The chairman of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM-H), Afaq Ahmed, has been a free man for only three days but he already fears that he can be sent back to jail. As a result, he has come out swinging against the self-exiled leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, to try to prevent this.
“Altaf Hussain thought it was more important to keep [me] behind bars than it was to take care of his people, and Musharraf allied with the MQM for personal gain,” said Afaq at a press conference at his home in Landhi on Tuesday. “We had hoped for justice when a democratic government came to power but once again we saw the same self-serving political alliances.”
Afaq said that the same people who wanted to keep him in prison would also attempt to line up more fake cases against him, as he claimed they did while he was in jail. They want to prevent him from doing political work.
“Karachi will become like Vietnam or Rwanda if law and order and de-weaponisation is not implemented in the city,” he said. “When the state stops providing security, people take it into their own hands and it turns into the law of the jungle.”
While he said that peace and de-weaponisation was on his political agenda, he fell short of giving any concrete details of how he intended to achieve this.
The MQM-H chief stressed that the party’s basic ideology hasn’t changed and that it aims to represent and protect the Mohajir community’s interests. They don’t want a separate Mohajir province but did want “administrative units in urban Sindh to be revised”.
He mocked the MQM for what he said was using the ethnic card only when it suited it. “They first buried the word Mohajir but now they are playing politics by [riding on the word] Mohajir when it suits them,” he said referring to the feud between Zulfiqar Mirza and the MQM. The party had released a CD titled “The Genocide of Mohajirs” at the time.
Afaq said he intends to take his time and methodically rebuild the party. For starters, a visit to Mazar-e-Quaid is planned for December 23. But it seems as if Afaq has his work cut out. He will have to play catch-up in his own neighbourhood, for example, where MQM flags and Altaf Hussain graffiti adorn the walls nearly up to his doorstep. For whatever is worth, Afaq seems defiant. “I am not one to run from my problems or to run from this country when the going gets tough. I am ready to put my life on the line.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.