The Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) chief, Altaf Hussain, drew a scathing distinction between his party and its principal ally in the government, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), in a surprise telephonic address on Friday night.
It was not the first time that Hussain criticised PPP leaders as feudals while describing the MQM as a party for the poor. However, this time the denunciation came on the eve of President Asif Ali Zardari’s fifth, and historic, parliamentary address to the joint session of the National Assembly and Senate.
Hussain addressed the workers at the Bagh-e-Mustafa ground where preparations for the MQM’s 28th Yom-e-Tasees celebration were underway.
The remarks came after a free-for-all in the Sindh Assembly on Friday, between the MPAs of the coalition partners, triggered by the MQM protests over extortion and crime prevalence in Karachi.
“Listen jagirdars and waderas of the PPP, Sindh’s peasants are with the MQM,” exclaimed Hussain. “The days for the feudals, who disregard the ordinary people, are almost over. The party’s labour division will punish the feudals with hammers and the March 18 rally will be the last nail in their coffin.”
Despite the party chief’s vocal opposition of the PPP, the MQM MNAs and senators attended the joint session and even thumped the desks in support of the PPP-led government during Zardari’s speech. The assumption of the boycott, sprouted by the spat of the MQM leaders with the PPP on Friday, disappeared late in the night after Zardari’s telephone call to Hussain.
Hussain assured the party workers that MQM would win the elections with majority vote from Karachi to Kashmore. “The resonance of the public meeting will be heard all the way in Islamabad.”
For the first time since its formation 28 years ago, the MQM is celebrating its Yom-e-Tasees in Hyderabad. Almost 150,000 people are expected at the Bagh-e-Mustafa ground in Latifabad.
A flurry of activities to engage the people for the occasion started on March 14. It began with the photo exhibition of Hussain, followed by a cricket match and later, a kite flying activity. A festival, including musical performance, woodcarvings of places of national importance and food stalls, is being organised on the ground daily.
According to the Hyderabad SSP, Syed Asad Raza Shah, 2,000 policemen and 500 Rangers will be deployed within six kilometers of the ground.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2012.