[All updates will be at the end if this piece]
All the videos shared below are found on my earlier post Altaf Hussain : King of Hearts so apologies to those who were expecting newer material. The purpose of this post is to try to make sense of the events that led up to Rabita Committee being beaten.
Altaf Hussain had been making drunk speeches recently. According to my Dad, he has been making speeches after drinking cheap kachchi vodkas, which created an impulse in me to probe my dad further as how he came to know about side effects of cheap vodka but I digress.
He has always been a joker whenever he made those live performances (to call them anything other than “performances” such as speech etc would be dishonesty) and one can find tens of such video on youtube, however, for our current discussion it all started when Altaf Hussain threatened PTI protestors staging a dharna aka sit-in (or dharni according to MQM who claim Dharna comprises of a very large crowd) at Karachi’s Teen Talwaar roundabout against irregularities in polling of NA-250 National Assembly seat.
It was a peaceful dharna mainly comprising of upper class kids who before these elections and appearance of Imran Khan on political scene of Pakistan had been apolitical and had never really felt the terror of MQM like the people who live in middle class and lower class areas of Karachi. In his live speech to the protestors, Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai threatened these protesters that he will let loose his workers on them who will cut them up with swords.
Normally, it would have been enough to shut Karachi down. But the so-called youthias (a play on “youth” supporters of PTI) of PTI may not be politically savvy but they are social media savvy. And since Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai made this speech on live TV which all channels under instruction from MQM showed live, this really fired up the social media.
In subsequent days, PTI staged protests in different middle class areas of Karachi (which were about apparently polling irregularities but implicitly against MQM as MQM was the one party mainly engaging in irregularities in Karachi) such as Gulshan, North Nazimabad, Sharae Faisal which would have been unthinkable before the Teen Talwar protest.
Anyway, after the sword remarks by Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai, Rabita Committee (RC) goes into damage control mode. Raza Haroon comes on TV and explains that in Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai’s speech, sword was an allusion to three swords on the eponymous Teen Talwar Roundabout inscribed with founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s words Unity, Faith and Discipline. To anyone who has heard Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai’s speech this seemed absurd but you have to admit, it was the best they could come up with in short time. Anyway, it became a butt of jokes on social media.
Couple of days later, Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai has a live press conference with journalists where he threatens the journalists and ECP:
It was becoming too hard for RC to control the damage that Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai was doing to himself and consequently to MQM.
Then tragedy strikes. One night before the repolling has to take place in NA250 and which MQM had boycotted, PTI office bearer Mrs. Zehra Shahid is gunned down which police immediately describes us mugging gone wrong and everybody else i.e. witnesses and media described as a case of targeted killing.
When news reaches Imran Khan leader of PTI, he releases a statement from his hospital bed, where he was being treated for spinal injury after his fall, that he holds Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai directly responsible for her murder and also holds British Government responsible for allowing Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai to run his party and killings from London.
Despite it being an open secret that MQM has a militant wing and it engages in targeted killings on behalf of MQM as well as hires out its services to other local and international agencies, and whereas other parties do claim in their protests and publication that MQM has terrorized the city, it was the first time that Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai was reported by all the 24 hour news media as well as international media as being called a murderer and consequently running a terrorist organization.
MQM who has always controlled media with an iron hand was at taken aback as never any adverse news about MQM has been released in media as MQM has the ability to shut down channels as well as physically threaten their workers and journalists in Karachi. MQM was not prepared such a serious allegation which was “heard around the world”.
Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai wanted to make another live televised address to counter this allegation but RC stopped him saying that RC will take care of it. RC called a press conference and condemned Imran Khan for making a baseless allegation and later on also stated that they will send Imran Khan a Rs.50 Billion defamation suit.
However, Altaf Bhai was not satisfied with Rabita Committee’s statement and instead of calling the audience through RC (normal procedure) sends out an announcement of his speech to workers the same night by directly announcing it through electronic media.
The speech is made around 4 in the morning allowing workers to congregate as his announcement was sent out very late. In a performance worthy of Oscar award, Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai ended his speech by asking his workers that RC did nothing when Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai’s honor was challenged, will you, the workers, also will also remain quiet. Egged on by Hammad Siddiqui, workers get fired up and stand up.
We all know what happened afterwards. You can hear Farooq Sattar’s voice over the speaker in the end where he is pleading with the enraged workers “maafi maang to rahay hain hum”.
Not many people know this but Altaf Hussain when he was still in Karachi had Farooq Sattar beaten “aik joota fi kas” i.e., every worker was asked to beat him with one boot each. At the time, Farooq Sattar was trying to wrangle for more control in MQM and may be trying to weaken influence of Altaf Bhai.
In this beating, Babar Ghori’s clothes were torn, Raza Haroon received facial injuries and that is the reason he is not coming on media since then. But worst was reserved for Wasay Jalil. Altaf Bhai said “issay itni zor say joota maro ke mujhay yahan tak awaz aaye” (beat him so hard with a boot that I can hear the voice over the line [here in London]).
The workers are part of Karachi Tanzeemi Committee (KTC) i.e. organizing committee. It is headed by Hammad Siddiqui
who is younger brother of MQM former MPA Adil Siddiqui. All the Unit Incharges and Sector Incharges report to Hammad Siddiqui and all MQM workers report to their respective unit incharges. So when workers beat RC members, it is said that Hammad had them beaten because RC and Hammad/KTC didn’t see eye to eye.
However, this doesn’t take away the fact Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai was listening while the beating was going on and didn’t stop it. In an effort of damage control for public consumption, all the workers who had participated in beating RC members were asked to submit written apologies next day.
Later that day workers convention is held wherein media is barred from reporting live. Through a press release it is made know that due to not following party discipline, Hammad Siddiqui-head of KTC is removed and KTC is dissolved. Hammad Siddiqui is being made a scapegoat here as Altaf Bhai was well aware when the beatings were going on.
However, RC being a public and positive face of MQM needed to be appeased and this what they asked for as a minimum as they wouldn’t dare ask for abdication of Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai.
Hammad Siddiqui is paying a heavy price for showing the exact loyalty that Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai demands from his workers. His membership of MQM has been cancelled and he has been barred from making any contact with workers and workers have been barred from making any contact with him.
Situation on ground is very fluid right now. Arrival of PTI has shaken MQM to the core and they are going on a major rebranding exercise. RC both in London and Karachi have just been dissolved. It could be that RC Karachi was rebelling. There is also a tussle between RC Karachi and RC London. Former MQM MPA Tariq Javaid is back in town from London and it was earlier presume he will take over reins of KTC. The new organization structure will emerge from MQM worker’s convention set for 25th May 2013. If time and life permits, will write another post on how and why this rebranding is just a facade.
All news media reporting that Hammad Siddiqui has left for Dubai. MQM has placed a ban in media since above events to not report anything without their permission. This means that news about Hammad leaving for Dubai is released by MQM themselves causing one to doubt its veracity. There are whispers that Hammad is being kept underground at safest place in Karachi ie MQM HQ Nine Zero in Azizabad.
If you want to know how deep is MQM entrenched in security apparatus of Karachi, read this amazing piece on murder of GEO network journalist Wali Khan Babar – Roots of Impunity
- Wikileaks : Gangs of Karachi (2paisa.wordpress.com)
- MQM stages protests against Imran in Karachi and Hyderabad (dawn.com)
- Altaf Hussain : King of Hearts – Picture from the Archives (2paisa.wordpress.com)
- Altaf disbands MQM’s Karachi organising committee (dawn.com)
- Altaf Hussain slams PTI leader’s murder (nation.com.pk)