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May 20, 2013

MQM leaders chastised for failing to defend Altaf Hussain

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May 20, 2013

Karachi: Emotionally charged workers of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) shoved and pushed some of the prominent members of the party’s Coordination Committee for “not doing enough” to defend their supreme leader Altaf Hussain, who has been accused by Imran Khan for orchestrating a murder in Karachi.
Imran Khan blamed the MQM founder and leader (Quaid) Altaf Hussain for the murder of a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader Zahra Shahid Hussain, who was shot dead by two unidentified gunmen outside her residence in the upscale Defence Housing Authority neighbourhood on Saturday night.
Both Altaf Hussain and his party strongly denied the charge, saying that Imran Khan demonstrated “political immaturity” by accusing a “popular leader” of such a heinous crime minutes after the incident.
“I reject this charge that has been levelled by a person who himself has a dubious past,” Hussain told his supporters in Karachi over telephone from London in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Hundreds of MQM supporters present at the party headquarters called “Nine-Zero” in Azizabad neighbourhood pledged slogans of loyalty to Altaf Hussain and vented their anger at some members of the Coordination Committee, which is the main decision-making body of the MQM. The Committee members retreated to Nine-Zero for a while as party elders tried to cool tempers.
“Long live Altaf,” shouted the workers. “Leader, leader, Altaf is our leader,” they said. The unprecedented incident at the MQM stronghold underlines the command and influence which MQM’s supreme leader enjoys over his followers, though he has been living in a self-imposed exile since 1992.
These developments were seen live on news channels, which showed Altaf Hussian emotionally charged speech. “I am shocked at the utter indifference of the coordination committee members, who are taking the abuses being hurled at me lying down,” he complained. “I never aspired for any

position, never becomes a minister or senator… I apologise to all martyrs of the movement… I am startled at the response of these members, who chose to do nothing when I am being abused.”
After the incident at the party head office, rumours began to float in the social media that the MQM chief had dissolved the coordination committee. This was later rebutted by MQM’s main spokesman Wasay Jalil.
“These are baseless rumors,” he said. Altaf Hussian has taken strict notice of the misbehavior of some of the party activists and has given them 24 hours to submit their written apology, he said. “If they fail to do so, they will not be a part of MQM any more” he said quoting from a statement issued by Altaf Hussain.
The PTI leader Imran Khan’s allegation has further estranged relations between the two parties already at loggerheads over the alleged rigging in Karachi on May 11 – the Election Day.
On Sunday evening, the MQM Coordination Committee held a press conference and announced plans to hold peaceful protests both within Pakistan and abroad to condemn Imran Khan’s allegations.