The Revolt

Spearhead Analysis – 07.03.2016

Mustafa-KamalTwo estranged and exiled but formerly important members of the MQM returned from Dubai and immediately held a press conference in a DHA house. In the press conference besides emotionally charged avowals of wanting to serve the country through a new grass roots people oriented party they also spilt the beans about the reality of the MQM as an organization. It was not so much of spilling beans but rather confirming all the beans spilt many times earlier through rumors, innuendos, confessions and speculation. After this landmark press conference the MQM image is seriously tarnished with accusations of running militant and criminal wings from abroad, collecting, accumulating and laundering funds, having links with India’s meddlesome intelligence organization RAW and its leader maintaining a lavish life style that has frequently led to drunken performances by him from his exile in London. An important point to note is that all the allegations were leveled at the leader in London and not at the MQM as a party or its members who come across as petrified minions forced to do what the leader desires.

There was some noteworthy preparation that preceded the return of the two newly minted leaders of a party announced but yet to make a debut. A TV anchor ran several programs blaming the Sind government for ruining Karachi as a city. The focus was on garbage pile ups and neglected parks and civic amenities—duties that a mayor’s organization should handle. Sure enough there was a follow up program on the sterling performance by a former mayor whose skills received international acclaim and who through his personal drive had transformed the Karachi city landscape. This former mayor is the one who chose exile and now a voluntary return with another party insider who, like him, was once important both at the MQM’s policy making and implementation levels.

Reactions to this development are still in the making but the knee jerk responses are worth considering. Predictably the MQM leadership in Karachi has dismissed the entire event as a stunt and denied all charges leveled against their leader. There has, however, been no spontaneous turnout to protest as is the MQM style and some hastily staged events have had spotty response. The government through the Interior Minister has sidelined the event as not worthy of any action because the allegations made were not backed up by any proof. The PTI has predictably asked for a judicial commission to investigate the allegations. The PPP has not shown any enthusiasm because one of its stalwarts was named by the duo holding the press conference. The ‘establishment’ is silent because as a policy it does not comment on political matters and goings on. The media has gone into its usual frenzy with comments, reports, debates, analyses and discussions that are likely to continue and will no doubt fan speculation.

So what should one conclude from all this?. Scenario 1 is that this is a staged intra MQM orchestrated affair to rid them of a leader who is now an albatross around the party’s neck. The finger pointing at this scenario is the singling out of the leader for all the blame and the aim of course is to make a comeback with a fresh leader and not necessarily from among the two now in the van guard. Scenario 2 is that the whole sequence of events has been orchestrated and managed by the ‘establishment’ or a ‘government-establishment’ combined effort or by the government on its own through its intelligence and political assets. The one discordant note in the press conference was the mention of a Presidential form of government in preference for the current Parliamentary system-something that the government is unlikely to favor. The third scenario is that this is a genuine pull of the conscience that has brought these two gentlemen in from the cold.

Neither the establishment nor the government, nor for that matter the political institution as a whole and not even public opinion are likely to have any concerns or reservations over what is being called the minus one formula. Secretly and privately the MQM may also wish this seeing the depths to which all the exposure has made them sink. No doubt the coming days will bring clarity but with more important things happening at the national level this is just a ripple that may or may not become a wave and no one cares either way.

(Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to a single individual).