MQM rally

Published: February 20, 2012

The party’s numerical claims gained credibility after the BBC declared the rally to be the largest congregation of women ever organised in the world. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

Just when it looked like the rally season was finally over, the MQM held the biggest one of all — comprising only of women. It was as if the MQM was letting the up-and-coming parties like the PTI know just who is in charge of the country’s largest city and financial centre, Karachi. In a country where women are often marginalised and their political participation curtailed, this was a heartening display. The audience, from what one could see from the footage that was aired, was diverse: it had women who appeared to be from affluent backgrounds, to those from the middle classes, as well as from the minorities.

This isn’t the first time Altaf Hussain has tried to rouse the women of Karachi and make them a part of his political battle. In the 1990s, as the MQM tried to stave off the military and successive civilian governments, he had urged Karachi’s women to arm themselves and get training in using weapons. To its credit, the MQM has always taken a stand on extremism and has tried to include some female representation in its strength in parliament as well as in its party posts and cadres. In the past as well, the MQM chief has been one of the few leaders of major political parties who has taken the obscurantist and rightwing elements and groups present in the country, head on. He has spoken vocally against the rise of jihadi outfits and also the need to combat growing intolerance in society. However, there are some who think that the party’s view that Talibanisation has crept into Karachi, is a bit exaggerated because when it makes this assertions it seems to make no distinction between the ANP and the Taliban itself.

This particular rally, however, was welcome because unlike several other rallies that have been held in the country in recent weeks, this one was devoted exclusively to women and the MQM managed to bring them out to participate in the thousands. The issues that Mr Hussain discussed, notable among it that empowering women was key to Pakistan’s overall success and prosperity, are very relevant and it is about time that a mainstream political party leader said this in public. Furthermore, the MQM chief’s sentiments on Balochistan were apt as well, since he is saying what many in the country are now saying to the Centre: address the issue or risk losing the province completely.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2012.

Reader Comments (17)

  • wahab afridi
    Feb 21, 2012 - 4:31AM

    i have heard that MQM organisers ask all school teachers and principals to go to jalsa and there will be attendance as well in jalsa .. God knows but this is what one local principal said to one of relative .. its a good thing woman empowerment however, discrimination against pukhtoons is intolerable and we can see the deteriorated situation in Baluchistan.. if you have pakistan so will you do politics other wise dont forget the fate of bangladeshRecommend

  • Bilal
    Feb 21, 2012 - 8:45AM

    lets assume for a second that you are saying truth but the question is that how can you inject the passion in people, did you really see the passion of crowd? Even BBC and VOA reported about the zeal and cheerfulness of the crowd.

    It was good show by MQM. good work. keep it up!

    Recommend

  • Syed
    Feb 21, 2012 - 9:02AM

    Well well !! BBC must report this aswell, ‘All Female government staff was forced to attend this jalsa(I personally know several Anti-MQM antys who were forced to attend jalsa) .. otherwise they would have lost their jobs..even my maid (maasi), she lives in a juggii(mud house), along with her family was forcibly picked up my MQM workers..Recommend

  • Feb 21, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @Syed:
    Iftikhar Chaudhry should take suo moto of this matter as well.

    Recommend

  • Bilal
    Feb 21, 2012 - 11:20AM

    @Syed
    My family who lives in Defence (Karachi) also managed to attend the function, along with several other families of the town…it was a nice effort by mqm.

    Recommend

  • Palwashay
    Feb 21, 2012 - 3:27PM

    i have been to the PTI jalsa and honestly speaking the back side of the ground was almost empty, the crowd whosoever was there was all scattered, and if they claim there were 500,000 people then this one definitely had more than a million women. and i think BBC was obligated to report such an event, i have seldomly attended any jalsas but has never seen or heard anything like a all-female jalsa.

    Recommend

  • Mustafa
    Feb 22, 2012 - 3:19PM

    I watch the full coverage of this public meeting on TV. I think this is unique and very good women gathering and everyone was cheerfull. I agree with this news that this is largest women gathering in the political history of world. This rally has prove that MQM still has the mandate of the public and millions women has rejected all allegations lavelled against MQM. My family will vote for MQM.

    Recommend

  • Ajaz
    Feb 22, 2012 - 7:53PM

    We all should applaud this effort by MQM to bring women from all walks of life!!! Despite everyone’s view of positive or negative but as Pakistani I think MQM once again proved to be the best visionary force in Pakistan…

    Recommend

  • Risan
    Feb 22, 2012 - 9:56PM

    Bhaio, Behno,
    Please come to your senses. MQM/Altaf Hussain is a genuine party/leader and PTI/Imran Khan is a genuine party/leader. Try to see beyond your biases. Which is the only party successfully giving representation to lower and middle class at national level? MQM. Who is the only leader standing up against the jaageer daars of punjab and sindh inside punjab and sindh? Imran Khan.
    Let the two leaders come together. By Allah if these two come together, the vested interest will run from Pakistan like shaitan runs after hearing the adhan/azaan.
    Don’t go into petty differences. The establishment will try to distance the two groups as much as possible, its people’s job to see the trickery of the establishment and reject it.
    Risan

    Recommend

  • nasir
    Feb 23, 2012 - 6:46PM

    @risan
    i respect ur thought butttttttttttttttt
    its not a rental jalsa
    altaf not joining in his party any corrupt politician
    aur
    Action speak louder then words
    altaf bhi pehlay karte hain phir kehte hain
    jabke imran pehle kehta hai aur sirf kehta hai
    aur waise bhi aik mayaan main do talwaar nhi rehte

    Recommend

  • Syed Hasib
    Feb 23, 2012 - 7:00PM

    Salam,

    I would say eye opening factor from MQM, they have done a very good job.
    To empower women is very right thing.And after seeing this jalsa and millions of my sisters and mother, I will definitely vote for MQM.

    Thanks

    Recommend

  • Furqan Hanif
    Feb 23, 2012 - 7:04PM

    It was a mammoth rally. It can never be bigger than the the Women Jalsa held in Karachi. The discipline and enthusiasm was spectacular. I am sure no one has ever witness this huge huge gathering before. And hundreds of thousands of Women offering National Anthem , it was really an unforgettable experience.

    It has become habit of MQM to organize such successful events.

    Surely MQM can change the current rotten system with much better one in near future, we hope and believe so.

    Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 23, 2012 - 7:13PM

    @Syed:
    My Goodness Syed Bhai, I know my family and the hundreds who attended the Jalsa without any force. You must think twice before passing on such statements. In the end, you have right to say whatever you want to, and people proved it if they they were brought by force. Even If I assume you are right, for a crowd of million, atleast you require 25,000 useless people (let me not name like who) to market and force them to join the jalsa.

    I still beleive we cannot go further, unless the mentality you have is alive in our country. God bless you always.

    AliRecommend

  • Feb 23, 2012 - 7:34PM

    Would you call this spirit?
    When women are free.
    When they are independent in their decisions
    When HAWWA daughter’s foot off the foot will be considered

    I would name this spirit of Islam (real Islam)

    Altaf Hussain doing da 1st Step
    We became the 2n one

    Recommend

  • Askari
    Feb 23, 2012 - 11:06PM

    It was extraordinary effort by MQM. I appreciate this unique idea even in London I haven’t seen anything like this before.

    Recommend

  • Jugnoo
    Feb 24, 2012 - 4:50AM

    really impresive … excellent way of replying opponents … I’ve never such a large gathering of women across world, very organized and disciplined … well done MQM !!!!!!

    Recommend

  • sfa
    Feb 24, 2012 - 5:36AM

    @risan
    you wrote…

    “Who is the only leader standing up against the jaageer daars of punjab and sindh inside punjab and sindh? Imran Khan.”

    ABSOLUTELY WRONG….

    Imran Khan himself a a “jageer daar”. PTI is a group of “Jageer dars” and conventional politicians.

    Be honest…MQM is the only party in Pakistan who is not having any jaeer dar, sardar or wadera in it. She is the only party who is continuously speaking against corrupt jagir.daar

    Recommend

More in Editorial