Upon returning home from self-imposed exile on Thursday, former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal launched a blistering attack on Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain and challenged the ‘iron grip’ of the MQM on the city by forming a new political party.
Kamal — who won wide support as mayor of Karachi from 2005 to 2010 for his efforts to ease traffic and improve public services — levelled blistering criticism at Altaf’s ‘strong-arm tactics’ and accused him of working for India’s premier spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Mustafa Kamal launches no-holds-barred tirade against MQM chief
In a nearly two-hour tirade, Kamal — once a blue-eyed boy of the MQM chief — accused the MQM supremo of accepting funds from RAW for the past two decades, directing party workers to go on killing sprees, politicking over corpses, destroying two generations of Mohajirs (Urdu-speaking people) and issuing threats under the influence of alcohol.
He also accused the MQM chief of murders of party workers, and of delivering speeches and making party policy while drunk. He claimed that Altaf personally ran the party’s militant wing.
The news conference, where Kamal and former MQM Rabita Committee member Anees Qaimkhani broke their silence since their departure from the country in 2013, was held at a rented house in Phase-V of the upscale Defence Housing Authority neighbourhood.
While almost every political party of the country has had some disagreement with the MQM at one point or another, this is probably the first time that an MQM leader has levelled grave allegations against the party. During the conference, Kamal and Qaimkhani chose to call the party founder ‘Altaf Hussain sahib’ instead of ‘bhai’ — the latter being a norm especially among party members.
Talking about investigations into MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq’s murder case, the former mayor said the Scotland Yard took back with them a truck laden with documents from Hussain’s house. Kamal said that during interrogations, MQM leaders Tariq Mir and Mohammad Anwar confessed to having connections with India and receiving funds from RAW, ‘filling tapes and papers with their confessions’.
He added that a meeting was then held in Dubai with the then interior minister Rehman Malik and the top hierarchy of the MQM in which they were briefed about the Scotland Yard’s investigations. “When the leaders confessed about their connections with RAW, why can’t Altaf Hussain sahib admit it to the party workers? Why do they keep on lying?”
Twitter explodes as #Kamalgate takes over Karachi
Rumours of Kamal’s return and forming a new party had been swirling for quite a few days. He left the country in August 2013 over reported differences with Altaf. He first went to Tanzania and then settled down in Dubai. Qaimkhani who left in October 2013 had been living in Dubai since then.
The former mayor said he had wanted to leave the MQM for a long time but he feared for his life. He said his conscience kept troubling him and so did the fear of God, until he finally decided to quit and leave all senatorial privileges behind. Visibly emotional, Kamal said the MQM chief did not care about any party worker. “We were once a patriotic community, but we have become RAW agents.” He claimed that money collected from Fitra and from selling animal hides was used for purchasing properties in the United Kingdom or for booze.
“A mad dog didn’t bite me .... to leave my home, my family, my country,” Kamal said breaking down in tears. He added that until 24 hours ago, he and Qaimkhani had been living a luxurious life, watching their children go to school, enjoying dinner at home — but they decided to return to Pakistan.
Addressing Hussain, the ex-mayor said: “What is your agenda? For whose rights are people dying? Since the party came into being, for what have people been sacrificing their lives?”
Referring to Saulat Mirza and Ajmal Pahari, he said they were not born killers or terrorists. He questioned that on whose orders Mirza killed Shahid Hamid, the then managing director of the Karachi Electric Supply Company (now K-Electric).
Altaf Hussain is the only solution to our problems: MQM
Kamal urged Altaf to apologise and ‘speak the truth about taking funds from RAW’, and demanded that the party chief return to the country and then continue his ‘struggle’.
He appealed to the Establishment not to consider the Urdu-speaking people as their enemies. He also denied that he was being backed by the establishment. “Had I been supported by the establishment, I would have arrived on an army truck. Instead, I came alone.”
Meanwhile, Qaimkhani, who is being named in the Baldia factory fire case, said he was ready to face any case or allegations levelled against him.
New political party
“Today we are launching a new political party,” a weeping Kamal told the news conference. “Children have been slain and generations have been destroyed by Altaf Hussain. This is my challenge [to him].”
Kamal and Qaimkhani laid the foundation of their new political party, revealing the national flag to be the party’s flag.
They said the hitherto unnamed party would focus purely on a devolved local government system, a presidential form of government, urban national policies, education and health, and new provinces.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2016.
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