On banning the MQM

Banning the party is not the answer. It will further enhance the perception of being persecuted and drive the hard core militants to violent reaction.

RAW sleeper cells will be activated. Criminal, terrorist and other ethnic groups will jump into the fray, taking advantage of this opportunity to pursue their ends through violent means.

Even now, given the current environment, there’s the very real danger of a major terrorist attack on a soft target in Karachi and not by the MQM but others to put the blame on this party

We can all surmise that the vast majority of people who support the MQM do it for their Thana Kutchery Naukari needs as do others elsewhere in Pakistan.

The MQM militant group is no different to the private militias of our politicians to keep their supporters in check. Except it is huge and big and powerful and forced an entire ethnic group into a kind of bondage,  in the country’s largest city.

Let’s also not forget the MQM of Punjab, the PMLN with it’s militant wing called the  Punjab Police.

There’s some discussion around the “political” and “militant” wings in the MQM being separated or fused together.

As in all fascist organizations the barrier between the public political face and it’s militant part begins to come together. People move from one part to the other especially as people get “promoted” up the party ranks and hierarchy. Usually  from militant group to the political. At lower levels still distinct. And as the organization acquires political strength, the groups fuse, at senior levels, as was the case of Sienn Fein in Northern Ireland, and MQM at home.

Farooq Sattar may never have killed anyone himself but, my guess is,  at a minimum, privy to all shenanigans of the MQM target killers and hit squads. In reality not much difference. All knew who did what.

Also, I believe, the current public stance distancing from Altaf Hussain, is a planned ruse, to save the party from being banned and losing its legal right to exist and also to stem the tide of rats jumping a sinking ship.

I think, the party has decided this public posture merely to stave of the threat of dissolution. Altaf Hussain and his politburo are still in silent play, till they tide over this tough period. Otherwise it’s curtains.

So a necessary public stance only for sheer survival. The actual ties have not been cut.

No different.

So rather than ban the MQM, efforts must focus on breaking ties with Altaf and the London gang. Additionally, prosecuting those found guilty of this connection for treason and sedition because of aiding and abetting people who have publicly called for the destruction of Pakistan.

Farooq Sattar’s latest press conference is a huge red herring.

Don’t believe him.
Don’t trust him.
For now.

How the MQM became so powerful!

To understand why a party like MQM was able to get support from the pre dominantly Urdu speaking segments in Karachi one has to understand factors which pushed them towards this.

Karachi was traditionally anti establishment. Supporting Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah against Ayub in the 60’s. In the 70’s and 80’s they supported the Jamat e Islami against PPP, because of the Sindhi dominance of PPP. They felt maginalized and threatened. Altaf and Co filled that leadership vacuum and garnered support with PPP being Sindhi supported and Pakhtuns under ANP.

They became very powerful and extremely influential and wealthy during General Musharraf’s time acquiring great influence and power at the Federal and Provincial levels, even exercising influence on key military postings in Karachi. Whatever GPM’s political compulsions this was one of his greatest blunders.

But back to the main argument.

A group coalsces around a leadership who is able to convince them that their rights, property, life and security will be better looked after by them. Then comes the factor of organisational ability. There association with JI provided the basis of the structure down to the Mohalla level, much like Marxist and Socialist cadres seen in Germany and Italy and the Communist countries. From there it was a short walk to acquiring a very strong fascist character using strong arm methods to organise and keep the rank and file in check WHILE AT THE SAME TIME ENSURING THAT PEOPLE’S DAY TO DAY ISSUES AND PROBLEMS WERE SOLVED.

It also gave rise to bhattha collection to raise funds to promote their agenda, enter mainstream politics, acquire positions of authority to do both things. Make more money and have the clout to provide support to its people. Thus becoming a full fledged fascist organization to keep the leadership in power and eliminate any threats to the leadership from within.

Hence the killing spree which started and continued for decades, eliminating people at all levels of the party cadres who posed a threat to the organization including those outside. The stranglehold was now complete.

We will help you if you’re with us. We will kill you if you’re not was the basic message.

The armed killing teams carried out the elimination while the sector leadership also provided help and support. Hitler’s brownshirts and Mussolini’s  black shirts are perfect examples. The leadership at all levels acquired immense power and wealth and perpetuated the system of both killing, physical violence and succor to keep themselves also entrenched.

A circle of total encirclement of the common MQM supporter was complete.

The average poor MQM voter or supporter was now resigned to their fate of supporting “The Quaid and the Party” or suffer huge consequences and even death.

The only way out of this stranglehold is for an alternate system of leadership or good governance by the Government to them and the physical elimination of the violent enforcers.

The recent Rangers operations put a dent into the latter. Mustafa Kamal’s PSP is another attempt at an alternate leadership.

However the government in Sindh has not and cannot deliver succor.

So people are still wary and cautious and scared to ditch the party, fearing PSM a passing fad, Rangers operations a temporary phenomena and a decision to stick with the known devil then the unknown.

Till the rank and file feel that the alternate is long term, and the physical threat to their lives no longer there will they dump the MQM.

This is my humble assessment of this party.

Altaf Hussain’s lunacy. Madness or a planned drama gone wrong?

What appears to be an act of lunacy by Altaf and his henchmen is not what it appears.

In my opinion, It’s a very well thought out strategy and plan to destablise a volatile phase.

If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d hazard that the PMLN dirty tricks brigade has something to do with this for several reasons.

I’d even venture that people like Rana Sanaullah, Pervez Rashid,  Saad Rafique etc, supported by the Zardari group of PPP with Rehman Malik Mastermind, may have something to with this. It’s an opinion and an analysis, I don’t have any facts.

Objectives could be to take pressure and focus off NS and Panama.

Dilute the impact of the Qasas and Ehtesaab movements.

Lure in Army to take drastic steps.  Become political martyrs. So many things swirling in my mind.

And finally our “friendly” neighbor fuelling opportunities to create “Occupied Kashmir” situations in Pakistan. Link this to their recent comments about Balochistan.

It certainly does not seem to be an an alcohol induced rant of a madman, in a fit of uncontrollable, lunatic rage.

There appears to be much more method behind this madness.

I think the mass unrest will not happen, because once the party leadership in Pakistan and rank and file realize that Altaf is history, support to him will dissipate.

 I think Altaf saw that coming and played his second last card of openly defying the State.

But he has his last card which is to openly declare war against Pakistan and set up a Jinnahpur Government in Exile. That will happen, sooner than later. I think.

But there is likelihood of an increased level of violence in Karachi,  fuelled by the MQM militant groups, along with the underworld and criminals and known and unknown armed militants and terrorists, who may also get into the act and use this for their own ends.

We could see more bomb blasts. Targeted assassinations. Kidnapping. Torture and killings. Etc.

IK and TUQ. Ehtesaab and Qissas.

IK and TUQ.  Ehtesaab and Qissas.

Yes. Our Media does raise the rhetoric with hyperbole. But the fact is, that we do have a very very serious problem of poor and ineffective governance, rampant corruption and zero accountability.

All this stemming from a flawed electoral system which is easily manipulated and hijacked by a small coterie of people to further their own extremely narrow self interests. This allows them to perpetuate their stranglehold over governance power structures,  all state institutions,  and thereby acquiring more influence, wealth and power.

So our starting point has to be electoral reform to enable relatively more honest and competent people to come into positions of governance policy making, power and influence.

And hereunder some thoughts on electoral and governance reforms.

1. Part elections on Proportional representation.
2. Part through direct elections with Majorality win and not first pas the post.
3. Empowered and autonomous local government with full administrative and financial powers and authority.
4. More administrative units/ provinces.
5. Presidential system with max two terms of 4 years each.
6. Cabinet appoontees can be  subject matter experts who are not necessarily elected legislators as done in the USA.
7. A 4 year  term for an elected government

The above of course requires major constitutional changes. And the big question is how?

Perhaps some “prodding” by institutions like the Sipreme Court backed by the stick of the Army in the background. Otherwise its the same old discrepit system of garbage in and garbage out.

No change can be expected or will happen under the existing electoral process and poor governance will continue.

The result.

Even more poverty and deprivation and further fissures in an already multifaceted, fractured society.

All one can say is that we are an amazingly resilient nation, having achieved what we have, DESPITE the terrible governance.

Anatol Leivin’s “Pakistan A Hard Country” describes us to the “T”. A must read, if not read so far.

Clearly IK’s planning is weak and implementation even weaker. He’s unable to define the plan, articulate his vision, and more importantly communicate the end goal and endgame, effectively.

While his focus on the problems of corruption, accountability and governance are correct. But his solutions are vague and hazy.

Also continuing on the path of removing the present government without a clear plan on major reform is counter productive. This becomes more complex as our current vested political interests cannot and will not push for such reforms. Reforms which sound their own death knell. Because every party, including his own, PTI, has people from these very groups who survive and thrive under the current environment.

So often one wonders, if this will continue, and will we go back to the old era where again the vast majority, myself included, abdicated ourselves from the existing electoral process losing hope in its ability to provide honest competent political leadership. And in disgust, giving these corrupt rulers, once again, a free pass.

Till of course eventually, the state institutions are so weakened, eventually leading to fascism and then total anarchy.

This as we know happens in all societies, where the rich become richer and the poor, poorer, deprived of all equitable opportunities of security of life and property, education, health care, employment and access to quick and fair justice.

Having said that and despite his many failings and poor judgement, IK, at least, holds out the semblance of some opportunity for some change.

He may not succeed. But at least he’s trying in his half cocked way and hence needs to be supported. This support is not about PTI and or TUQ, etc, but supporting a movement and an effort to change the system. There are dangers of course of military intervention but we must take that chance.

So given what we have today, our only options are either to support anything and everything, legitimate, to change the system or let the country go down its tragic slippery slope.

The tactics of Ehtesaab and Qissas movements are debatable. But, today,  they are the two more visible and meaningful symbols of protest.

Here’s something I wrote two years ago in a somewhat overly emotional manner, saying the same thing.

Why we must support Imran Khan and Dr. Tahir ul Qadri even if we don’t like them.