Baseless Accusations
By Burhanuddin Hasan
Karachi, Pakistan

One feels frustrated when senior political leaders make wild and senseless accusations against another political party without providing any reasonable proof. Recently, an 'all-parties peace conference' was convened in Islamabad by the Jamaat-e-Islami for the sole purpose of demanding the government to stop patronizing the MQM and bring back Altaf Hussain to Pakistan through Interpol.
The Jamaat-e-Islami chief, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, told newsman that the conference expressed solidarity with the people of Karachi, who are suffering at the hands of "Muttahida terrorists and outlaws" since the 2002 general elections. The APC also passed a declaration which called for the dismissal of the Sindh government, to put an end to terrorism in educational institutions and 'no-go areas' in Karachi. Qazi Hussain Ahmed claimed that over 25,000 youth, ulema, students and political leaders, intellectuals, journalists and traders had been killed by the "Muttahida terrorists". He said that in the last four years, 654 people had fallen victim to their target killings. He also accused the MQM of earning billions in 'bhatta'.
How could the APC demand the federal government that it stop patronizing the MQM, when it is fully aware that MQM is a very valuable partner of the government, which would fall if the MQM withdrew its support? The same is the case in Sindh. Did the APC not know that MQM members of the national and Sindh assemblies have been duly elected by the people of Karachi and Sindh, defeating both Jamaat-e-Islami and PPP candidates? They are not sitting in the assemblies due to the government's "patronage".
Only undemocratic and frustrated leaders could make such senseless demands. In all fairness, the political leaders who have made these accusations should have also substantiated what they were alleging. Why didn't the APC demand the extradition of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as well? The MQM chief will be justified in demanding an apology from Qazi Hussain Ahmed and other participants of the APC, if they fail to produce documentary proof supporting their accusations.
The MQM was like a breath of fresh air when it emerged in the wadera/pir-ridden politics of Sindh as a symbol of working class political leadership. The mohajirs were a homeless lot that wanted to take part in the building of their new nation with a revolutionary zeal. They were mostly middle-class people who migrated from cities and small towns to play their role in the service of the new homeland for Muslims carved out of India by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. They were the most landless and property-less people when they crossed over to the province of Sindh, where the local people generously received them with open arms, like true 'ansars' and gave them a sense of security and a place to live.
The mohajirs had no vested interests. In fact they were the principal agents of change. They wanted Pakistan to emerge as a model state for other Muslim countries to follow. More than ninety percent of the mohajirs were committed to eliminating the wadera-pir combine to pull the nation out of its dark ages and build for it a democratic and progressive future. But the wily rulers who came from the fossilized feudal system kept them suppressed and divided.
The city of Karachi, the birthplace of Quaid-i-Azam and his designated capital for Pakistan, was the bastion of working class power of the mohajirs. It was built into a glittering metropolis with the blood and sweat of these people who considered it their home and a symbol of progress and prosperity. This did not suit the vested interests of the first military government which came into power in 1958 under General Ayub Khan. He ordered a new capital to be built at a site near Rawalpindi to be comfortably closer to the GHQ and his ancestral village of Rehana. The capital was subsequently shifted from Karachi to Islamabad in 1960. This was the first blow to the mohajir community, followed by Ayub Khan's victory in the rigged election in which he defeated Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah.
This was the beginning of the persecution of mohajirs by successive governments, which led to an awareness in Urdu-speaking people to organize themselves as a separate community in order to safeguard their legitimate right of equal treatment as citizens of Pakistan which was being systematically denied to them through the quota system and other discriminatory measures. They were being deprived of equal opportunities in the vital areas of professional education and jobs. They were all reasonably educated or they were artisans, craftsman and skilled or non-skilled workers. For them education and jobs were absolutely necessary for their livelihood; they had no land holdings and ancestral properties to depend upon. It, therefore, become essential for their survival that they should get organized as a separate entity to fight the wadera-led governments in Sindh.
Luckily for them a young dynamic leader, Altaf Hussain, emerged from Azizabad, a lower middle class locality of Karachi. He took the city by storm. Through his leadership and oratory he provided the mohajir community a strong political platform which he named the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (later changed to Muttahida Qaumi Movement). Gradually, the mohajirs became a potent political force demolishing icons of the PPP, the Muslim League and the religious parties that were well-entrenched in Karachi and parts of Sindh.
The governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif took their revenge on the MQM through widespread and indiscriminate persecution and murders of Mohajir youths in the so-called "cleanup" operations and military actions in Azizabad and Hyderabad.
Only the MQM, which is the party of professionals and working people, with no jagirs, no haris and no slaves can give the country a clean governance based on a fair justice system, honesty, integrity and austerity, which are the cornerstones of economic prosperity and the moral and ethical values on which Pakistan was founded. (The writer is a former director of PTV)


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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