KARACHI, Nov 7: A split appeared in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement when its London-based chief, Altaf Hussain, on Thursday “suspended” Dr Imran Farooq, convener of the coordination committee, took direct control of party affairs and announced elections of coordination and organizational committees after a month.
Addressing workers’ meeting at Khurshid Memorial Hall here, Mr Altaf gave two months to the coordination committee members to “either mend their ways or be prepared to be relegated”.
The courtyard of Khurshid Memorial Hall and alleys were jampacked with highly charged workers who came to listen to their leader from various parts of the province.
His public announcement came amid unconfirmed reports that Dr Imran Farooq has also decided to go public within the next 36 hours which could plunge the party in a spin of uncertainty like the one after the June 19, 1992 operation that led to the creation of Haqiqi group.
The situation has also left the MPAs and MNAs-elect of Muttahida in a lurch.
Although Altaf Hussain did not say specifically that the coordination and organizational committee had been dissolved, his statement of taking everything in his control, implied that the two organizations were no more functional.
Mr Altaf said he had declared Imran Farooq a hero but he allegedly failed to mend his ways despite repeated counselling. The Muttahida chief said he had sent six emissaries to Dr Imran for convincing him and they returned with indications that he was inclined to repent. But, later Dr Imran rang up one of the those six and misbehaved with him. Mr Altaf said he was not sure at whose behest Dr Imran had allegedly adopted such an attitude.
He announced that he had suspended Dr Imran Farooq as convener of the coordination committee and said he was prepared to face all the consequences. He said if Dr Imran publicly apologized before the workers, he would forgive him. He said the same course was open for the members of the coordination and organisational committees.
He declared that after Eid he would observe a week of internal “cleansing”, which hinted at purge on a large scale.
Mr Altaf made no reference to the ongoing scramble for power after Oct 10 elections and the outcome of the negotiations his party had held for lending support to major contenders to form government.
Now that he has declared to take things in his direct control, most probably he wants the parties to negotiate with him directly the conditions on which he may lend support to either of the contenders for the top slot.
The internal crisis of the MQM would also be a problem for the newly-installed government both at the centre and in Sindh as Mr Altaf also hinted to resist the so-called no-go areas. This was clear as he vowed to restore the movement’s original spirit by detaching it from intense politicking and directed party workers to be prepared to make supreme sacrifice to liberate the no-go areas after Eid.
He declared that if the establishment brought out forces in support of those who were controlling the no-go areas, the Muttahida also had “other options”.
He warned the establishment that if the ISI allegedly continued with its policies, it should be prepared to face the consequences. “If we are harmed, everything will be harmed. We are prepared for an all-out war with the establishment,” he said.
Mr Altaf declared that after Eid there would be “damadam must qalandar in Sindh,” which indicated bad days for the people of the province.
He regretted that over the years some opportunists had misused the MQM platform because those responsible for running the affairs showed slackness. He directed the cadre to do soul-searching before raising finger at others and said those who had indulged in collecting funds through coercive means had betrayed the spirit of the movement.
He gave the party cadre, including members of the coordination committee, organisational (tanzeemi) committee, sector and zonal in charges two months to reform and completely mould themselves according to the ideology of the party.
He declared that after Eid, elections of Rabita Committee members would be held and it would also include people who were loyal workers of the movement.
He also declared that except for unavoidable meetings the coordination committee and organisational committee members should not sit at Nine-Zero and instead spend their time at Khurshid Memorial Hall and sort out problems being faced by the party cadre and supporters.
This was seen as a mode of punishment when he said those who were not willing to “reform” themselves were free to “go, go, go.”
Mr Altaf said the situation had become unbearable for him and said if the coordination and organizational committee members were not ready to reform themselves, they were free to leave to their homes and join any other party.