders in this regard recently. As there are few certainties in politics, we must wait and see if the merger materialises. A similar farcical attempt to merge the PSP and MQM-P in 2017, again reportedly at the behest of the gentlemen in Rawalpindi, imploded quite spectacularly a few hours after it was announced.

The fact is that without Mr Hussain’s iron grip, it is very difficult for the competing power interests within the MQM and its factions to unite under one leader.

More importantly, it is unfortunate that despite promises to do otherwise, attempts to engineer political alliances continue by the establishment. It must be asked what would be gained by artificially rehabilitating the MQM in urban Sindh? Instead of promoting these manufactured alliances, let the people of Karachi, Hyderabad and other urban centres choose their own leadership through the ballot box.

The MQM for decades oversaw a reign of terror in Karachi; do the powers that be wish to see a repeat of the bad old days? The people of urban Sindh deserve much better.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2023

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