Sunday, August 7, 2011

Torture Chamber & Gulag in Pakistan.

 A colonial mindset was once again reflected in Altaf Hussain’s remarks on Wednesday. There was the usual attitude of looking down upon the people of Sindh who welcomed millions of refugees with open arms in 1947 and offered them shelter and opportunities to prosper. That Altaf Hussain continues to insist on calling the newcomers Mohajirs even after sixty four years is indicative of a continuous bias against integration with the local population. The attitude is reminiscent of the British racism of the colonial era when the inferior ‘natives’ were considered intellectually and culturally backward. The white masters were supposed to bring fruits of civilisation to their uncivilised subjects while maintaining a distance from them. The condescending attitude of the MQM and its sympathisers has naturally alienated the local Sindhis and raised walls instead of breaking them down. The attitude is considered an insulting expression of racial superiority. That the remarks by Altaf should have come at this crucial juncture when Karachi is passing through a bloodbath is highly disturbing. Calling the pre-partition Sindhis the ‘slaves of Hindu Banias’ Altaf ranted, “We have given you independence and a free country.” He then put the rhetorical question, “Which country have you liberated with your own struggle?” Now this is falsifying history. At a time when Jinnah was badly in need of help, the Sindh assembly was the first provincial legislature to pass a resolution in support of Pakistan. The resolution provided much needed backing for All India Muslim League’s demand for a separate homeland. To say that Sindhis did nothing for their province is yet another falsification of history. Sindhis fought bravely against the advancing British troops. Hoshu Shidi’s war cry of “Sar daysun, Sindh na daysun” (I’ll give away my head but not surrender Sindh) in the battle of Dabba fought in 1843 is duly recorded in history. Pir Sibghatullah Rashidi, the father of the present Pir Pagara, led the Hur insurgency against the Raj and was hanged for the act in 1943 by the British government. It was on account of the efforts of the Sindhi Muslim politicians that Sindh, which had been amalgamated into Bombay soon after the British takeover, achieved the status of a separate province and joined the struggle for Pakistan. Altaf Hussain has also rebuked what he calls the “conscienceless writers” and “analysts teaching false history.” This indicates that Altaf has a tendency for amnesia. When he said on Wednesday that 20 lakh Mohajirs offered their lives for the creation of the country and left their hearths and homes, he conveniently forgot that the worst sufferers from communal riots in 1947 were the Muslims in East Punjab. Those who migrated from East Punjab as a result of the riots became integrated in the local population across the border in no time. They subsequently neither called themselves Mohajirs, nor did they make tall claims about the ‘sacrifices’ they had rendered. Let alone fighting the local population, they became an indivisible part of it. The MQM has confined the term Mohajirs to include only those coming from provinces not contiguous with the borders of Pakistan. Thus people migrating from UP, Bihar and CP mainly are included in the term. Despite their dominant position in the civil service and a share in the armed forces jobs much above their population ratio, a narrative of their deprivation has been constructed. REFERENCE: Living in the past? By:Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad 

Altaf Hussain (MQM) Racist Comment ( SAMAA TV 3-8-2011)

Altaf has also raised the issue of quotas, accusing the Sindhis of depriving the Mohajirs of educational facilities and jobs. The qouta system is by no means confined to Sindh. Even in Punjab, quotas have existed on the basis of the rural/urban divide. Separate quotas for Muslims, he needs to be reminded, was a major demand of the Muslim community in India. This is by no mean an unusual thing in the contemporary world where proactive policies are often devised for the uplift of the neglected communities. Two forthcoming challenges will test if the party is willing to change its narrow outlook which has led to confrontation and blood shed. The first is the Population and Housing Census scheduled for 12th-27th September this year. Unlike what the party did during the House Listing operation conducted earlier this year, it has to avoid trying to engineer results in accordance with its wishes. While there may be a need to regulate the unhindered inflow of population in Karachi from outside Sindh, all genuine residents have to be counted correctly. Any attempt to doctor the census results would further lead to the deterioration of the law and order situation. The next test would come when the Election Commission starts delimiting the constituencies. At this stage too, no attempts have to be made to interfere in the process. The MQM needs to come out of its cocoon, shed ethnic prejudices and become a part of the Sindhi community. What is more, it needs to reconcile with the changing ethnic realities of the province. REFERENCE: Living in the past? By:Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad 

ISLAMABAD: Mohajir Qaumi Movement’s chairman Afaq Ahmed admitted on Monday that he had received Rs5 million from Younus Habib in 1993, long after he along with several other leaders had parted ways with the party led by Altaf Hussain. He claimed that Mr Hussain had also received Rs5 million from Mr Habib in his presence and that former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg was present on the occasion. Addressing a press conference, Mr Ahmed said he was presenting facts before the media so that it could highlight them without any fear. He accused the Muttahida Qaumi Movement of being involved in extortion and issuing threats to all segments of society in Karachi. “I have told this to the media in Karachi too but they do not have the courage to carry such things,” he said. Mr Afaq said Karachi was a part of the country but policymakers generally thought that negotiating with Mr Hussain was the only way to move ahead because of his influence in the city. He said it was imperative to clear the city of weapons for peace and tranquillity. “We will try to bring religious, nationalists and political groups to one platform for peace in Karachi.” In reply to a question, Mr Ahmed said that if new provinces were made on an ethnic grounds then it would be a never-ending process that might lead to disintegration of the country. REFERENCE: Afaq says he, Altaf got money from Younus A Reporter 20th March, 2012 الطاف حسین بھتہ لیتے ہیں: آفاق احمد

آخری وقت اشاعت: پير 19 مارچ 2012 ,‭ 13:46 GMT 18:46 PST

THATTA, March 25: A complete strike was observed across Thatta district and a procession was taken out in Pano Akil on Sunday to condemn death threats given to two women MPAs. Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palijo and MPA Rai Naz Bozdar have received letters asking them to leave Karachi or face death. The letters, issued by so-called ‘Muhajir Province Liberation Army’ were delivered at their residences through courier services. The strike was observed in Thatta, Makli, Gharo, Mirpur Sakro, Gujjo and Dhabeji and other towns in the district. Main commercial centres, shops and different factories remained closed. Activists of Pakistan People’s Party, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz and other nationalist parties took to the streets and burnt tyres on roads resulting in suspension of traffic on the National Highway and other roads. The protesters were wearing black armbands. Ms Sassui told Dawn that the letter she had received on March 24 contained threats and was a reaction to the adoption of a resolution in Sindh Assembly on March 9 against any move aimed at dividing Sindh. She said she was also receiving threatening emails and text messages on her personnel mobile phone. Sindh, she added, had a history, culture, heritage and distinct territorial boundaries which would remain intact and all conspiracies to divide the province would foil. Talking to reporters at the Sindh museum in Hyderabad, Ms Sassui Palijo said: “We will never be intimidated by a handful of disgruntled people.” Ms Palijo said she had received her education in Karachi and had been living there for a long time. Sindh belongs to all the people living in the province and Karachi is also a city of all the people. She said she had passed on the threatening letter to the chief minister who had directed police and other law-enforcement agencies to investigate the matter. She said that Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan had also been informed about the threats. She said MQM had repeatedly declared that it was against division of Sindh. She said that during the days of General Zia the issue of Jinnahpur had been raised to fuel ethnic riots in the province. But the people of Sindh will unite to thwart all such conspiracies. Pano Akil protest Thousands of people, including activists of political parties, traders and social welfare organisations took out a procession and demonstrated in front of the press club in Pano Akil for several hours. They were protesting against a similar threatening letter received by MPA Rai Naz Bozdar. The procession from Bozdar House marched to the Shah Latif Chowk. Speaking on the occasion, former MPA Ghulam Mustafa Bozdar, local PPP leader Rasheed Korai and presidents and general secretaries of different trade organisations, said the elected representatives of Sindh were being threatened by a political party. But they said they were not afraid of such threats because PPP members and its leaders had faced many such problems in the past and also sacrificed their lives. They said they would retaliate if elected representatives, including Rai Naz Bozdar, Sassui Palijo and Shazia Mari, were harmed in any manner. MPA Rai Naz told Dawn from Karachi on phone that she had received the threatening letter through a courier service. She said that the letter was written by one Tipu Sultan, chief of the so-called “Mohajir Province Liberation Army” and sender’s address was Liaquatabad, Karachi. She said that contents of the letter show the sender had information about her and members of her family and warned her of dire consequences if she did not leave Karachi. Ms Rai Naz said she would not hesitate to sacrifice her life for the cause of Sindh and Sindhi people. She said PPP leaders had always sacrificed their lives for the cause of people and she was ready to follow them. REFERENCE: Threatening letters sent to Sassui, Rai Naz evoke strong reaction Dawn Report Metropolitan > Karachi 26th March, 2012

Befitting Reply of MQM to Stephen Sackur in BBC HARDtalk Part 1

KARACHI Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain has said that `international powers` had in the past tried to eliminate the MQM through the Pakistani establishment, but now they were trying to get rid of him. In an open letter to party workers, which was also released to the media on Sunday, Mr Hussain said that `international powers` could eliminate him anytime and they (MQM workers) should be mentally prepared for such an eventuality. He said that he had given a philosophy and ideology for struggle against generals, feudal lords and chieftains who assumed “power through unfair means”. He said it was not only the aristocracy which benefited from the mediaeval system, but international powers also used it to their advantage. “International powers used the Pakistani establishment which includes the army, ISI and other powerful agencies to eliminate the MQM. When these forces failed to achieve their objective through conspiracies and barbarity and by slaying thousands of MQM workers, international powers are now trying to eliminate Altaf Hussain,” he said in the letter. Mr Hussain said the murder of Dr Imran Farooq was a link in the chain and news analysis and columns published in the international press gave a clear indication about which party and personality were being targeted. He referred to the BBC programme “Hard Talk” in which the host asked coordination committee member Mohammad Anwar why the MQM leader (Mr Hussain) had not been removed. “This has implications for the situation… what was the purpose of this question?” Mr Hussain said he did not have strength to withstand the might of powers and, therefore, workers should be mentally prepared for any eventuality because of “these powers can eliminate Altaf Hussain anytime”. “If I am assassinated, it would be your duty to carry forward the mission, and objectives and to disseminate my ideology and teachings by sacrificing your personal interests and remaining united,” he said. The release of the letter was followed by an MQM statement condemning the nefarious plan to eliminate its chief. It called upon the British government to provide adequate security to the MQM leader in London. This was the crux of a meeting of the MQM coordination committee held simultaneously in Karachi and London on Sunday, said the statement. It said that after the assassination of Dr Farooq, a conspiracy was hatched to malign the MQM and its leader Mr Hussain, triggering concern among MQM supporters and workers worldwide. “The coordination committee reposed full confidence in the leadership of Mr Hussain and resolved that they would remain committed and continue their struggle under him.” Altaf accuses foreign powers of plotting to eliminate him By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque September 27, 2010

Befitting Reply of MQM to Stephen Sackur BBC HARDtalk Part 2

KARACHI: The United Kingdom Under-secretary Foreign Affairs Alistair Burt telephoned Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad on Wednesday and discussed the law and order situation in Karachi. The present political situation of Pakistan and of Karachi, in particular, also came under discussion between the two. Burt lauded the efforts ofMQM chief Altaf Hussain in the restoration of peace in the metropolis. He gave an assurance that the UK was ready to help Pakistan in any way to achieve political stability and for the restoration of peace in Karachi. Burt also appreciated the role of all stakeholders in Karachi who are making efforts to restore peace. Ebad apprised Burt that the government was fully cognisant of the situation in Karachi and action was being taken against criminal elements. REFERENCE: Ebad, UK official discuss Karachi situation our correspondent Thursday, August 04, 2011

KARACHI: In a speech marked by a discernible reduction of bellicosity, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain said on Wednesday that the Army and the Rangers be deployed in Karachi on a full-time basis to stop it from frequently descending into violence. Mr Hussain set alarm bells ringing late on Tuesday night when he asked the beleaguered people of Karachi — where more than 300 people were killed last month alone — to stock up on ration for at least a month. He said the people must do that even if they had to sell valuables. That the major portion of the Wednesday speech by the MQM chief was in English indicated that he sought to address the international audience in addition to his party’s senior leaders and general workers at the Lal Qila ground in Azizabad. This impression was strengthened by a statement issued by British Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt after speaking to Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad over the phone.

Mr Burt expressed his concern “at the continuing violence and loss of life that Karachi has faced in recent weeks”. He said: “I warned that inflammatory statements from any political party risked making the situation worse and that all political leaders and their parties have a duty to refrain from inciting violence and to reduce tensions and restore calm. “Our Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi, Francis Campbell, has met representatives of all main political parties in Karachi to encourage them to work towards stability in Karachi and the wider region. I have asked my officials to reiterate these points directly with the leadership of the MQM and to discuss our concerns.” While Mr Hussain may have refrained from issuing dark warnings on Wednesday, he was no less impassioned in his appeal for a durable peace in the city. “The Rangers and the Army should come to Karachi and see who is involved in terrorism. They should control the law and order situation here.” REFERENCE: Altaf wants army to quell violence By Mukhtar Alam | From the Newspaper (1 hour ago) Today PTI to sue Blair for ‘harbouring’ MQM leader By Our Reporter May 15, 2007 Tuesday Rabi-us-Sani 27, 1428  UK paper blames MQM for May 12 carnage Rauf Klasra Sunday, June 03, 2007 KARACHI: Altaf wants CJ to tender resignation By Our Staff Reporter May 13, 2007 Sunday Rabi-us-Sani 25, 1428  UK urges MQM not to hinder Benazir’s return By M. Ziauddin October 09, 2007 Tuesday Ramazan 26, 1428 

Foreign Office Minister discusses continuing violence in Karachi with Governor of Sindh Last updated at 18:46 (UK time) 3 Aug 2011 

Punabis, Pakhtoons Arrested in Simultaneous Raids 92AS I I6 7E Islamabad THE MUSLIM in English Jul 92 p I2 [Article by Suleman Raja] [Text] Karachi, June 30—In an early morning swoop several offices of Punjabi-Pakhtoon Ittehad [PPI] in different parts of the Sindh capital were raided by the members of the law-enforcing agencies. Vital records were seized and the offices were sealed. The raids were conducted simultaneously. A number of PPI activists were also picked up during these raids. However, the persons on the most wanted list remained untraceable. A senior official of one of the federal agencies involved in the ongoing operation clean-up revealed that they had information that PPI had also allegedly set-up torture cells. But no such cell was unearthed so far. He said most of the PPI offices were functioning under cover. lt was, therefore, difficult to locate all of them. Some of their offices, he added, were located in car showrooms, estate agency offices and many of them were traced while there were still many more which would be raided once information was received about them. Raids also continued to track down the MQM [Muhajir Qaumi Movement] activists who have also gone underground to escape arrest. Meanwhile, MQM-backed MNA [Member of National Assembly] Kanwar Khalid Younus was picked up by the members of the law-enforcing agency from North Nazimabad on Monday. According to sources, he was arrested in connection witha murder case. The Mayor of Karachi, Dr Farooq Sattar, has complained that one of his attendants, namely Javed, was kidnapped allegedly by the supporters of the dissident group from his house located in the PIB Colony. However, the New Town police when contacted informed that they had no information about any such incident and till Tuesday afternoon no report about the incident had been reported. The police continued to register cases against the top leadership of the MQM on the complaints of individuals. The complaints were mostly of torture, kidnapping, extortion, and rape. The Karachi police also picked up several criminals from different parts. According to APP, Curfew would be relaxed from 5 am to 10 pm in all the curfew-bound areas of Karachi tomorrow. ARMS LICENCE: A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the issuance of thousands of arms licences to different persons in the troubled Sindh province during the last few years. Highly placed sources, while talking to THE MUSLIM, further revealed that thousands of arms licences including those of prohibited bore were issued by the Sindh-based MNAs. Meanwhile, according to federal agency sources, they have seized a large number of “blank forms of arms licences” from the MQM office located at Al-Karam Square which is also popularly known as No 89. It was revealed that these seized forms were signed by various competent authorities but there was no mention of any names of any individual and as such they were blank. Sources pointed out that there existed a possibility that after the completion of inquiry, several arm licences issued to different persons would be cancelled. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan 

Analyst Views Causes of MQM Downfall 92ASI243D Karachi DAWN in English 22 Jun 92 p I3 [Article by Ayaz Amir. “A Fresh Twist to a Tangled Tale”] [Text] Sindh’s capacity to surprise is seemingly inexhaustible. Barely a few days ago, when the army operation was being lambasted from all sides for its ineffectiveness, who would have thought that the breakaway faction of the Muhajir Qaumi Movement [MQM]— which calls itself MQM Haqiqi—would take on the main organisation and seize many of its offices? In the fighting that ensued, about eight people were killed and many more injured. Large parts of Karachi are under curfew, and army jawans are patrolling the streets. When Altaf Hussain, the MQM leader, who for unknown reasons, has been holed up in London for the_ last nine months, met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the Dorchester Hotel, the TV cameras could not hide the worried and even distraught look on his face. . This move on the part of the MQM dissidents, at a time when the army is in the midst of an operation to restore peace in Sindh, fuels suspicion that they could not have acted without receiving some kind of a goiahead from some powerful quarters. What lends strength to this feeling is the fact that whereas after Friday’s clashes, the MQM leadership was nowhere to be" seen, having apparently gone into hiding, Aamir Khan and Badr Iqbal, two of the main dissidents, were freely speaking to the Press. When Jam Sadiq Ali waschief minister, the MQM used state power to crush its opponents. Now state power (in a slightly different form) is being used to squeeze, if not crush the MQM. This is how times change. The MQM has lived by the sword and now it is having to contend with the sword. Try as one might, it is hard to brush aside the thought that there is an element of grim justice in the development.

Whatever else may be unclear about events in Karachi, one thing is certain. This is the most serious challenge the MQM is facing since its inception, far more serious than anything it had to face during the PPP [Pakistan People‘s Party] govemment. Against extemal threats, the MQM could and did present a united front. Dealing with a revolt from within its own ranks is an altogether different matter. None of which alters the fact that there has been nothing like the MQM in our political history. The first time anyone outside Karachi heard about it was in late 1986 when an MQM procession going to Hyderabad was fired upon from the Pathan enclave of Sohrab Goth. From then on, its rise was meteoric. In 1987, it swept the local elections in Karachi and  Hyderabad. In the 1988 general elections, it won all but a few of the national and provincial seats in these cities. Its decision to support the PPP was a factor in Benazir Bhutto’s selection as prime minister. When the MQM turned against the PPP, Karachi quickly became an ungovemable city. Curfews were frequently imposed and troops had to be called out to maintain law and order. Unrest in Sindh, especially Karachi and Hyderabad, was a factor in Benazir Bhutto’s dismissal from the prime ministership.

George Galloway (British MP) on MQM - 1 (2007)


Pakistan: Imran Farooq murder linked to rows within MQM Vikram Dodd, crime correspondent, Sunday 26 September 2010 20.28 BST The Karachi king After a bloody conflict in Karachi, much-feared political boss Altaf Hussain fled to London, but he is no less powerful in Pakistan Mustafa Qadri, Monday 6 July 2009 18.00 BST Pakistan: Information on Mohajir/Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Altaf (MQM-A),USCIS,,,414fe5aa4,0.html Wiki Leaks Memo on MQM & MQM's "Confusion" over AL-QAEDA.  Wiki Leaks Memo on "Karachi Killings"!

George Galloway (British MP) on MQM - 2 (2007)


Classified By: Charge d`Affaires Peter Bodde, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d) 1. (C) On June 1, Charge met with Minister of Ports and Shipping (and MQM member) Babar Khan Ghauri to discuss the May 11-13 violence in Karachi. Ghauri said the Karachi violence had “killed” the MQM`s chances of gaining voters in Punjab province. The party was focusing on repairing its reputation in Karachi and Sindh. 2. (C) According to Ghauri, police and Sindh Rangers were stationed at key “buffer” points in Karachi on May 12, anticipating clashes between opposition and MQM activists. At around 2:00 a.m., the officers abandoned their positions. (Note: The Rangers, like the Karachi police, might have been under local orders not to intervene (ref A). End Note.) Ghauri reported that on May 13, after a phone call with Governor of Sindh Ishrat-ul-Ebad, President Musharraf ordered police and rangers onto the streets in Karachi. Ghauri also said Musharraf asked PML-Q coalition partners to maintain a public posture that would not cause undue political damage to the MQM. Regarding whether MQM head Altaf Hussain played any part in planning the violence, Ghauri said “No, absolutely not. We were trying to expand into Punjab; how would we have benefited from this?” (Note: Reliable Embassy and Consulate Karachi contacts believe that at the very least Hussain suspected there would be violence on May 12 and supported the MQM counter-rally in any case. End Note.) 3. (C) Comment: Ghauri confirmed what in-country MQM leader Farooq Sattar told us in a May 17 phone call (ref C): the events of May 11-13 in Karachi deeply wounded the MQM. Ghauri noted several times during the meeting that his party`s leadership felt “alone” and that they were worried the PML-Q would abandon them. Indeed, a number of PML-Q contacts privately tell us they believe MQM was culpable for the events, and the PML-Q should distance itself from the MQM to prevent damage to its own reputation. Nevertheless, President Musharraf and some other government officials continue to blame the opposition and Chief Justice for the May 12 violence. Given that much of the public and media believe the MQM principally responsible for the violence, Musharraf`s position could exacerbate his political problems. End Comment. BODDE. REFERENCE: 2007: Babar Ghauri said May 12 violence killed MQM`s chances in Punjab From the Newspaper May 31, 2011  Wiki Leaks on Karachi Violence: 2009: US assessment of Karachi violence DAWN.COM May 23, 2011​5/23/2009-us-assessment-of​-karachi-violence.html Wiki Leaks: 2008: MQM told US 'stop ignoring us'From the Newspaper (14 hours ago) Today​5/28/2008-mqm-told-us-stop​-ignoring-us.html

George Galloway (British MP) on MQM - 3 (2007)


In the 1990 elections, the MQM improved its performance in Karachi and Hyderabad. Its support was crucial in Jam Sadiq Ali’s election (or whatever it was) as chief minister. In return, the MQM got a virtual stranglehold over the Sindh govemment. Its writ ran unchallenged in Karachi and Hyderabad. In these two cities nothing could be done against its wishes. ‘ Whatever happens now, the MQM has left a deep imprint on the politics of Sindh. It gave a sense of identity to the poorer sections of the Muhajir community and a sense of purpose to Muhajir youth and even Muhajir women who became active participants in all the MQM’s mass activities. The MQM_was also able to rid Karachi and Hyderabad from the baleful influence of religious parties like the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, which till the MQM’s rise to promi- nence, dominated the politics of these cities. By sending lower middle class representatives to the assemblies, the MQM set a healthy precedent in national politics. But if this is the bright side of the MQM’s record, there is a dark side to it as well. The MQM has thrived on violence and has used strong-arm tactics, including, incredibly, the use of torture to frighten its opponents and also to keep its own suPDOrters in line. During clashes between MQM and PPP activists when the PPP was in power, hostages from either side were subjected to unspeakable brutalities. Finally, it was the army which had to step in and arrange an exchange of hostages. Within the MQM, the price of dissent has been very high. There have been persistent rumours that the organisation has been running torture chambers to punish and break outspoken malcontents. When the so-called Haqiqi leaders developed differences with the MQM’s central leadership, Karachi was no longer a safe place for them. They had to flee elsewhere to safeguard their lives. The MQM also broke the power of the Karachi Press. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan 

Successful attempts at disrupting the distribution of newspapers compelled most, although to their honour not all, Karachi-based papers to heed the MQM’s sensibilities if not outrightly to toe its line. Independent reporting about the MQM virtually came to an end. As a result, most Karachi papers looked no better than regional papers. While these strong-arm methods proved of great help to the MQM in tightening its grip over Karachi and Hyderabad, it had the adverse effect of isolating it from liberal and enlightened opinion throughout the country. True, at the national level, it was in alliance with the IJ I [Islami Jamhoori Ittehad]. But with the PPP no longer in power, the bonds holding the MQM and the IJI together began to loosen. Punjabi MNAs [Member of National Assembly] and ministers in frequent contact with the MQM could be heard complaining about the arrogance of the MQM leaders and their limitless demands. All these factors point to the MQM’s isolation—to the fact that outside its own constituency of supporters it had few sympathisers. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan

But with all this, the MQM could have lived. Its most grievous error was to eam the animosity of the army. It is true that at some stage in its development the army, or some adventurous sections of it, had helped build the MQM as a counter-vailing force to the PPP and, strange as it may sound, to the Jamaat-i-Islami whose street power was a source of concem to General Zia. But if the army had to restore peace in Sindh, sooner or later it was bound to come into conflict with the tiger it had helped create. The MQM brought that day nearer. The incident that stands out in this connection, and which really stirred feelings within the army against the MQM, was the abduction and reported torture in June last year of an army ofiicer and some soldiers in plain clothes while they were on duty in Landhi (at a time when clashes were taking place between the MQM dissidents and activists loyal to the MQM proper). The MQM MNA who reportedly supervised this action became the special object of the army’s ire. Matters were only exacerbated by the stand-off in the Karachi Steel Mills earlier this year when the new chairman of the mills (a serving general) took steps to reduce the number of casual workers said to have been recruited on political grounds.Arrogance in power has thus been the MQM’s single greatest liability. Had it opted for a moderate course, it could have made itself more acceptable to a wider audience outside its power base in Karachi and Hyderabad. But for an organisation which turned political violence into an art form, moderation was not an easy act to follow. There was also another problem. Moderation would have implied a slight opening up of the MQM’s tightly-sealed structure. It would have also meant some tolerance of internal dissent—a difficult proposition for a secretive organisation nin almost on KGB principles. It is still too early to say what the future has in store for the MQM. But this much can perhaps be said: the very factors and the very instruments which were crucial to its rise are now playing no small part in the troubles threatening to swamp it. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan 

MQM Will Survive 92AS1240A Karachi DAWN in English 29 Jun 92 p 20 [Article by Shaheen Sehbai: “MQM Will Not Die Politically: Azhar”] [Text] Islamabad, June 28—The MQM [Muhajir Qaumi Movement] move to resign from the assemblies would prove its strength in the parliament, despite the crush MQM operation, but it may also prove counter productive, the only MQM legislator available, Senator Ishtiaq Azhar said on Sunday. Speaking to parliamentary reporters in the cafeteria, Senator Azhar said it would become evident in a day or two how many of the MPAs [Members of Provincial Assembly] and MNA [Member of National Assembly] have submitted their resignations on the call of the MQM central committee.

“Yes it would damage the MQM if not many of them resigned” Senator Ishtiaq Azhar said, adding: “attempts are being made to purchase the MNAs and MPAs.”

“That is why the high command has decided to ask all of them to resign and has dissolved all organisational cadres,” he said.

The Senator was grilled by newsmen asking all kinds of questions, specially about the reported visit of MQM Minister Islam Nabi with the Prime Minister to Uzbekistan, despite his reported resignation. “I am surprised at Mr Nabi’s decision to go with the PM [Prime Minister] and I am sure when he retums, he would be asked by the high command,” he replied. But he was not sure whether Mr Nabi would come back. “Frankly I do not know because we have had no contact,” he said. The'Senator said he was feeling uncomfortable sitting on the Treasury benches after the MQM decision to quit the coalition govemment, but he was waiting for the decision of Mr Altaf Hussain to ask the Senators to resign as well.“Surprisingly, I have been invited to the IJI [Islami Jamhoori Ittehad] parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday moming, probably because we were coalition partners, but I would not be attending the meeting as we have nothing to do with the IJI,” he said. The Senator also clarified that he was neither a member of the MQM nor any office holder at any level.“ I am President of the Mohajir Rabita Council and l was asked to become a Senator for MQM which I accepted and I won,” he said. Questioned about the torture cells that had been discovered by the army in Karachi, Senator Ishtiaq Azhar said he had no knowledge of these cells but asked newsmen to think why all these cells were being discovered in those areas where the MQM rebels had their strength. “Probably these rebels had set up these cells and they are now taking the army to expose them. They have found no such cells in Federal B Area, Nazimabad and such places where MQM was strong,” he said. He said the MQM leaders feared victimisation and hence they had gone underground, but he was not afraid as “I have done nothing wrong. If they want to arrest me they can, I am prepared.” The Senator said politically MQM would not die with these actions and when the time comes, we would decide whether to contest the byelections or not. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan 

Details on Torture Cells 92ASI240C Karachi DAWN in English 25 Jun 92 pp I, 8 [Article by Ghulam Hasnain: “MQM’s (Muhajir Qaumi Movement) Biggest Chamber of Torture”] [Text] Karachi, June 24—Imagine a small deserted room—one of the 50 similar rooms—full of dust. Imagine a person walking through the dust and mistakenly kicking up a lump on the floor, scaring away a bunch of ants, and imagine picking up that thing out of curiosity and finding out to his horror that it was a chopped off nose to a human being who had recently been there.I wish I had not been there. It has been almost 12 hours since I visited this torture house and I am still feeling sick in the stomach. And I am not alone, for my feeling was shared by the newsmen and photographers who visited the infamous and one of the worst and biggest torture houses of the city in Landhi on Wednesday. Commonly known as “Chaowani,” the torture chamber was once the hostel of a technical institute and later abandoned. It was converted into a private jail and torture cell by the MQM to punish political opponents. As one enters this complex, one finds a huge steel structure, 40 feet long, l2 feet wide and 12 feet high, erected in the centre of the compound. Five nooses of nylon and other ropes were hanging from the roof structure. Alongside the structure were scattered iron bars, metallic chains and gadgets used for torture. One side of the cell was reserved for shooting. One of the nearby walls has a warning written on it, asking the guards to use silencers during practice. At the far end, there was open space surrounded by small bushes and plants. In the middle was a huge tree with an old noose hanging on it. The noose was blood-stained and some particles of what obviously was human skin. Though the rooms were dusty and dirty, the prisoners left some signs of their miserable existence on the walls. In some of the rooms, phone numbers were scratched on the walls with the help of stones, charcoal and nails. The prisoners probably wrote these in the hope that if they died, someone else who escaped from the cell might convey information to their families.

Some of the rooms have blood stains. About half a dozen women and some boys who had noticed a huge convoy of military vehicles coming outside the Chaowani came up at the cell to tell of their horrifying ordeals to journalists. Prior to arriving at Chaowani, the newsmen were taken to the MQM sector office in Landhi to show a torture cell set up in one of the rooms of the office. Over 40 women of all ages were already present there when the convoy of newsmen and photographers reached there. It seems that all of them had gathered to moum the death of their dear ones. Rabia Begum whose young son, Mohammad Arshad, was shot dead last year, soon after his retum from America along with MQM dissident leaders, was crying and screaming for help and justice. “We were not allowed to attend even the burial of Arshad and he was buried without any religious ceremonies or shroud.” Same is the case with Mrs Tahira, whose husband Haider Ali, was kidnapped and later shot dead in front of an armoury shop in Saddar.

Another young lady whose husband, Mohammad Yousuf, is still missing was again and again requesting the army officials for the recovery of her husband. A young man, Jawed, who was brutally tortured in the sector office, took me to a comer and showed me one of his testicles bumt during interrogation. Besides, his entire body had scars. Besides Jawed, there were some other young men whose legs were damaged or broken during interrogation. And there were scores of women who had lost their men during the last few months because of political differences.

As the women were disclosing their ordeals to the Press, a young girl, probably in her 20s, was quietly standing in the far-end of the room watching the aggrieved women surrounded by the media. “Have you also lost someone?” First she tried to avoid the question and then suddenly broke down. “I came to enquire about the video cassette.” Elaborating she said that her video film was made by the activists before she was dishonoured. “l heard that a number of video cassettes were recovered from White House (Landhi sector office),” she remarked. As the conversation was going on, a young man appeared and took the women with him to another room. The torture cell set up in the sector office was full of various equipments used for torture. Drill machines, sulphuric acid, nails, metallic chains, hammers, scissors and other such gadgets including a steel structure where the prisoners were tied and given electric shocks. The women and young men who came to the White House to brief the joumalists, claimed that a secret force called “Kharkar Force” was active in the MQM to punish the political opponents and those who were accused of violating party discipline.

It was an elite force of MQM, and even the sector chiefs did not know who was in the Kharkar Force. The Force was directly operated by the Markaz and Dr Imran Farooq was in charge of it, they claimed. One of the dissident leaders, who told the Press that the White House was set up one and a half years ago, was embarrassed when an old lady interrupted him during the speech and reminded him that she had been watching him there for the last four years. “My son was always seen with you, tell me where he is,” the old lady said. The scenes at the torture cells brought tears to the eyes of all, including joumalists and army officials. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan

Dissidents Share Guilt 92ASI240D Karachi DAWN in English 25 Jun 92 p I6 [Editorial: “Who Bears Responsibility for These Horrors?”] [Text] The horrifying tales pouring out of Karachi of what the MQM [Muhajir Qaumi Movement] was up to, of the torture chambers it ran and how it dealt with dissidents, make spine-chilling reading. What is the proper reaction to them? One of anger, horror or plain, dumb silence? And is this enough to make up the loss of those people who suffered at the MQM’s hands or whose near and dear ones were scarred or consumed in the flames of its various houses of torture? The reaction to these stories must also be one of shame. Was it not known far and wide that the MQM leaders had almost made a godhead of terror, using it to sustain their political hegemony in Karachi and, more darkly, to destroy their opponents, especially from amongst the Mohajir community, who were reckless enough to oppose their practices. The worst sufferers, of course, were those who were guilty of intra-party dissent. All this and more was known about the MQM but a conspiracy of silence surrounded its activities because those who should have spoken out were either afraid of the consequences or they were vying for the MQM leaders’ support and thus conniving at whatever they did. Since charity should begin at home, it must be said that in the first category falls the Karachi-based Press which was afraid to write a word about the MQM’s widely suspected atrocities. Events which were common knowledge were not reported because the price for doing so in Karachi, when MQM dominated the city’s skyline, had become very high.

There were one or two people (no more) belonging to the Press who did speak up. All the more honour to them because the path they chose was lonely and frightful. Then there were a few others who, though not overly defiant, refused to surrender, thus often inviting the wrath of the little tin gods of the MQM. Yet a far greater rank was made up of those who for political considerations humoured the MQM and its volatile chief. It also includes the highest functionaries of the state who not only tolerated but actively encouraged the MQM because it served their political interests. Successive dispensations—some visible, some not so visible —backed the MQM because its support was crucial for them in the Sindh Assembly or because its street power was considered vital in neutralising other political forces. No matter that the MQM was running torture cells and drilling holes through real or perceived enemies. No matter that it was holding not only Pakistan’s largest city to ransom. So long as it was on their side, they could not care less about anything else. The state (for which read the army) has woken up to the enonnity of this situation but "rather belatedly. Between the MQM’s rise to prominence and its present troubles, the things that were allowed to happen in Karachi brand with infamy not only the MQM but a large part of the country’s leadership. It will not be easy to wash away these ugly stains.

Having said as much, there are a few additional things that need to be said about the current army operation in Karachi. First of all, the army must not take sides. To achieve its tactical objectives, it must not encourage or tum a blind eye to the actions of the so-called MQM dissidents. Those who stand accused of heinous crimes, regardless of their political affiliations, should be hauled up without favour of discrimination. It would be ironic and cruel if one set of goons in the MQM is replaced by another set of leaders who, as is widely suspected, were till yesterday (that is, before they broke away) important cogs in the MQM’s machine of violence and terror. If this is a clean-up operation let it be thorough and comprehensive. A very important part of this will have to be a short and swift campaign against all other terrorists, dacoits, patharidars, members of the formidable drug mafia and all those influentials who harbour such criminals. Secondly, this operation must be taken to its logical, political conclusion. Sindh must have a fully representa tive govemment that speaks for the majority of its people. This is the sine qua non for any lasting solution to its troubles. Only a representative government, with a stable and a “real” majority behind it (as opposed to the majorities that Jam Sadiq Ali was so good at conjuring up), can rise above the sordid politicking and the game of horse-trading that have defiled the politics of Sindh, brought a bad name to the present democracy and created the conditions where the forces of exploitation and oppression enjoy free play and the distraught majority of innocent people are condemned to a life of misery. Obviously this is not something that the army can or should do. It is a question that the country’s civilian leadership, not entirely blameless for what has been happening in Karachi, must address. They must rise above their prejudices and take steps leading to the creation of a representative set-up in the province. Otherwise, it will mean attacking the symptoms of the problem without getting to its roots. Scarcely a wise thing to do after all that has happened. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan

Dissident Activities Detailed [DAWN 27 Jun] 92AS1240E Karachi DAWN in English 27 Jun 92 p 5 [Article by Mahmood Zaman: “How MQM Rebels Retumed to Karachi”] [Text] Lahore, June 26—It was a hot day of May 1991 when a few joumalists of Lahore were taken, in a mysterious way, to a bungalow in Gulberg by a PPP [Pakistan People’s Party] leader driving a Pajero jeep. There, he introduced to the newsmen three MQM [Muhajir Qaumi Movement] dissidents-—Naeem Hashmat, Yunus Khan and Naeem Akhtar—who were in the Punjab to seek political support against their party’s leadership. This was the first contact of joumalists of the City with the MQM rebels who, at that time, preferred to talk off the record fearing that anything in the newspaper might land them into trouble. During about an hour-long talk, the three named Afaq Ahmad and Aamir Khan as their leaders who were still in hiding.This meeting proved to be a link between a group of mediamen and the rebel MQM leaders for many months to follow. The dissidents then had grown beards, with poorly managed dresses and torn sandals. They told us that they were living in a room near Liberty Market where there was no fan and they were also short of money to a degree that they had to skip one meal or the other. The second meeting was with Afaq Ahmad and Aamer Khan and that too in mysterious circumstances. A few journalists were on motor bikes with one leading them to the hostel of a professional educational institute. Afaq Ahmad, who was putting up with a student known to a joumalist, came out looking all around and sat on the rear seat of a motorcycle rode off to another locality. At a bungalow, Afaq Ahmad sat on the carpet with a few joumalists. But the talk was again off the record as the dissident Joint Secretary of the MQM apprehended that anything from him in the newspaper would yet be too early. The third contact was with a larger number of the dissidents at a dilapidated quarter of Nishat Colony in the Cantonment area where joumalists—now on an assignment of a formal news conference-—were led in a car by Yunus Khan through narrow lanes of the area. At one place the newsmen were asked to stop. Then they were led to a narrow street that ended on a small quarter where some of the dissidents were residing on rent.

It was for the first time that Aamer Khan was introduced by Afaq Ahmad. The last talk to the Press by the dissident leaders was at a four-star hotel where Badar Iqbal also joined on his return from the United States in March last. The joumalists witnessed that by now some of them were having mobile telephones and were riding cars and no longer required mysterious telephone calls to invite newsmen for a talk. The first seed of dissention was sown in January 1991 when Joint Secretaries Afaq Ahmad and Aamer Khan questioned for the first time at a Central Committee meeting about the allegations of corruption against some of the MQM leaders. The question of maltreatment of a few women workers was also asked and the accusation was not against any ordinary leader but directly against Altaf Husain. The information to Afaq and Aamer was provided by Vice President Zareen Majeed. This started the cleavage of confidence and one fine morning, Zareen Majeed broke after her child was abducted. During the meeting Altaf Husain hushed up the matter saying that the matter (of corruption) was a personal affair of somebody. In February 1991, both Afaq and Aamer were relieved of their offices and they, with a number of activists, whom the leadership doubted to be with the dissidents, and then Sindh Minister for Transport Badar Iqbal were “forcibly” sent to the United States. Aamer and Afaq returned from the U.S. in June after having won Badar Iqbal on their side. The same month they held a news conference in Landhi where an encounter took place causing loss of five lives. Sensing that they were no longer safe in Karachi, Aamer Khan and Afaq Ahmad left by sea to Mekran coast and reached Quetta. They were guests of Minister Sanaullah Zehri in Balochistan from where they wrote letters to leading political leaders of the ruling party as well as the Opposition and also sent them telegraphic messages apprising them of their “excesses” of the MQM leader- ship. Later, they arrived in Lahore via Dera Ghazi Khan where they were transported by govemment vehicles. While in Lahore, they first lodged themselves at Nishat Colony and as their number grew, they spread to localities like Ichhra and Rehmanpura. They were now about one hundred in number with more activists leaving Karachi. About 150 more dissidents had been staying at Data Darbar shrine at Bhati Gate where they ate food distributed by the Darbar Committee among needy and poor. One councillor and many activists were also accompanying their wives and children and were having hard time in the City. In July 1991 about 20 of them, including Aamer Khan, Yunus Khan, Naeem Akhtar and Naeem Hashmat, were arrested in a pre-dawn sweep by the Special Police. They were lodged at cells on Race Course Road. It was on a habeas corpus petition filed with the Lahore High Court that they were set at liberty after a detention of three days. Later in Lahore they contacted leaders like Minister Ejaz-ul-Haq, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, and Malik Ghulam Mustafa Khar as well as a few MQM leaders. In fact some of them were arrested from the house of a PPP activist Babu Yasin in Ichhra. It was after their release that they wrote to the President, the Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff about the MQM affairs and their plight. The Prime Minister, though not responding to them directly, had sent a message to them through a middleman advising them to do away with their activities. By March 1992, the dissidents had started arriving in Karachi. The people of Karachi might have witnessed one group of persons, some of them with masks, suddenly appearing in one busy area or another, distributing pamphlets and disappearing in a flash. This was possible because the rebel group had been able to muster enough support from among the MQM workers to indulge in a dangerous activity like that. On one occasion, a few persons were arrested by the police which was accompanying Altaf Husain men.

They were able to mobilise the Karachi people because of adequate supply of funds from Naeem Akhtar, who had been sent to the United States by the rebel leadership. They also made a brief stay in Rawalpindi during this period and from there they operated in Karachi and other Sindh cities. During their talks with journalists in Lahore, the rebel leaders had been alleging the MQM leadership of:

(1) Contacts with a few foreign states with the objective of separating Karachi from Sindh to turn the port city into another Hong Kong;

(2) Inciting the MQM workers to prepare themselves to fight against the Armed Forces;

(3) Kidnapping and torturing dissident workers on the slightest doubt;

(4) Firing on dissidents houses and intimidating their parents and other dear ones;

(5)Molesting women;

(6) Resorting to corrupt practices in government departments and private sector;

(7) Coercing well-to-do families to provide them funds; and

(8) Murder of about 100 dissident activists.

Afaq Ahmad said during a talk that dissidents’ houses were set on fire; about 2,500 of them made homeless and female relatives of another 100 activists kidnapped. He said about 70 activists had been missing for the last several months and suspected to have been killed after torture in some 100 torture cells. Afaq also said their differences started when the leadership who talked of 98 percent poor had awarded tickets to corrupt and opportunists in the 1990 polls. He also accused the leadership of amassing wealth for personal gains and blackmailing authorities and capitalists for money. He also alleged that top MQM leaders had opened accounts in certain foreign banks with millions of rupees. Now when the Army operation in urban Sindh had almost tumed the table, the dissidents appear to have consolidated their political position in Karachi and other cities of the province. Not only they are no longer gripped in the fear of the leadership, they seem to have also started political work that may ultimately benefit them.

A source close to dissident MQM leaders said that they do not want to undermine the MQM as their fight was against fascist attitude and not the basic objectives of the party. But the grievances of Mohajirs were to be redressed by political means rather than fascist tactics of tuming a whole population of millions as a hostage at gunpoint. According to sources the “Haqeeqi” group has established political authority over most of Karachi to rid the citizens of terrorism. For this they would assist the law enforcing agencies and keep on exposing the hitherto leadership’s tactics. The “Haqeeqi” MQM would in a few days make “startling revelations” about the MQM leaders’ “conspiracy against the country,” particularly their foreign contacts and bargains, the source added. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan

92AS]240G Karachi DA WN in English 27 Jun 92 p II [Article by Mazdak: “Marching To a Different Drummer”] [Text] In the wake of the highly effective and relatively painless neutralising of the MQM [Mohajir Qaumi Movement], the army has much to be satisfied about. In one dexterous stroke, GHQ and its subsidiary intelligence outfits have managed to use MQM dissidents to drive Altaf Hussain’s forces into complete disarray, while at the same time exposing his organisation’s internal weakness. Through this finely-tuned action, the army has salvaged an image badly tamished by the earlier bloody incidents in Sindh——incidents which had raised serious questions about its impartiality. By extending its cleanup operation into Karachi, GHQ has won the support of its harshest critics in Sindh, and in ridding us—temporarily at least—of the MQM menace. But while they are certainly entitled to bask in the unexpected and unusual glory of recent events, the generals would do well not to become complacent and think they have discovered a panacea for Sindh’s many problems. History shows that while the army may have managed to offer simple short-term solutions to national problems, it has invariably generated even greater crises in the longer term by attempting to impose its black and-white vision of how society should be organised.

The trouble is that civilians tend not to follow the linear path the generals have charted for them. There is no formalistic hierarchy, no chain of command that govems civil society in Pakistan: by nature, we are an anarchic bunch, marching to the beat of numerous drummers. And even then, we are usually out of step. Whenever a general with strong ambitions has usurped power, he has soon discovered that the helm of state is a  particularly slippery instrument which often fails to respond to his command. This is a far cry from the instant obedience he is accustomed to after a lifetime of receiving and giving orders. Invariably, he starts out by assuming that he will “sort out” the politicians by the simple expedient of ordering them to stand at attention and do his bidding. Alas, the reality is very different. Consider what happened to poor Yahya Khan: the besotted dictator had been persuaded by intelligence agencies that no single party would emerge with a clear majority in the 1970 elections, and that he would be able to manipulate the coalition govemment that would be formed, thus retaining the presidency and actual power. But his actions based on this estimate led inexorably to the break-up of Pakistan. ~

It is no secret that Zia and his intelligence agencies were largely responsible for the creation and arming of the MQM. They had not calculated on the massive support he received from his constituency of Mohajirs who felt vulnerable and disenfranchised. And when the MQM flexed its muscles, making and unmaking governments,the army found its creature had slipped its leash and was threatening the stability of Sindh. Thus, an organisation that had been established to counter the popularity of the PPP [Pakistan People’s Party] in the province had become a Frankenstein monster: the quick fix had become an unending and malignant cancer.
In the current context, while it is perfectly OK to use one bunch of thugs to sort out another, it is certainly not the basis for a secure political framework. As the uncertainty around the future of the Sindh govemment continues, and Muzaffar Shah and his MQM partners follow ropea-dope tactics, it would be a grave mistake for the ruling troika in Islamabad to think they can can'y on business as usual. The present dispensation in Sindh is dead, and the decent thing would be to bury it before it fouls the air

The army has to realise that simply withdrawing after pulling down some iron gates, exposing the existence of several torture cells and arresting a few hundred MQM militants is only a brief lifting of the siege. The present crisis is largely the result of the creation of the MQM and the farcical 1990 elections; the army covertly had a hand in the former, and tacitly approved the latter. By robbing a large proportion of nrral Sindhis of the right to choose their representatives, the federation‘ has alienated vast numbers of Sindhis who feel they have been denied access to power at every level. In the unseemly scramble to keep Benazir Bhutto out of power at the federal and provincial levels at any cost, all kinds of unsavoury deals were made, most notably with the MQM. Altaf Hussain and his cohorts of armed goons used their new-found blackmailing powers literally as a license to kill. While newspapers are now carrying photographs of torture cells, everybody in Karachi—very much inclusive of chief ministers Jam Sadiq and Muzaffar Shah—knew about their existence. It should be clear to the meanest intelligence-—and intelligence agency—that the present govemment in Sindh has neither the moral authority, nor the popular support to govem Sindh effectively in the crisis it is facing today. The only possible long-term solution is to hold fresh elections—at least in Sindh—-to undo the mischief caused by the rigged polls of 1990.While asking the army to insist on the steps which are the logical outcome of its ongoing action may seem contradictory to the earlier argument against military intervention, it is actually a recognition of the army’s earlier role-—in conjunction with the Presidency—in creating the current crisis. In all fairness to itself and the nation, the least it can do is to clean up the mess in Sindh it helped to create in the first place.
REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan

92ASI240H Karachi DAWN in English I Jul 92 p I5 [Article by M.H. Askari: “The MQM Phenomenon”; quotation marks as published] 65 99 [Text] The vexing enigma of the torture chambers reportedly discovered in Karachi is not that they had apparently been there all these years, under the very nose of the authority, but that those who are believed to have been responsible for establishing them should have been wooed by political elements who wished to get into power. It would be sheer naivete to believe that govemments which had been coalition partners of MQM [Mohajir Qaumi Movement] should have been unaware of the existence of the “torture chambers.” For one thing, they had a multiplicity of agencies available to them which could have been expected to know what was going on. Moreover, if there were any doubts in the matter they should have been removed at the time of the officially arranged exchange of political activists who had reportedly been subjected to torture by their rivals. The MQM first entered into an alliance with the PPP [Pakistan People’s Party] after the elections of 1988, giving rise to the expectation that the urban and rural Sindh would now be able to live in harmony and work for the development of a region which had suffered from a chronic sense of deprivation. However, the PPP, ill-advisedly, did not give MQM a meaningful share in political and economic power and the two parties became progressively estranged.

In a clever political manoeuvre, the IJI [Islamic Democratic Alliance] under the leadership of Mr Nawaz Sharif, who was the Chief Minister of Punjab at the time, capitalised on the situation and secretly entered into an alliance with MQM high command. Mr Nawaz Sharif and other top-level IJI leaders then made it a point to refer to the founder of the MQM as “Altaf Bhai,” as a gesture to emphasise that the Party had been assigned the role of Big Brother in the political arrangement. The IJ I leadership never missed an opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to the compact with MQM—tactics which paid dividends in the 1990 elections when MQM secured 28 seats in the Sindh Assembly and l4 seats in the National Assembly. With its strong presence in the Sindh Assembly, MQM became a key factor in the manipulations master-minded by late Jam Sadiq Ali, with full backing of Islamabad, to keep PPP out of power in the province, regardless of its proven electoral strength. No thought was apparently given to the inherent risk of the possible deepening of the urban-rural divide, since MQM was largely confined to major cities such as Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, and PPP managed to retain its base in the rural areas:

The possibility that ethnic Sindhis might view the Jam MQM coalition as a manoeuvre to deprive them of their share in political and economic power was apparently lost sight of. . Despite PPP’s ouster, ethnic polarisation which had already manifested itself in incidents such as the Pucca Qila clash in Hyderabad showed no signs of abating and at times assumed even uglier proportions. Dacoities, holdups and kidnappings for ransom remained the order of the day and virtually paralysed the administration, specially in the interior. But the situation more often than not was projected as one of law and order, and not attributed to the political gerrymandering which really was at its root. The clean-up operation in Sindh which started, with the help of the Army and the Rangers some three weeks ago, generally had the support of the people. The operation has had its most visible impact in Karachi where the security forces have discovered the sordid “torture chambers” and brought to light instances of terrorism which was inflicted upon people who had to suffer their fate in silence.

However, as the clean-up operation has intensified some MQM dissidents who have recently surfaced in Karachi have laid claim to MQM leadership. In some areas they managed to dislodge MQM loyalists, they have since constituted themselves into a breakaway faction of their old party, under the label of MQM (Haqiqi), and, working strenuously to extend their sphere of influence, managed to wean away some former MQM office-bearers. One may, however, add that it, in no way, redounds to the security forces’ image that the dissidents’ apparent gains in Karachi have been seen as associated with the progress of the clean-up operation. The authorities concerned have nonetheless denied that they have had anything to do with the dissidents’ activities and attributed the development to MQM in-fighting. The clean-up operation has, however, lately come up against an unanticipated development. The MQM central committee which is mostly underground has announced the resignations of its members from the Sindh Provincial Assembly and the National Assembly and, even more significantly, the dismantling of the party structure. Reports appearing in a section of the Press on Sunday claimed that MQM has disbanded all of its zones, circles, sectors and units.

The development has put into jeopardy the survival of the Sindh cabinet and unconfirmed reports already speak of Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Shah sounded out PDA [People’s Democratic Alliance] on the possible inclusion of its nominees in the provincial govemment. The MQM’s dissociation from the existing political setup will also inevitably cut into the IJI’s strength at the Centre. The dismantling of the MQM party structure has deprived the dissidents of their immediate ‘targets’; they now no longer have any MQM strongholds as the objective of their strategy to consolidate their position. In any case, their credibility to function as leaders of the Mohajirs in Sindh and fill the vacuum created after the dismantling of MQM cannot be regarded as very high. The move by the MQM central Committee is indeed a clever rear-guard manoeuvre, cutting the ground from under the feet of the dissidents and placing the IJI in a bit of a quandary. The move could also release the hard-core MQM militant cadres from any visible form of centralised discipline. The possibility of some of these cadres operating more or less autonomously on their own, creating pockets of localised influence and perhaps posing a major law and order problem, cannot now be ruled out.

At the time of writing, the outlook for Karachi is unclear and it would probably be quite some time before a clear picture would emerge. The prospects of MQM being decimated—which earlier did not seem improbable may have receded and there is even talk of MQM regaining some of its lost support because of its image of being the major loser in the clean-up operation. The former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Mirza Aslam Beg, once reportedly said that he did not respond to the PPP demand for a take-over under Article 147 at the time when Sindh was facing its worst ethnic turmoil as he did not want the Army “to be seen as chasing shadows.” Whether the security forces would now come up against a situation similar to what Gen Aslam Beg visualised may, however, be a bit premature to say. While the fortunes of MQM may presently appear to be uncertain (even though Mr Altaf Hussain has reportedly claimed in an interview in London that it would be difficult to wipe out the MQM which would prove its resilience because it is a party with mass support and had demonstrated its strength in local and assembly elections) the fact cannot be denied that the party provided the Urdu-speaking Muhajir population with leadership which was radically different from what it had traditionally been. When the party was formed in 1984 he had the moral courage to tell the Muhajirs that they alone were, by no means, the thekedars (custodians) of the ideology and of Islam and Pakistan and should strive for more mundane objectives such as equal opportunities in jobs and services. As the renowned (Sindhi) political scientist, Hamza Alavi, has pointed out, a section of Sindhi leaders and intellectuals then began to recognise that Muhajirs “are Sindhi people and must stand shoulder to shoulder with Sindhi-speakers in Sindh.” The MQM also deviated from the Muhajir’s traditional role of being pro-Centre and pro-Army and today in fact, appears to be out of favour with both. The Muhajir’s real competition for jobs and services in Sindh was not with the native Sindhis (who were themselves something of an underdog until Bhutto came on the scene) but with the migrant labour from the North.

However, at some point of time, MQM found itself in confrontation with the Sindhis (probably as a result of the machinations of certain agents provocateurs) and the picture began to change. At the commencement of the clean-up operation, there were reports that the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Asif Nawaz, is in favour of a package of political, economic and social reforms being adopted to ensure stability in Sindh. Whether such a package has been developed or not is not known. In the meantime, there is speculation that political bargaining may once again be resorted to in order to secure support for the present Sindh Government, and this could mean inducements being offered to various political parties (presumably not PPP) to patch up yet another coalition. Gen Aslam Beg in an interview has stressed the need for initiating a political dialogue to restore normality in Sindh. He has also warned against any complacency being permitted in the civil administration in the province while the Arrny and the Rangers are engaged in the clean-up. If the civil administration is not thoroughly reformed and rid of corruption, the Province could once again find itself in the grip of lawlessness after the army is withdrawn. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan

IJI Still Needs MQM 92ASI240I Islamabad THE MUSLIM in English 3 Jul 92 p 7 [Article by Zahid Ahmad Khan: “Need for Public Participation in Sindh Operation”] [Text] Barring the few disgruntled political parties and vested interests, the nation as a whole has wholeheartedly welcomed the army action in Sindh, particularly the people of Sindh who have heaved a sigh of relief. The reign of terror which had gripped the province of Sindh for a considerable period of time is perhaps over at least for the time being. The rising graph of  dacoities, burglaries, sniper firing, and kidnappings for ransom has suddenly fallen. It is heartening to see that the Pakistan Army is regularly briefing the press on the clean-up operation. The fortifications, barricades and the torture cells discovered in Karachi and Hyderabad establish that the MQM [Muhajir Qaumi Movement] had been using organised terrorism to keep down its political opponents and dissidents. There was imperium in imperio in the form of MQM in Sindh. Now that strong circumstantial evidence is there against the MQM, one hopes that no leniency would be shown to the high-ups of MQM and other political parties responsible for organised crime in Sindh, even if their political support is necessary for the survival of the IJI [Islamic Democratic Alliance] in Sindh. The survival of Pakistan is at stake, and it should  override all other considerations. REFERENCE: JPRS Report, Near East and South Asia, Pakistan 

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