Tuesday October 03, 2023

Mustafa Kamal returns home after 31 months

March 04, 2016

Earlier some dissidents had formed Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi

LAHORE: Having left the country in August 2013, moving first to Dar-e-Salaam (Tanzania) to attend his ailing wife and then finally settling in Dubai to join a tycoon's company, former Karachi Mayor and ex-Senator Syed Mustafa Kamal has returned home after a prolonged absence of around 31 months.

Just days after the 44-year old Mustafa Kamal had left the country, his close friend and former Central Co-ordination Committee Deputy Convener, Anis Qaimkhani, had also flown to Dubai due to internal fragmentation within the MQM.

Like Kamal, Anis too was an MQM loyalist and a close aide of Altaf Hussain once. Interestingly, after Mustafa Kamal's departure, the Central Co-ordination Committee of the MQM had termed the reports of his differences with the party hierarchy as baseless and fabricated, claiming that there was no rift between Kamal and the Altaf-led political entity.

In fact, acknowledging the services rendered by Syed Mustafa Kamal as City Nazim of Karachi between October 17, 2005 and February 19, 2010, the MQM Central Co-ordination Committee had paid him rich tributes.

The Co-ordination Committee statement had read: "After the end of his term of office as  City Nazim in 2009, Syed Mustafa Kamal had sought leave from the party's political activities because of some personal business. The party gladly granted the request back then as well."

Shortlisted for the World Mayor Prize in 2010, Kamal was once a telephone operator at the 90-Azizabad MQM headquarters at Karachi and had also served as the IT Minister for Sindh from 2003 to 2005. The June 3, 2014, edition of the "New York Times" had stated that as the British police were closing in on MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, his organization was beginning to show signs of internal strains.

The American newspaper had reported: "Some MQM leaders have left Pakistan after falling out with Mr Hussain, including Syed Mustafa Kamal, a former mayor of Karachi. The worry now is that if British prosecutors proceed with a money-laundering trial, the party, which is rooted in Mr Hussain’s personality cult, could fall apart, possibly bringing intense violence to the streets of Karachi."

Over the years, like Mustafa Kamal and Anis Qaimkhani, numerous MQM leaders have either deserted the party on their own accord or were sacked by Altaf Hussain owing to one reason or the other. A few like Rauf Siddiqui, Haider Abbas Rizvi and Babar Ghouri  are keeping a low profile, fairly silent in recent times.

Other MQM die-hards, who have either disappeared suddenly from the political scene or became inactive in party affairs since 2013 include the likes of Raza Haroon, Hammad Siddiqui and Faisal Subzwari. In Februaruy 2016, the MQM top brass had re-introduced its demand to sack present Governor Sindh Dr Eshratul Ibad, who was once a blue-eyed chum of Altaf Hussain.

We can all recall that soon after the June 19, 1992, Army initiative, called the "Operation Blue Fox," Altaf Hussain's numerous confidants like Amir Khan, former joint secretary Afaq Ahmed, Bader Iqbal and Mansoor Chacha etc had gone on to form the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi.

Together with Afaq, Amir Khan (now back with Altaf Hussain again) used to control MQM-Haqiqi affairs from his residence at Liaquatabad Peeli Kothi (Yellow House), which was a house painted in and was dubbed MQM-Haqiqi’s mini-headquarters or second key office. However, two days after he was released from jail on May 25, 2011, when his life term was revoked by the Sindh High Court, Amir Khan had rejoined Altaf Hussain.

Similarly, while Altaf's MQM had blamed the Army establishment, the successive PPP regimes in Sindh and the MQM-Haqiqi (one of its major break-away factions) for the killing of some of its trusted lieutenants, it has also been accused of murdering its own men.

A founding MQM leader, Azeem Ahmed Tariq, was murdered in Karachi home on May 1, 1993. Although mystery shrouds his assassination till date, a target killer namely ‘Nadeem alias Naddu’ (a former in charge of MQM’s Korangi sector) had confessed killing Azeem Ahmed Tariq at the behest of MQM's top leadership. In his confessional statement, Nadeem had admitted that along with Javed alias Jadu, Imam Din alias Shafi, Taj Din alias Taju and Javed alias Langra, he had sprayed bullets at Azeem Tariq.

A good number of Pakistani media outlets had carried this story in March 2015. On February 18, 1994, Altaf Hussain had addressed a packed Karachi hall, via telephone from London, saying: "We sacrificed two million people to achieve Pakistan, not to see our children killed and elders humiliated by the law-enforcing agencies."

In November 1994, Mansoor Chacha, the Deputy Secretary General of the MQM-Haqiqi, was murdered with his family in Karachi. The killings had sparked a new wave of violence in the port city.

In October 1995, a group of eight suspected members of the MQM had stood outside the Sindh Province Secretariat for nearly 20 minutes, firing grenades at the office complex, setting fire to the Secretariat building and destroying the office of the Provincial Health Minister Shamim Ahmad, who had switched his allegiance from MQM to the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party in 1994.

In December 1995, MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s 66-year old elder brother Nasir Hussain and his 28-year old nephew, Arif Hussain, had also met painful unnatural deaths in Karachi.

As newspaper archives reveal, Nasir Hussain and Arif were arrested by the law-enforcement agents on December 5, 1995. MQM officials had then stated that the two gentlemen killed were kept in a safe house, where they were brutally tortured for four days.

The father and son were reportedly killed on December 9, 1995, and their corpses were discovered from Gadap Town area of Karachi. In April 1997, Afaq Ahmed, chairman of the Haqiqi faction of the MQM, survived an apparent assassination attempt when the two kilogram bomb fixed to a motorcycle exploded outside the house of a party leader gunned down the day before.

The MQM (Altaf) had denied responsibility. One person had died and many others were injured in the blast. In June 1997, the headquarters of the MQM Haqiqi faction were sprayed with bullets, killing two people working there. This incident had triggered a series of clashes between the MQM and the Haqiqi faction.

By the end of June 1997, according to AFP and German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), the violence had spawned an unofficial strike - closing down businesses in Karachi - and had cost over 60 lives. The complete death toll for the February-June 1997 period in Karachi had stood at 241, including 149 killed in 84 cases of "terrorism."

In August 1997, the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) had opted to change its name to the Muttaheda Qaumi Movement with the aim of reaching beyond its immigrant roots and uniting the lower and middle classes into an organization.

On August 1, 2010, an MQM MPA Raza Haider was shot dead in the Nazimabad area. Raza Haider was reportedly in Nazimabad to attend the funeral of a relative when six unidentified gunmen opened fire on him. On January 16, 2013, another MQM legislator in Sindh Assembly, Syed Manzar Imam, was killed by six unidentified gunmen in Karachi’s Orangi Town area.

On June 21, 2013, a provincial Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Sajid Qureshi and his young son were assassinated at a juncture when both Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and MQM were striving hard to shun their differences.