ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party, which holds key opposition positions in both houses of parliament, is not speaking with one voice on the future of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in parliamentary politics, especially after its chief Altaf Hussain’s stinging diatribe against the state of Pakistan and its institutions.
“In the current scenario, minus-one formula is the only option for the MQM,” Khursheed Shah, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, told journalists at his chamber on Wednesday. Apparently, the MQM broke off from its all-powerful London office on Tuesday when Dr Farooq Sattar told a news conference that “now the party will be operated from Pakistan.”
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However some political commentators call it a ruse to deflect the outrage triggered by Altaf’s vitriolic speech and subsequent attacks on media houses by his supporters. “The situation will become clear in a week or so, we should wait until then,” Shah told journalists.
The opposition leader said that apart from immense pressure from the security establishment, a crescendoing demand from politicians also contributed to Sattar’s decision to publicly disown the London office of his party. “The party [MQM] is registered in Sattar’s name; therefore, there should be no problem in him running the party from Pakistan.”
In the same breath, however, he warned that the London-based MQM leadership would not surrender all powers to Sattar and his colleagues in Karachi.
Referring to the MQM’s Rabita Committee in London, Shah claimed that Altaf was surrounded by people who were under the influence of the Indian lobby. Some workers of the party also support this lobby, he added. Shah brushed aside the claim that Altaf made anti-Pakistan statements in a fit of anger or under some mental pressure or illness. “India’s involvement in fuelling unrest in Pakistan cannot be ruled out if seen in the context of a recent statement of fugitive Baloch separatist Brahamdagh Bugti.”
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Shah said the interior ministry should have lodged a strong protest with the British government over the anti-Pakistan diatribe of Altaf, who is a British citizen. “The interior ministry should not go soft on this crucial issue,” he added.
When asked if he would support Altaf’s trial for treason, the opposition leader said Article 6 of the Constitution, which relates to high treason, has been abused umpteen times in Pakistan. A former military dictator, Gen (retd) Ziaul-Haq hanged prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had introduced Article 6. “The incumbent government had decided to try another military dictator, Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, for treason, but then let him slip out of the country.”
While Shah claimed minus-one formula was the only option available to the MQM, his senior party colleague took the opposite line. “In Pakistani politics, minus-one formula has never worked,” said Aitzaz Ahsan, the opposition leader in the Senate. “I don’t think Altaf could be removed so easily and so early,” he added. ”Politics political careers do not end overnight.”
Ahsan said the MQM chief had made a blunder by delivering the seditious speech, but it would be too early to claim that Sattar holding the party’s reins meant end of Altaf.
Courtesy : Express Tribune