I should start this post with a warning that this post comprises of my thoughts and theories about Hammad Siddiqui’s disappearance from the scene. A lot would come clearer in next 24 hours once MQM has its workers’ convention and finalizes the new office bearers. Also this post is not about how the present changes MQM is going through are actually beneficial in the long run for denizens of Karachi as PTI’s victory in NA-250 as well as its emerging as 2nd largest party in Karachi with votes running into tens of thousands in those areas where MQM thought it has 98% of vote bank is forcing MQM to reconsider how it runs Karachi.
Who was Hammad Siddiqui and what forced him to run to Dubai overnight are the questions in everyone’s mind. Hammad Siddiqui was head of MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee (KTC) and after the Rabita Committee (RC) beating he was suspended from his position. The beating of RC I have covered in detail in my earlier post Why and How Rabita Committee was beaten? So the next question is what is KTC? In short, all sector incharges of Karachi report to KTC. A brief overview of MQM’s organization structure with respect to KTC is in order. Below is an excerpt from an email/post going around on facebook attributed to different people. Whereas those people have denied that they have written it, however, the below part is more or less true.
MQM is a very well managed organization which works under a tight command and control mechanism. They have divided Karachi into number of sectors; each sector is divided into units. The first tier is called the unit. There are MQM units in every nook and corner of Karachi. Every apartment complex has one unit, and nearly on every 500 houses there is a unit. The units report to a particular sector under which they come. Each unit has a unit in-charge and other proper posts. As these guys live among us hence they know each and every house and shop that come under their supervision. The unit in-charge literally controls whatever goes within the jurisdiction of his unit. From cable person reporting to him to the SHO of that area every one obeys that unit in-charge. They snatch mobiles, get bhatta from shops, get their students cheated in exams, confiscate skins at Eid Ul Azha and collect fitra on Eidu ul Fitar. The collections from units goes into millions and collection from Karachi goes into billions on daily basis.
The units report and submit their loot to the sectors, each unit in-charge has to sit in sector on frequent basis from where they get instructions. The sectors report to Nine Zero (90 is the address of the house of Altaf Hussain in Azizabad Karachi) this is headquarter of MQM. This is the reason that within minutes they can jam Karachi as they just need to make one call from 90, the instructions go to sectors where they call unit in-charge who have complete arms and ammunition. No Karachite can stand in front of them as they easily and without mercy kill. If they want to threat someone, they write on their house wall ” Jo Qaid ka ghadar hai who mot ka haqdar hai”
Lets divide MQM into two wings for our ease. One is political wing which is involved in law making, policy research, etc. Rabita Committee is part of political wing of MQM. Then you have the non-political wing (for lack of an appropriate word). This comprises of grassroot MQM workers of Unit offices and Sector offices. These are the foot soldiers of MQM and some of them also acts as part time militants of MQM. The non-political wing for Karachi reports to KTC which is or was headed by Hammad Siddiqui.
To use an army analogy, Hammad Siddiqui commands battalions and foot soldiers and this is where the real power lies. Similar to how soldiers are loyal to their commanding officers, the workers are loyal to unit incharge who in turn is loyal to his sector incharge who in turn is loyal to Hammad Siddiqui who in turn is loyal directly to Altaf Hussain. Whereas the political wing understands the political challenges MQM faces as a political mainstream party and tries to work within the system, the non-political wing does not feel such obligation. On paper, we have two RCs one in London and one in Karachi. Then you have KTC. The way it is supposed to work is Altaf Bhai is supposed to issue instructions to RC London who should convey it to RC Karachi and who in turn should act accordingly or if the need arises issue instructions to KTC. However, in reality, RC London is a cost centre because they don’t have source of revenue. RC Karachi sits on the goldmine that is the economic engine of Pakistan. Hence, there is always a power struggle between RC London and RC Karachi.
The slogan “Jo Quaid Ka Ghaddar Hai, Wo Maut Ka Haqdaar Hai” was made for KTC people and they firmly believe in it. There is a new slogan in town Altafist i.e., people feel their loyalty is more to Altaf Hussain and not to party or its ideology as such. You can think of KTC as Altafists ie they are more loyal to their chain of command and their boss Hammad Siddiqui answers to Altaf Hussain and not to the hierarchy of political wing. Though KTC and political wing may work together but if push comes to shove, KTC will not hesitate to beat the shit out of political wing if Altaf Hussain asks them to do it as we witnessed few days ago. Political wing is aware of this and has been wary of this sword hanging over them for a long time.
Now that we have understood the basics. What happened on the fateful night was pre-arranged between Hammad Siddiqui and Altaf Hussain. However, Altaf Hussain was not ready for the blowback from RC members and the latter has as a minimum asked for removal of Hammad Siddiqui who they never liked anyway. You must be asking how come RC Karachi holds so much sway when they could be beaten so easily. Answer is that RC as they are the ones who present the liberal, progressive and secular image of MQM to the world. Secondly, the election results with PTI threatening the crown of MQM as the only representative of people of Karachi really shook things up in MQM. When Altaf Hussain finally woke up from his drunken stupor he realized that MQM’s stature is under threat and decided to shake things up and make MQM a “decent” party. So his talk about no more charity collection (also known as extortion) by MQM along with other measures is part of improving the image of MQM.
So to appease RC, Altaf Hussain had removed Hammad from the party for doing exactly what Altaf Hussain asked him to do. However, as stated above, Hammad controlled KTC and footsoldiers and if Hammad orders them, they may rebel against the party or at least the political wing and by the time Altaf Hussain wakes up from his next hangover, a new management would be in place in Karachi, though still loyal to Altaf Hussain but no intellectual depth extortionists comprising of KTC. So RC had Hammad confined to MQM HQ and had orders issues that Hammad is not to contact any of the MQM workers and vice versa.
However, the Sector Incharges etc who are loyal to him would have still tried to contact him as is human nature as they have been reporting to him for years and despise the political wing similar to what happens in corporate world where people working in profit centres despise cost centres. So to put all such efforts to rest and so that no one catches on to it that Hammad Siddiqui is under confinement or has been killed by political wing, political wing leaks the news to media channels that Hammad Siddiqui has ran off to Dubai. The news spreads on electronic as well as social media like wildfire and everyone believes it as if major dent has been made in edifice of MQM. No one has seen Hammad Siddiqui at the airport and if he had to escape, he would go to UK and seek asylum instead of Dubai etc where intelligence agencies can reach him clandestinely as well as through official channels. The question no one is asking is why would you want to let Hammad go to Dubai where he can still call on loyalty of his sector and unit incharges and cause trouble when a new setup is far from established back home.
Is this the end of Hammad Siddiqui’s career? Probably, unless he is later forgiven by Altaf Hussain and joins back as Amir Khan of MQM-Haqiqi has done. However, I think he will remain hidden from the scene long enough that a new head of KTC takes over most probably a sector incharge of one of the lucrative sectors of Karachi. Alternatively, someone from London office may be made a KTC head so that KTC still remains loyal to Altaf Hussain and keeps a check on political wing. However, once the new head of KTC has established himself and more so if its a sector incharge, it will be in benefit of new KTC head that all incharges feel loyalty to him and not Hammad anymore. If lot of time passes, and Hammad arrives on the scene again trying to assert his authority, this time it will be the new KTC head who will have Hammad killed for becoming a challenge to his authority.
Hammad may be able to join the political wing or London RC, but I think his days as KTC head and major power player in Karachi are over. I could be 100% wrong in my above prophecies and could have waited half a day to see the outcome of workers’ convention but then where is the fun in that.
I would love to hear from you of what you think of it. You can put your statements in comments section below anonymously, send me an email on the address that appears in the sidebar or create a fake twitter account and tweet to me.
Two pieces that I recommend you read but take them with a pinch of salt are
– MQM bubble about to burst (The Spokesman)
– Britain’s relationship with MQM (Pak Nationalist)
Those who are believing this is end of MQM do not understand either politics or society of Karachi. Unless some revolt takes place, MQM is on a path to restructuring on which a very detailed post is needed which if life and time permits me I will write one of these days. One also needs to understand the dynamics of politics and violence in Karachi to understand MQM which for an outsider is pretty hard to do.
Whispers on the street: Altaf Bhai has called back boys that are based in South Africa. If true, doesn’t bode well for future if city as South Africa is say where high profile target killings are planned by MQM. If its kiss and make up with Hammad at workers convention this evening. The next few weeks will be very bloody in this city.
It’s been reported in news that PPP backed People’s Aman Committee killed 16 members of MQM backed Katchi Rabita Committee in a week. Probably South African death squad is being brought back to take on Amn Committee.
WARNING: All the above forecasts are ramblings based on rumors, information from reliable sources as well as my hypotheses and should be treated as such.
- Why and How MQM was Rabita Committee beaten (2paisa.wordpress.com)
- Altaf disbands MQM’s Karachi organising committee (dawn.com)