MQM 'breaks off' from Altaf

Published: August 23, 2016
Farooq Sattar along with other MQM leaders addresses a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday. PHOTO: INP

Farooq Sattar along with other MQM leaders addresses a press conference in Karachi on Tuesday. PHOTO: INP

KARACHI: As Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain’s anti-Pakistan speech triggered countrywide uproar and widespread condemnation, his senior aides ‘completely disowned’ his remarks and disavowed the London-based decision-making body of the party.

“What was said against the state, the slogans chanted [against Pakistan] were never a part of MQM’s policy from day one,” Dr Farooq Sattar told a news conference at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) where he was not allowed to speak by the Rangers a day earlier. He was flanked by other senior party colleagues, including Nasreen Jalil, Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Amir Liaquat Hussain.

MQM lawmaker Irum Farooque quits party

Sattar accused Altaf of repeatedly embarrassing the party. “We have decided to address his mental tension, or illness, or whatever condition he is suffering from,” he said.

“The MQM cannot afford to suffer this damage time and time again,” he said, explaining what he claimed was a party decision to take control away from Altaf. “It is MQM Pakistan, so it should be operated from Pakistan,” he added. “This message is for there (London) and it is for here.”

Altaf apologised for his Monday’s vitriolic address given under ‘immense mental stress’, but Sattar said his party could not afford this to happen again. “Such things will never happen in future,” he held out an assurance in an attempt to soothe frayed tempers.

Pakistani expatriates protest in front of UK PM’s residence 10 Downing Street against Altaf Hussain’s remarks against Pakistan. PHOTO COURTESY: SORAYA AZIZ/TWITTER

Unlike the past when Altaf made similar remarks only to regret them later, Sattar said this time the public was questioning the party’s policy.

On Monday, after Altaf’s provocative address, scores of MQM activists ransacked ARY TV station before clashing with police, leaving at least one person dead and over half a dozen injured. Whatever happened yesterday should not have happened, we condemn it,” he said.

Altaf Hussain incited MQM members to attack media offices: Mustafa Kamal

The rioting drew widespread condemnations and prompted a crackdown on the party’s offices by the Rangers. “What we gained politically from our six-day hunger-strike was lost by one mistake – a mistake that brought the party and its workers nothing but ridicule.”

Sattar, along with Khawaja Izhar, was detained by the Rangers Monday evening outside the KPC only to be released Tuesday afternoon. Sattar admitted Monday’s statements of Altaf had landed the party in serious trouble.

He emphasised that ‘sanity must prevail’ and that there was a need for ‘damage control’. He added that they have decided that all party decisions would be made by leaders in Pakistan.

Sattar also sought to dispel the impression that his statement had been orchestrated. “The things we were going to say yesterday, we are saying today. They are the same,” Sattar said while referring to his brief detention by the Rangers outside the KPC.

“Inevitably, the idea that this all [news conference] is being done on someone’s dictation will probably emerge because we spent eight hours in the custody of the Rangers friends,” he added.

Sattar went on to denounce violence stating that it was never their party policy and reiterated the MQM’s unflinching loyalty to Pakistan. “Whoever doubts my patriotism, I have a right to doubt his [patriotism].”


Though it may be too early to judge reaction of MQM’s rank and file to Sattar’s news conference, some party leaders backed him.

They included Izhar, Karachi’s deputy mayor candidate Arshad Vohra, MPA Muhammad Hussain, and Dr Amir Liaquat who were present at the news conference. Others who extended their early endorsement included two elected MQM representatives from Hyderabad.

‘’I sent him [Sattar] a message after watching the press conference that I am 100 per cent satisfied with your stance,’’ MNA Syed Waseem Hussain told The Express Tribune. “All Pakistanis should accept this stance. We are all Pakistanis first. Politics comes later.”

Altaf Hussain apologises to army chief after anti-Pakistan speech

MPA Dilawar Qureshi also backed Sattar. However, he clarified that his view should not be considered as MQM Hyderabad chapter’s official stance.

Later, London-based MQM leader Wasay Jalil clarified during a television interview that the party’s all-powerful Rabita Committee was still in charge and making party decisions.

Dr Amir Liaquat quits MQM

After the news conference, Dr Amir Liaquat Hussain, who is also a popular TV host, announced that he was quitting the MQM and politics for good. Speaking on a private television channel, he explained that he was fed up with politics. He denied that he had been pressured into making the decision.

He joins the likes of MQM Rabita Committee member Ghazi Salahuddin and MPAs Irum Azeem and Khalid Bin Wilayat who quit the party on Monday.

Corps Commander visits DG Rangers

Corps Commander Karachi Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar on Tuesday visited the Rangers headquarters where he was briefed about the ongoing crackdown against the MQM.

“Strict action should be taken against elements involved in inciting violence and ransacking,” Lt Gen Mukhtar directed DG Rangers Maj Gen Bilal Akbar. He reiterated that the Karachi operation would continue till the last criminal is eliminated.

Nine Zero sealed after MQM workers attack media house

The Corps Commander also held separate meetings with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah where the governor and the CM backed the action against those disturbing peace of the city.

DG Rangers visits Nine Zero

Maj Gen Akbar visited the MQM headquarters, Nine Zero, in the Azizabad area of Karachi to review the situation.  The party’s offices there had been sealed by the paramilitary force following a four-hour-long search operation early Tuesday morning.

The Rangers said they had recovered anti-state literature in printed and digital formats in addition to five sub-machine guns and two pistols.

Separately, the Rangers continued its crackdown against the party in different parts of the city. Large contingents of paramilitary troops entered the party’s temporary offices at Ghanchi Hall in PIB Colony where MQM’s nominated candidates were preparing for today’s (Wednesday) mayoral elections.

Sattar and Amir Khan were also present at the camp and briefed the troops.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2016.


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Reader Comments (18)

  • Saeed Masood
    Aug 23, 2016 - 3:42PM

    Farooq Sattar it will be decided now that you and MQM are patriot Pakistanis or Indian agents, The time has come to decide between Pakistan and India, denounce Altaf Hussain and take the leadership of MQM in your own hands and get rid of London Indian agents…Recommend

  • salman
    Aug 23, 2016 - 4:04PM

    Looks like major break down in MQM ranks is to happen.Recommend

  • Amer
    Aug 23, 2016 - 4:08PM

    Pakistani govt should demand that the UK give Altaf back. Recommend

  • bash gul
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:10PM

    Old wine in new bottle.Recommend

  • salman
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:10PM

    Minus 1 formula is getting official now.Recommend

  • Ali
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:12PM

    20 Years played Muhajir political card and Muhajir still living in the same conditions. MQM used words of Hate and today they are burning in their own deeds.

    More than 20 Years Muhajir ( Now become Pakistani for God Sake) supported MQM . If they have supported Pakistan for Just one day of their life , Pakistan and their life was going to be much better economically and socially. Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:19PM

    Their disassociation with Altaf means little in reality because majority of the MQM voters are basically voters of Altaf Hussain not their Rabita Committee.
    So yes most of the MQMers vote for Altaf Hussain despite knowing the truth about him.Recommend

  • Karachite
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:40PM

    But he was still reluctant in openly stating that it IS Altaf Hussains fault as he has been delivering hate speech not once, but all these years in the past as well. MQM should be demolished and not allowed to continue. Even Farooq Sattar said that yes, we will take advice from all over the world but decide in Pakistan – which pretty much means that Altaf Hussain will be at the back-end and his puppets would be doing what they always do. Recommend

  • Sunil rao
    Aug 23, 2016 - 6:44PM

    Was discussing Altaf Hussain’s speech with my wife, to which she replied.”Jinke ghar sheeshe ke hote hai, ve doosro par patther nahi pheka karte.”

    Time to take care of our own people first, friends.Recommend

  • Amir
    Aug 23, 2016 - 6:55PM

    shows how the Pakistan MQM leadership is still scared of Altaf bhai, and confirms who will still call the shot. This was just a face saving tactic used. If FS had guts, as he is the owner of mQM, he would have kicked out Altaf. But just shrugged off his triage to mental stress. It is not mental stress, but booze stress and power hunger militant mindset

    Farooq Sattar sahib if you want to prove your sincerity, please hand over the people who attacked the news channel…turn in your weapons, your domesticated target killers. Start cleansing the party with militants and people who have lied to people of KarachiRecommend

  • Shahid
    Aug 23, 2016 - 8:50PM

    Rise of true independent Mqm leadership. End of Altaf Hussain’s reign of terror. Farooq sat tar should clearly dissociate and disown Altaf hussain. Best thing for Mqm and followers.Recommend

  • Quresh
    Aug 23, 2016 - 9:13PM

    Doctor is plying game. Recommend

  • Raisani
    Aug 23, 2016 - 10:42PM

    MQM should be banned and all these puppets should be behind the bars. Stop this eyewash press conferences. Recommend

  • Parvez
    Aug 23, 2016 - 11:23PM

    News is changing so fast that this is hours old ……… and there have been developments and counter developments……suggest you have a real time update like during cricket matches.Recommend

  • Bol
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:35AM

    MQM should stop playing with the emotions of people. Enough is enough.Recommend

  • Such Bolta Hoon
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:52AM

    Where is Ayesha M; what’s her stance now Recommend

  • Salman
    Aug 24, 2016 - 4:42AM

    A party which considered to be invincible year ago. Today Local police mobile is deployed in front of Nine Zero. Shukriya Raheel SharifRecommend

  • NKAli
    Aug 24, 2016 - 11:23AM

    Altaf Hussain will not leave his association with the party so soon. Although, a sincere effort may have been tried but there are too many suspicions that come to mind.
    Being an ex-convener and Quaid for more than 25-years and suddenly letting go is not easy. The U.K., Indian and Altaf nexus will continue their mischievous activities and members of the party will suffer for their zealotry. Salams Recommend

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