New province: Altaf Hussain kicks up a firestorm

Published: January 4, 2014
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MQM’s supporters listening to speech of Altaf Hussain in Hyderabad. PHOTO: NNI

MQM’s supporters listening to speech of Altaf Hussain in Hyderabad. PHOTO: NNI

HYDERABAD: 

In a spine-chilling warning to his political foes on Friday, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain raised the spectre of a separate province if the Pakistan Peoples Party failed to accept his party’s mandate.

“I want to tell the nationalist groups and PPP leaders that if they don’t accept the mandate of urban Sindhis then [they should] create a separate province for them,” Altaf said. He also warned the establishment that the MQM would struggle to carve out a separate country if it was opposed.

Addressing a public meeting on Friday to launch the party’s election campaign for the local government polls, he took up the cudgels on behalf of former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf while also demanding a share in Sindh’s power structure.

“I am still ready for dialogue. But after me I don’t know if there will be anyone left for dialogue or the urban people will just unleash violence to achieve their objectives,” he said.

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Altaf followed up his threats with a power-sharing offer. He told the PPP’s patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and chairman Asif Ali Zardari that his call for a separate province could be withdrawn, “if you sit on the table and make an agreement for 50-50% division of power [in the provincial and local government structures]”.

The MQM chief wrapped up his diatribe with a direct appeal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for intervention in Sindh. He complained that the establishment continued to ignore his people but ‘you can’t throw Sindh’s half population into the sea’.

“What do you want? Shall I raise the slogan for a separate state?” Altaf, however, hastily added that he was only describing the state of affairs rather than expressing his desire.

He asked PM Nawaz to intervene in the provincial government and to tell provincial Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah to stop divisive politics.

Championing Musharraf’s cause

He argued that ex-president Pervez Musharraf should not be put to trial alone but all the generals, judges, parliamentarians and politics who abetted his October 12, 1999, coup and the November 3, 2007, emergency should also be tried.

“Only a package deal can be accepted. General [Ashfaq Pervez] Kayani, former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges were also part and parcel of the dictatorship and martial law. Hang Zia, hang Musharraf, hang Altaf but also hang Kayani and Chaudhry.”

He also questioned constitutional law experts as to why the judiciary — which had validated Musharraf’s coup for three years till 2002 — is not being held reprehensible. He said Musharraf’s legal team including advocate Sharifuddin Pirzada and Mansoor Khan were getting death threats for their assistance in the case.

The MQM chief also strongly criticised the anchorpersons, accusing them of having crossed all limits. “People like you have divided Pakistani into two. Do you want still more pieces [of the country]?”

According to him, some anchorpersons have become multimillionaires and billionaires and some among them have their own mansions, palaces, farmhouses and cars, which, according to him, was not the case in the past even when celebrated journalists lived frugal lives.

Grieving over his 24-year- long exile in Britain, he expressed fears that he would meet the fate of dictator Ziaul Haq if he returned to the country.

He advised the establishment to redress the wrongs done to his supporters to prevent the seeds of separatism from germinating in the Urdu speaking community.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • Saleem
    Jan 4, 2014 - 2:38AM

    This man has done nothing for the country except polarizing issues. I expected all along that sooner or later he will pull this stunt. It is all about him!

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  • Noman
    Jan 4, 2014 - 2:40AM

    Mohajir card,.. same old tactic before LB elections.

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  • sabi
    Jan 4, 2014 - 2:51AM

    As far I understand his politics,he is making ground for new dictator by creating mayhem thus advance booking for power sharing.It doesn’t matter democracy remains or not better not.

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  • Ahmed - Karachi
    Jan 4, 2014 - 2:55AM

    No one has the right to talk about dividing Sindh. They rigged the elections in Karachi and Hyderabad and he talks about not stealing the peoples’ mandate. What a hypocrite.

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  • S
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:01AM

    British national who lives in london demands a new province in pakistan, makes sense, i think we pakistani nationals should now we should demand a new province in UK

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  • Faheem
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:02AM

    It is not unnatural or harmful to any country in the world to have more provinces or states.

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  • Jan 4, 2014 - 3:05AM

    atlast someone is talking about the urdu speaking pakistanis and their interests, better late than never, thank you Altaf Hussein!

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  • John the Baptist
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:12AM

    Much ado about nothing!Recommend

  • Skhan
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:50AM

    Its only Altaf Hussain who wish for a new country, not urdu speaking.!!!

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  • Zif
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:50AM

    A very crude and callous way of diverting the attention from what is brewing in UK against him. When you dabble into shaddy activities then have the courage to face the music also- but not by taking out your vent kicking someone else

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  • Fahad Farrukh Siddiqui
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:53AM

    It is time to divide Sindh…Urdu Speaking people want their own Province.

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  • Instantaneous
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:58AM

    Another gimmick to save his declining popularity amongst Karachiites.

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  • Ajaz Haque
    Jan 4, 2014 - 4:16AM

    Will the next treason trial be against Altaf Hussain? Pakistan Government should insist on his repatriation from UK and make him stand trial. It is high time to put this alleged criminal behind bars.

    Also, why is the UK Government allowing him to indulge in anti Pakistan activity from their soil?

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  • Pk
    Jan 4, 2014 - 4:24AM

    Why not? When you discrminate and don’t give them their due share even placing an unjust quota system this disagreement is bound to happen and with biased attitude towards Musharraf you are solidifying and making their votebank even more stronger. I find there is alot of discrmination with them in govt services esp. So their grievance is natural.

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  • niyaz gul
    Jan 4, 2014 - 5:46AM
  • Aysha M
    Jan 4, 2014 - 6:05AM

    @Saleem:
    Done nothing for the country and still enjoys confidence of millions, you have no idea what a blessing it is to have an altruistic leader, who is not keen to build a business empire for himself by plundering state coffers
    @Ahmed – Karachi:
    rigged elections for 3 long decades, and everybody just looked on, not a very useful argument
    @Zif:
    Nothing is brewing in the UK, No charges pressed not niminated in any case, he will be absolved much to the disappointment of people condemned to a life of perennial hatred and prejudice
    @Instantaneous:
    What declining popularity, By-elections on August 22nd, with Army, in and outside polling booths, MQM won all 4 seats

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  • Waseem
    Jan 4, 2014 - 6:46AM

    I think its a wonderful idea to divide our provinces. 2 provinces in Sind, 6 provinces in Baluchistan, 2 provinces in Punjab and 2 in KPK.

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  • Pappu
    Jan 4, 2014 - 6:47AM

    DDemand for a new state is totally in line with democracy. States in Pakistan are too big and unwieldy anyway.

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  • Nikki
    Jan 4, 2014 - 7:50AM

    No harm in separate province.Sindh is a big area and populaion has been increased over 60 years.Governance issues can only be solved if Sindh is divided in small provinces like UK.I even support more provinces in Punjab.
    Politicinas should think about their people not for the.Demand for separate province is not a crime.

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  • Ashraf
    Jan 4, 2014 - 8:07AM

    As despicable as it may sound, this seems to be the only logical solution.

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  • Zarb e Hanood
    Jan 4, 2014 - 8:32AM

    Government of India must give full diplomatic and moral support to Sindh to thwart this insidious plot no doubt hatched by elements in Punjab to partition Sindh and create a Urdu enclave.

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  • asad alvi
    Jan 4, 2014 - 9:06AM

    @niyaz gul on base of racism on base discrimination on base of humiliation on base of ethnicismRecommend

  • imran ali
    Jan 4, 2014 - 9:16AM

    unofficially already sindh is divided as urban/rural …Altaf demanded it to be recognized officially….urdu speaking has been marginalized ,laws are being passed by passing urban representatives,no representation of urdu speaking in LEA’s,administration,land grabbing,In last 5 yrs Karachi has been ruined,broken road overflowing gutter,rather it has been turned into garbage city,mandate of urban area not recognised….in 2nd big city Hyderabad,no public university,medical college,no engineering university…..urdu speaking has the right to demand a separate province.

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  • anybodyagree
    Jan 4, 2014 - 9:16AM

    more and more polarization by SOME, is
    No good for the common people…..!!!!

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  • Usman Aziz
    Jan 4, 2014 - 9:28AM

    What is wrong with a demand of new province? Pakistan need more provinces and it is in its favor…… though it should not be on any specific characteristics but for welfare of common man

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  • Muneer
    Jan 4, 2014 - 9:36AM

    There is lot of truth in his speech.Needs to be listened.

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  • Ex Pakistani
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:00AM

    @Ashraf:
    why so illogical? Nation state is a just for grabbing power. Throughout the history the success has only been when city states were on rise. If Singapore & Dubai can be successful so can Karachi if fleecing government from rural sindh with no interest in Karachi or Hyderabad are not ruling. Urban Sindh can never develop because it is ruled by Rural Sindh with no interest. Parting ways is the only logical solution and it should be done.

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  • Hira
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:03AM

    only MQM has potential turn Pakistan into developed country. …

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  • Kamil
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:11AM

    Corruption party sowed the seed of discrimination in 1973 when it divided sind on linguistic basis and patronized the genocide of Urdu speaking people in interior sind like larkana from where Urdu speaking people were forced to leave their properties and migrate to Karachi and Hyderabad. Ever since then this party has been playing on hatred against Urdu speaking people. It’s recent six years of rule is yet another example during which not a single development project has been completed in Karachi and Hyderabad while their funds have been looted by corruption party waderas

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  • yousafhaque
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:36AM

    Looking at the way the crowd sitting in Karachi is listening to the man sitting in England I feel that we still,after 65+ years of ‘independence’,Love to take orders coming from Raj,like obedient servants.All the years since late ’47 seem to have gone down the drain

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  • Zaka
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:46AM

    @zarb hudood
    This seems like the result of an Indian triller. We Pakistani Sindhis deplore the interference of anyone in our internal affairs, whether it be India or anyone else.

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  • manzar
    Jan 4, 2014 - 11:51AM

    Zindabad Altaf Bhai,

    This is the voice of Millions, dream of generations, these are the words which most of us were dying to listen from you, you have voiced for all those voice less mohajirs who sacrificed there future despite of having qualifications, talents and vision, this vision will become a movement very soon and every drop of blood will pave the way for better future of generations to come.

    jiay Mohajir

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  • John
    Jan 4, 2014 - 11:58AM

    New provinces are need of the hour but their creation on linguistic/ethnic basis is a big no.That should not be allowed at any cost.And those calling for it only want to divide this country further.This is the reason MQM failed every time they tried to find acceptance outside of Sind

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  • Ali S
    Jan 4, 2014 - 12:16PM

    I’m Urdu speaking and I think there’s nothing wrong with dividing Sindh for administrative reasons (in fact, it needs to be done, greater autonomy = greater representation of local Karachiites = better governance of Karachi), but the problem is this idiot keeps bringing up the issue of race/Mohajir/Urdu speakers every time he mentions it. Yes, I think the Urdu speakers of Sindh deserve better representation (something MQM is failing at currently), but this isn’t 1988 or 1992 anymore – you can’t get your demands by confrontation every time, there has to be a smarter way.

    MQM is at the end of its rope – the London police is closing in on them, the provincial administration is closing in on them, Nawaz Sharif wants nothing to do with them, their popularity among Karachiites took a hit as a result of the rigging fiasco. This – especially his reference to a new country for Mohajirs – sounds like either a desperate last-ditch measure or he’s purposely throwing MQM under the bus because he doesn’t want them to go on without him.

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  • salim
    Jan 4, 2014 - 12:50PM

    @Aysha M:
    Also the highly discriminatory ‘Quota System’ MUST GO.

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  • faisal
    Jan 4, 2014 - 12:55PM

    as far as peoples concerned so citizens of urban area are under estimate since 3 decades.in every department of sindh urban citizens are deprived from their rights. like eastern pakistan. it is peoples thinking not my.

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  • Jafri
    Jan 4, 2014 - 2:17PM

    Funny how you can have a divided quota for government jobs in the Sindh province but cannot divide the province into two.If PPP lose Karachi and the urban Sindh areas I believe the people of interior Sindh will be worse off than Balochistan..

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  • Avatar
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:44PM

    What about the saraiki province?Recommend

  • mrs ahmed
    Jan 4, 2014 - 3:56PM

    @Ex Pakistani:
    thats the truth , city state is the key to success for any mega city , karachi inhabited by nearly 20 million people , is under control of vaderas of interior sindh , also people must realise , ALTAAF hUSSAIN DEMANDED EQUAL RIGHTS , that is 50 50 qouta for urban and rural population .It is a shame that no other province has urban and rural qouta , lahore and and remote southern punjab village is not given any urban or rural qouta , nor it is there in KPK or Baluchistan .Is is verry clear that this qouta is against urdu speaking mohajirs living in urban areas of sindh.
    All administration from top to lower level clerks are from interior sindh in karachi .
    All true karachiites are those across ethnic lines who have no other domicile and permanent home address except karachi .This Altaaf bashing is favourite pass time for all prejudiced minds who cannot think on the lines justice and merit.Other people on the record have said much more against Pakistan , but yes media ignores. Altaaf Hussain just pointed out that if this injustice continues , it would be reason of struggle and when always these kind of struggle culminates in formation of new politically independent territories.
    Look into history you would find what he said

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  • Muhajir
    Jan 4, 2014 - 5:42PM

    They say we are not Son of soil. Punjabis, sindhis, pathans and baluchis will never accept the Muhajirs. Our parents make the biggest mistake by making Pakistan. We must correct this mistake. We should prepare for the hard times. Make ourself ready.They hate is. Altaf made biggest mistake with this muthaida. Our elders took this country from british and 300 million hindus. These Backward punjabis, pathans and sindhis Cannot stop us. The time has come.

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  • Hari Om
    Jan 4, 2014 - 6:58PM

    @ Zarb e Hanood : “Government of India must give full diplomatic and moral support to Sindh to thwart this insidious plot no doubt hatched by elements in Punjab to partition Sindh and create a Urdu enclave.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    On the contrary, Government of India must give full diplomatic and moral support to Mohajirs notwithstanding that this is as you put it an “insidious plot no doubt hatched by elements in Punjab to partition Sindh”. Here you may please note that Mohajirs draw their roots directly from areas that are within present day India, namely Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and thus have first call on India’s diplomatic and moral support.

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  • Ex PTI
    Jan 4, 2014 - 8:26PM

    i am an Urdu speaking muhajir and supported PTI ,but PTI stabbed us .

    We demand a province of our own .

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  • Assad
    Jan 4, 2014 - 10:34PM

    And what exactly is wrong with having more provinces to represent the ethnicities that make up Pakistan?

    Aren’t the 4 provinces based on ethnicities? If anyone thinks that is a bad idea then how about doing away with Punjab, Sind, KP and Balochistan and making Pakistan revert back to Yahya Khan’s one unit?

    What is wrong with breaking larger provinces down into smaller provinces for better governance and a greater stake in the affairs of the province by its own people? Its certainly clear that Karachi is being hostage to politics being run from rural Sind. What do they care for the people of Karachi?

    The reaction to AH’s statements is standard, thoughtless bashing. Devolve power to the masses by creating more provinces. Let ethnicities celebrate their differences and acknowledge them. This will make for a more plural and understanding Pakistan. The urge to suppress ethnicities in Pakistan has done nothing but harm. As long as the MQM and AH stay within the confines of the Federation of Pakistan, which he is clearly saying, then there is nothing sacrilegious being suggested here.Recommend

  • Hammad
    Jan 5, 2014 - 12:54AM

    OTI is the most pure party,

    even though it has officially rigged election in haripur, still it is a stainless party

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  • Raj
    Jan 5, 2014 - 7:47AM

    I am sure I am misunderstanding the motives and or the politics of Pakistan. Wat is the harm of creating a new province if it is for cultural and linguistic reasons. India created new states to address the language issues and it is working reasonably well.

    As long as this demand is not for separation , bu instead just another state, I see no harm to the unity of Pakistan. Am I missing some thing.

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  • Atta
    Jan 5, 2014 - 8:05AM

    Great idea Waseen. I would like to have my own province [email protected]:

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