Zardari-Altaf nexus, Khushbakht lunch for Musharraf a big poser

June 20,2015

Perspective

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KARACHI: Two successive developments, though not entirely in consonance with each other, raise a number of questions about the MQM policies in Sindh and rest of the country.
Though slightly belated, a comment on the lunch hosted in the Karachi Club by MQM Senator Khushbakht Shujaat for former president and army chief General (r) Pervez Musharraf has suddenly become relevant because of the fresh contacts between Asif Zardari and Altaf Hussain.
Is there a nexus between the two, showing some kind of rethinking in MQM strategy, or are these totally two different or dissimilar issues.Debates had been on until about two months ago as to whether MQM would be willing to own or even work with Musharraf, looking for a place of prominence in politics, but the latter looked clearly disappointed or perhaps disillusioned with the negative response from the former to his wishes or expectations.But speculations about a link between the two died down with the passage of time, after MQM cold-shouldered its former mentor.
Curtains finally came down on whatever little optimism left about such a development taking positive shape when Musharraf in a recent TV interview closed the chapter finally by saying openly that he had nothing to do with MQM, neither did he have any hope from them.
Seen in such grim backdrop, Khushbakht Shujaat’s lunch for Musharraf was bound to raise eyebrows, which it did. Questions were openly asked whether the MQM senator had sought prior approval of the party, or did she defied party discipline.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement is known for its disciplines and tolerates no non-sense from anyone, howsoever important. Even Altaf Hussain’s closest friend, Dr Imran Farooq, who had kept the party alive, despite being underground for a considerably long period, had to disassociate himself on differences about his duty hours at the party’s international secretariat. He is now more with us now to throw light on the subject.
It therefore becomes automatically relevant here as to how did an MQM senator invite Musharraf, when party was at odds with the latter. Some analysts cite this to support contention that everything is not well within the party ranks.
Coming to Asif Zardari’s telephone call to Altaf, the move could easily be surmised as part of the PPP chief’s damage control exercise in the aftermath of his ill-advised outburst against the Pakistan army and some of its senior officers. His sentences that if stopped from pursuing his policies, he would wreck the political structure of the country, and that he too had a list of former Generals allegedly involved in corruption were enough to evoke unfavourable reaction.
As Zardari realised that his Fata speech was a blunder, he arranged an Iftar dinner for party leaders, inviting directly on telephone ANP and Q League chiefs, Asfandyar Wali, and Chaudhry Shujaat.
Not much was known about the talks between Altaf and Zardari, except that the MQM chief emphasised the need for unity at this critical juncture of our history. If quoted correctly, this was generalised, harmless statement. But if the two had agreed to work closely for Sindh and the country, then experts interpreted this as “trap” for MQM.
Once bitten, twice shy is the famous adage. Altaf Hussain and his party men had been victim of gross neglect, and repeated injustices at the hands of the People’s Party. Their being in the government or out of it, made no difference.
What then could be the denominator for co-existence between the two or support for each other? MQM in Sindh Assembly has recently been maltreated by the party in power and yet if Altaf is willing to heed to Zardari’s advices, it is nothing but a simple riddle.On what principles can the structure of support be raised, has not been spelled out. Neither will it ever be spelled out in clear terms.
Zardari is too well known for his cunning style of working. He finds itself in mess because of his own folly. His utterances have been embarrassing for the party. It was struggling to survive when for no rhyme or reason it found itself in the midst of a much deeper crisis.
Zardari’s Iftar dinner can, at best, be a public relation exercise; a mere matter of meeting of old acquaintances and nothing seriously could be discussed on such occasions. Let us see what happens in next couple of weeks.
The corps commander’s visit to Rangers headquarters in Karachi on June 18 and his pat on the back of DG Rangers, was a clear rebuff to the PPP government in Sindh. A chief minister, who first displayed anger over Rangers overstepping its defined limits, and within less than 24 hours, allots them thousands of acres of forestlands in the southern province for the families of the paramilitary martyrs.
Why such a request was met after 14 long years, because the request was made in 2001 cannot be categorised as mystery. In simple words, it is rethinking and a please- all policy on the part of the Sindh chief minister, who obviously acted on orders from party chief and was now forced to build new bridges.

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