KARACHI: MQM’s parliamentarian and senior leader Faisal Subzwari’s sudden departure from the political scene has stirred speculation whether the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) ‘golden boy’ has followed the footsteps of former leaders and left the party.
According to sources, Subzwari has gone abroad with his wife and children, most likely to the United States or Canada. He left Karachi towards the end of last month. Party leaders, requesting anonymity, while confirming that he is out of the country, insist that he has gone on vacation and will return within three weeks.
Sources within the party say otherwise, claiming it is unlikely that Subzwari will come back anytime soon. The departure of the former leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, and former minister of youth affairs, comes at a time when rumours afloat of a new MQM in the making, backed by former leaders, Mustafa Kamal, and Anis Qaimkhani.
A new MQM?
Party chief Altaf Hussain, in his recent address, said that conspiracies were afoot in Islamabad to form a new MQM. Lashing out at the party leaders, he had also said that Rabita Committee members had left the country when the party needed them most, and were enjoying their lives abroad.
A vocal critic and a poetry fan, Subzwari is said to have developed differences with the party in March earlier this year, when Altaf ordered him to resign from his seat from the assembly for not being present during an address.
Subzwari, who was one of the party’s most active leaders on Twitter, last tweeted on July 17. The last message was an Eid greeting, surprisingly coinciding with Mustafa Kamal’s last twitter message – also an Eid greeting.
Besides Subzwari, the party has also seen the absence of another vocal leader, Haider Abbas Rizvi. According to sources, Rizvi is maintaining a low profile to avoid being implicated by law enforcement agencies’ in cases of sectarian killings.
Not the first
This is not the first time that leaders seem to have distanced themselves from the MQM. In the last two years after the 2013 general elections, when the then Rabita Committee and Karachi Tanzeemi Committee were dissolved, several party leaders have left the party or have been sidelined.
In August 2013, former mayor and Senator Mustafa Kamal quietly left the country, moving first to Tanzania and then settling in Dubai, informing party leaders through emails that he had left because of his wives’ illness and personal problems.
Days later, a close aide of Kamal and another senior leader and former Rabita Committee’s deputy convener, Anis Qaimkhani followed Kamal’s footsteps to Dubai. According to news reports, he left the party and the country after Altaf criticised and rebuked him over Kamal’s departure.
Over the period of time, former minister of IT, Raza Haroon, also distanced himself from party politics and is said to be in the UK these days. Though he worked in the international secretariat and has not left the party, he has become inactive.
Waseem Aftab, who was an incharge of the Karachi Tanzeemi Committee and then became member of the Rabita Committee, also disappeared from party politics after the general elections.
Another KTC in charge, Hammad Siddiqui, fled to Dubai in May 2013, with the party terminating his membership. Siddiqui is wanted in cases of land grabbing, china cutting, and an attack on Sindhi activists.
For their part, an MQM official said that unnecessary hype was being created regarding his departure and denied that he had left the party. “Before leaving, Faisal had informed the party in accordance with our rules. He will be returning this month.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2015.