A scorpion in Pakistani politics

Tariq A. Al-Maeena
There is a scorpion in Pakistani politics and a very cowardly one. He goes by the name of Altaf Hussain, the party chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party who has safely ensconced himself for many years in the relative safety of the UK while his followers toil and suffer amidst the unrest that he has helped foster in the province of Sindh.
He is an egomaniac who has been working for his own self, amassing wealth well beyond his earning potential and continuing to undermine government efforts to bring stability to Karachi and other areas dominated by the MQM. It is a tragedy that Karachi, which once was visited by the rich and famous the world over, has been reduced to a war zone, torn apart by the antagonistic fervor exerted by Altaf Hussain and his leadership.
While he lives in comfort in London, he exhorts his followers to create mayhem by violent means. Recently, upset that some media outlets in Pakistan were not giving him and his party the coverage he demanded, he called upon party members to attack their offices and reduce them to rubble. Workers of the MQM protested violently in Karachi after being issued directives by the party chief to attack the offices of Geo, ARY and Samaa last Monday. At least one person was tragically killed and several others injured as protesters clashed with police in Karachi’s downtown area on Monday evening.
Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) chairman Mustafa Kamal termed the attack a result of Altaf Hussain’s hate speech. According to the PSP chief, Altaf Hussain also uttered abuse against Pakistan’s existence, the army chief and DG Rangers in one of his hate speeches. “You will see the MQM chief apologizing soon and his followers telling you that he regrets his statements,” Kamal told reporters, adding that the MQM leader was most likely under the influence of alcohol when he went into his tirade against Pakistan. (In fact on Tuesday Aug. 23, Altaf did apologize and beg pardon for his remarks.)
Kamal, the former Karachi mayor, added: “Today’s incident proved what we have been saying all along. The MQM is working against humanity and future generations of the country.” He also implored MQM workers and other members of the Urdu-speaking community to “discontinue working for Altaf and foil his designs against the state”.
Calling the hunger strike organized by the MQM leadership a farce, he said that it did not include any prominent leaders of the party. “A drama was staged wherein a number of people, excluding prominent leaders, claimed to be on hunger strike.” The PSP chief once again repeated his assertion that “Altaf was working for India and taking funding from the country to collude and work against Pakistan.”
Following the attacks, the World Congress of Pakistanis (WCOP) based in London released a statement: “Altaf Hussain attacked Pakistan and British Pakistanis cannot tolerate it. British Pakistanis demand action against Altaf Hussain. He has destabilized Pakistan and action must be taken against him.”
A female member of the Sindh Assembly belonging to the MQM party announced her resignation following Altaf Hussain’s hateful speech that led to attacks on media offices in Karachi. In a statement released on Twitter, Irum Azeem Farooque the Assembly member said she was disturbed and embarrassed to watch the videos of MQM workers vandalizing ARY News offices and clashing with police. “Today I resign. Already did it two days ago but didn’t disclose because of the hunger strike. After watching the videos, I feel very embarrassed.” “I’m shocked and utterly disappointed. I condemn the attack on ARY offices. No one should take the law into their own hands,” she tweeted. Many Pakistanis who love their nation were shocked as well and share her disappointment.
The scorpion who lives in London and seems hell-bent on destroying the stability of Pakistan to suit his own macabre purposes must be stopped by any means. Pakistan must seek extradition procedures to bring him back to the country to stand for treason. MQM party members must stop believing that the rest of Pakistan is out to destroy them. This division has been created by scorpions such as Altaf Hussain to promote their own interests.
Can Pakistanis regardless of political affiliation unite once and for all and get rid of this poisonous menace in their midst?

— The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena