MQM in the process of disintegration

No political party can match the ability of MQM leadership to create a political thriller out of ordinary situation. It has perfected the art to convert a routine matter into a serious crisis.  The ongoing political drama in Karachi started on the issue of senate tickets. Nobody really thought that this issue will produce such a blockbuster. It has all the ingredients of successful commercial political production. It has action, suspense, emotions and scenes like any other soap. It has all the twists and turns within the span of one week which will spread over a year in a successful soap on any popular entertainment channel.

It is a power struggle between different leaders to control the party. A power struggle is going on between the old guard of the party and the new clique emerging around Dr. Farooq Sattar. Farooq Sattar wants the powers enjoyed by Altaf Hussain as a party leader but other senior leaders of the party challenging his authority and wants to assert them. This internal struggle is not based on principals, real issues faced by the people in Karachi and ideology. This power struggle is centred on the personal egos and cult.

 Kamran Tissouri is the central figure in this controversy developed around the senate candidates. This controversy exposed the deep rifts and internal strife that already exist in MQM-P. The Rabita (Coordination) Committee has openly split into two factions. One led by Dr. Farooq Sattar and other one led by Amir Khan. Amir Khan Group has the majority of Rabita committee members but Farooq Sattar has the majority among the parliamentary party.

This power struggle and open conflict has put MQM-P in a difficult situation. It has put its future in jeopardy. There are serious questions regarding the future of MQM-P. The party is facing the possibility of disintegration. Both the PSP and Altaf loyalists called MQM-London are watching this development with great interest and curiosity. If the leadership of MQM-P failed to overcome their differences and to unite the party then it will strengthen the argument that it cannot survive without Altaf Hussain. It will raise the serious questions regarding the ability and capability of the leadership to run a party. There is lot at the stake at the moment.   MQM-London will be the major beneficiary of this situation.

 MQM-P cannot blame others for this crisis. These are self inflicting injuries. Establishment cannot be blamed for this mess. MQM-P failed to develop democratic structures to make open, transparent and democratic decisions. It is still running the old structures built under the leadership of Altaf Hussain. For decades, MQM was run with an iron hand and tight control by one man leadership. 

And after the infamous speech made by once undisputed leader of MQM, Altaf Hussain  on 22nd August 2016, the mainstream party leadership came together under Mr Sattar’s banner, while Altaf loyalists dismissed the new wing. Today, rival candidates are threatening Dr Sattar’s claims of leadership. MQM supporters are in shock and worried about the future of the party they supported so many years. They are wondering why their leaders are fighting with each other so fiercely in the open. MQM-P might emerge as the real loser in this whole situation. 

It can be argued that the system Mr Hussain nurtured — one-man rule — did not allow the creation of any genuine second-tier leadership; Altaf Bhai’s word was law and there was very little internal democracy. However, even if there is a patch-up within the MQM-P, it may only be temporary and more factionalism cannot be ruled out.

The splits in MQM created huge political vacuum in Karachi and other urban centres in Sindh. Different political forces are trying to fill this vacuum. Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), PPP, PTI and umbrella of religious parties called MMA wants to increase their political influence in urban Sindh.

 It is a completely new situation in urban Sindh after three decades of crushing domination of MQM. One agrees or disagrees with MQM’s strong arm politics but it ruled urban Sindh as a dominant political force. Its decline has developed interesting situation. Lot more could happen and more interesting developments can take place in run up to the general election. Let’s wait and see that how many surprises are in store for us before the general elections.

                      Analysis by Khalid Bhatti editor

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