Musings on Pakistani social media – Part II – Liberal edition

I am so glad I went off the grid when I did as shit is really hitting the fan. My twitter timeline is depressing and when people tweet quotes from Pakistani TV talkshows transmitted after a tragedy, I wonder why do people torture themselves by tuning into them but more importantly how do they keep their sanity after listening to the bullshit that passes for discussion on evening talk shows.

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Around couple of months ago I wrote a post titled Musings on Pakistani social media-Twitter edition in which I bashed PTI calling them naive for buying the hype they themselves create on social media and believing that large number of PTI trolls and their RTs of pro-PTI material on social media will translate in to overwhelming majority at the ballot box.

Couple of years ago, one of the starry eyed supporter of PTI named Zohair Toru became famous or rather infamous for displaying such naivete:

The video went viral. Shandana Minhas’s Cafe Pyala did a post on it: The Poor, Sensitive, Hot and Bothered Revolutionaries! . The below translation of the video is picked from Cafe Pyala:

“See what is happening with our sisters and mothers in this demonstration. We are all from good families. We have come out on to the streets to raise slogans for Imran Khan. We are being beaten by our own police. They’re pushing us. We have come for a revolution, for your country. Every person here has come out of his house for this. Who would do such demonstrations in such heat [otherwise]? The police is shoving us, for what? For a foreigner? For Raymond Davis? He caused such bloodshed in Lahore and ran away to his home. See what is happening with Afiya Siddiqui. Nobody has such justice. We have all come out on the streets. Our homes have curtains too. Our women also do purdah. But when revolution requires it, every person in the home comes out on the streets. [To off camera supporter] Am I lying? I’m saying the correct thing, right? Everyone comes out. Sir, look our own police is beating us, how can we bring about a revolution? You tell me, you’re from the media. If you’re with us, only then will the revolution come about. If the police don’t beat us up, only then will the revolution come about. Now look at Imran Khan. What need does he have for this, he’s a very rich man. He’s standing up there on the stage and addressing people and even he is getting pushed around. Everyone’s getting pushed left, right and centre. This brother here, he’s totally sapped by the heat. Do we have any need of coming here?”

We all had fun with him. Garmi mein Kharaab and Inquilaab kaisay aaye ga became catch-phrases. One only needs to read the comments on Cafe Pyala post on how we (including myself) had a lot of fun at Toru’s expense.

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I have grown more mature (at least I like to think that) since then. Yesterday I tweeted this

What brought this on. If you have been following Pakistani news which I don’t much but occasionally get the pulse of the nation through my twitter TL, we are losing the counterinsurgency or counter-terrorism war with Pakistani Taliban aka TTP. Recently TTP had huge successes for example jail-breaking hundreds of their colleagues from D.I.Khan Jail, killing a serving Pakistani General and yesterday there was that despicable attack on church killing 81 people.

Subsequent to all these attacks, educated tweeps became very excited blaming everything on PTI and Imran Khan.  The outrage starts from the moment the news hits the wires till the day-end with all of the influential tweeps coming together in lambasting PTI and RTing PTI bashing posts till the time their fingers are tired from incessant tweeting or they find some other diversion in another window of their browser. The outrage is mellowed down the next day and by third day everyone has moved on.

In their excitement they forget that Imran Khan barely managed to secure enough votes to form a coalition government in KP province otherwise it was quite easy to have a different party ruling the province in KP. They also fail to notice that Imran Khan does not get the same air time on TV as before and does not wield much influence in KP (as many PTI insiders will tell you) either. Young starry eyed too-young-to-vote crowd might still look to him but that doesn’t translate into much influence either in the party nor in the government. Moreover, though he gets the majority blame for stating that we should negotiate with Taliban before we take the full-court-press offensive against them, an All Parties Conference was called and it was agreed by all stakeholders (right wing, secular, military) that negotiations with Taliban to be given a chance.

The [interior] minister said that leaders of all the major political parties were on the same page with regard to national interests. He said that it was a good omen that all the leaders have shared their views and ideas for bringing peace in the country and no personal or party agendas were pushed during the meeting. He said that the resolution adopted by the APC was an outcome of the consensus not only among political leadership but also the military leadership. He hoped all political and military leaders would continue to join hands for national interest and hopefully the security situation would improve by leap and bounds. He also mentioned that the attitude of the military leadership encouraged political leaders to move towards peace process and initiate negotiations with Taliban.

But if one logs on to facebook or twitter, it is as if Imran Khan alone is spearheading the negotiations and all the other stakeholders including military are against it. A friend’s status update:

Then there was this

I am not reproducing here what was and is being said on twitter. The crux of it is that “it is all Imran Khan’s fault and 140 characters are not enough to express my outrage”.

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Musharraf and his supporters were also equally naive believing that social media represents the ground realities. Wusatullah Khan did a brilliant piece on it

اگلے پانچ برس تک جب سیّد صاحب دیارِ غیر میں پاکستانی جمہوریت کے فروغ میں اپنے مدبرانہ کردار پر روشنی ڈال ڈال کے شل ہوگئے تو انہیں دوبارہ سے بے یقینی کے گدلے ساحل پر پھنسے ہوئے پاکستان کو صاف پانیوں میں دھکا دینے کے لیے ٹگ بوٹ بننے کا خیال آیا۔ مگر اس وقت تک اپنوں کے ہی زخم خوردہ سیّد صاحب کے پاس ذاتی مقبولیت کو جانچنے کا صرف ایک ہی پیمانہ بچا تھا یعنی فیس بک۔ چنانچہ انہوں نے چار لاکھ فیس بکیوں کی نیک تمناؤں کے سہارے دو دفعہ ملک میں خمینی اور بینظیر سٹائل میں اترنے کی دھمکی دی۔ ایک آدھ ٹیلی وڈیو جلسے کے ذریعے درجہ حرارت ناپا۔ اپنی مقبولیت کو جمع تقسیم کیا اور خود کو بدلے بدلے سے پاکستان میں دھکا دے دیا۔

جب وہ کراچی میں اترے تو لاکھوں انٹرنیٹیوں میں سے تقریباً ایک سو کے ٹھاٹھیں مارتے سمندر نے والہانہ استقبال کیا۔ مگر سیّد صاحب نے واپسی کی فلائٹ بک کرانے کو ایک بانکے کمانڈو کی روایتی شان کے خلاف سمجھا اور بلٹ پروف جیکٹ پہنے پہنے عمارت در عمارت گھومتے گھماتے عدالتی کمرے میں جا نکلے اور پھر بطور سلطان راہی مثالی حاضر دماغی سے کام لیتے ہوئے مشینی گھوڑے پر سوار وہ بہادرانہ پسپائی اختیار کی کہ اپنے ہی گھر کی جیل میں پہنچ کر دم لیا۔

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The people expressing outrage on twitter are not dumb and their anger is justified at the way things are moving in Pakistan. However, these were the very people who made fun of Zohair Toru and other such supporters of PTI for experiencing the reality for first time by stepping out of their air-conditioned homes, away from facebook and feeling the heat and police shoves (they had yet to face the police baton or rubber bullets but I think that is too much a price to pay for Inquilab for PTI supporters). The same people also made fun of PTI supporters’ love of social media saying that they have already elected Imran Khan as Prime Minister of Facebook Pakistan (I am guilty of this as well). However, my twitter timeline of last two weeks show that they are no better than PTI supporters when it comes to believing in non-existent power of social media.

The twitter revolutions and Taksim protests that were organized using Twitter gave this Pakistani “elite” (in terms of the strata of society they represent) tweeting class a delusion that protesting on twitter matters. It might matter in Arab countries where the press is not free and one is not allowed to criticize government in public or even very carefully in private. In Pakistan, the press is very vibrant and free and full of criticism of government. The amount of (deserving) criticism that was directed at previous PPP government was unprecedented. I don’t think even the current government much less military can absorb such criticism. But I digress. My point is the role of twitter in the aforementioned protests was to allow people to organize physical protests and express their anger and frustration at the government or at the prevailing affairs. The protests were not limited to tweeting about it. They organized protests using twitter, went to protests and then tweeted about it.

In our case, it has been two weeks yet our tweeps are limited to tweeting their outrage on the APC resolution, killing of major General and since yesterday on killing of innocents in a church. Not a single one of them has gone out or even suggested to go out and record their protests/anger/frustration before their political representatives or even at the local press clubs.

Despite knowing better, they are displaying a character which is epitome of naivete, the very character that they made fun of in Zohair Toru. This is why I said that Zohair Toru was better. He may be confused, naive, ignorant but at least he went out, away from his PS3 or keyboard or whatever the rich boys do, in the summer heat to stand up for what he believed in.

[UPDATE]

From Dawn:

The bloody attack was a reality check for the coalition partners of PTI, including Qaumi Watan Party and Jamaat-i-Islami. The ministers and MPAs fearing backlash could not dare to visit the LRH for almost three hours after the incident to console the angry mourners and ensure timely treatment of the wounded. There were no arrangements at the official level to provide coffins. Thanks to Al Khidmat Foundation which arranged about 100 coffins for packing bodies.

Al-Khidmat is charitable wing affiliated with the right wing Jamaat-i-ISlami, coalition partner in KP government.

What have left leaning people done except for tweeting to like minded people on twitter going to achieve?

Musings on Pakistani social media – Twitter edition

Caveats: I want to highlight four facts before you read this unstructured rant.

1. My political views are what are termed as “political islamist” or just “islamist”. So my observations and inferences that I have derived from them may be colored by those views.

2. The period I am covering here is from pre-May 2013 election till now.

3. I follow around 250 people on twitter and in addition say they Retweet (RT) 50 other people regularly so in effect my observations are based on tweets of total of 300 people

and most importantly, as brought to attention by one commentator,

4. I am generalizing here i.e., brushing with broad strokes. Its just a high level view of my observations.

Pre-election period

PTI by appealing to educated and plugged-into-social-media youth had really taken off and had become a formidable foe by engaging the disengaged youth. Other parties also took to twitter and facebook but one has to admit that PTI had the strongest presence on social media before the election. How they abused this position and how it ultimately fooled them into believing that being a majority on social media means being a majority in the parliament is covered by others extensively so I will not dwell on that.

All parties in Pakistan have an element of cult in them. Most people follow these parties not for the values or manifestos they have presented but because of their leaders. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has always been a cult of Bhutto on a national level, but under Zardari it has become a Sind regional party.

Supporters of PML-N mainly follow it for the Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif but its more of a personality following rather than a cult. The only party that is not a cult is probably Jamat-e-Islami but its too small a party. We also have Awami National Party (ANP) leadership of which remains in the ahl-e-bait of its founder Baacha Khan. But in relative terms, these parties are open to or at least tolerant of criticism of their actions as well their leaders.

On the other extreme, we have Muttahida Quomi Movement (MQM) a party of urban Sind headed by self-exiled leader Altaf Hussain. The cult eader status bestowed to him is extra-ordinary. They are highly intolerant of criticism and no newspaper which has offices or circulation in Karachi will dare to criticize them.

However, they failed to understand the impact of social media mainly twitter. MQM didn’t appreciate the fact that twitter allows people to express their frustrations and criticisms anonymously something which the general public couldn’t do on print and electronic media without fear of reprisal from MQM. So in of absence any criticism in public sphere, MQM fooled themselves into believing that people of Karachi will vote for them out of fear or will remain at home. However, quite a large number of people in Karachi were fed up with MQM and wanted to vote PTI (as no other party reached out to them or even talked to them) but when the voters reached polling stations, in some cases they weren’t allowed to vote, their vote had already been cast, or in some places MQM workers were filling ballot boxes with fake votes and at some places they strong armed the polling station staff to not reach the polling station on the allocated time_a fact which came to light in voting of national assembly seat from Karachi NA-250. MQM presumed that like earlier times people will take this silently. Surprisingly, people refused to be cowed down and in certain cases took to streets (which would never have happened earlier).

For MQM this was a first i.e., ordinary people protesting against them openly. They were at a loss as to how to counter this onslaught and it led to a few faux pas speeches by their leader Quaid-e-Tatheer Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai. (I have covered these  here “MQM’s reign of terror post elections 2013″ and “Why and How MQM Rabita Committee was beaten”). On the social media front, MQM was totally ill prepared for the criticism and abuses that started against them. People who would normally be discrete in their criticism of MQM even privately as they live and work in areas surrounded by MQM supporters took to criticizing MQM openly on Facebook where you are not anonymous. On twitter, frustrated Karachiites tagged MQM representative and became abusive towards them, towards MQM but most importantly towards Quaid-e-Tatheer Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai. MQM was not at all prepared for this barrage of criticism. This post “Social Media Strategy of MQM” makes it pretty clear how MQM deals with criticism generally and how trying the same tactics on social media actually backfired. Later they created a lot of fake accounts to tweet favorable news and occasionally create and tweet a lot of hashtags to get MQM related topics to trend such as #united4Altaf #onlyAltaf yesterday but its safe to say that MQM is still not able find its bearings on twitter. (For some twitter humor -> “Altaf Hussain and Titanic”)

The party that made the most use of social media pre-election was PTI led by former cricketer and philanthropist Imran Khan. The cult leader status that the supporters bestowed to Imran Khan was comparable to cult status of Quaid-e-Tatheer Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai amongst MQM supporters. PTI supporters would not tolerate any criticism of PTI much less Imran Khan and would stoop down to hurtling abuses to anyone daring to criticize or even trying to give suggestions to change their policies/manifestos etc. They earned the name “PTI trolls” as they would come down together on any journalist or analyst on twitter. They also created fake accounts of journalists/analysts and tweeted positive propaganda with respect to PTI and with respect to opponents, they spread malicious propaganda. This is what a fake account of, Jang/TheNews journalist and anchor of GEO TV program Jirga, Saleem Safi tweeted most probably operated by a PTI troll on election day. Tweets have since been deleted but I took a screenshot of them.

This and similar other tweets from other fake accounts upset Saleem Safi so much that he wrote a whole column in Urdu about it

I am having fun with it

Post Election Period

Once the elections were held, it was hard for PTI supporters to fathom that despite having such a huge presence on social media, how come the outcome was not what they desired. They went into denial mode claiming mass scale rigging. Absence of Imran Khan from the scene due to his fall from the lifter two days before the election also meant that there was no leadership to guide them. PTI was a major force in urban centres but failed to make any headway in suburbs and rural areas. As such, when the results showed that masses didn’t vote overwhelmingly for PTI, PTI supporters stooped to calling general public Jaahil (ignorant). You have to understand that these voters of PTI were mainly first time voters and educated elite of Pakistan who had never bothered to vote earlier and credit goes to Imran Khan for engaging them. They were teachers, professionals, businessmen, corporate CEOs and consultants educated from best Pakistani and western universities but they couldn’t take the loss at ballot box and still could not come to grips with the fact that a vote of someone living in rural area or not as highly educated as them or as successful as them is equivalent to their vote. There is a wonderful website which collected unquotable gems from these Harvard, Wharton, IBA, LUMS etc educated youth on social media. Do visit it Public shaming #Pakvotes as it will give you some insight into their mindset. A wonderful essay in this regard that I cannot recommend enough is The Disadvantages of Elite Education by William Deresiewicz, which is a must read.

Now that PTI has its government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, focus of PTI trolls has shifted to actions of their own government and there is significant reduction in their social media trolling. Probably they too have realized that this trolling is actually destroying the little goodwill that they have left, if any.

Lets move to the other intelligentsia we have on social media. These are the so called English speaking journalists and analysts on twitter and can be described as left-of-centre in their leanings and probably hate PTI for its rightist leanings. They also despise the general public of Pakistan as when it comes to issues such as terrorism etc, general public leans right. They are best described in the following tweet

Pakistan especially KPK is facing a lot of terrorism. One such day was yesterday wherein a Terrorists strike in Quetta, Peshawar, NWA

As many as 49 persons, including security personnel, lost their lives and over 100 others sustained injuries in separate incidents of terrorism in Quetta, Peshawar and North Waziristan on Sunday.

Now if one followed the intelligentsia tweets yesterday, it was all outrage. There was empathy for victims but that was also a tool to express outrage. Outrage against terrorists? No. Outrage against PTI (as they rule in KPK) as well as common man as he is not fully behind the army in this War on Terror or because the common man opposes the Drone strategy

The above are a sample most read journalists/writers in English press of Pakistan and all they have to offer is to blame the common man or blame Punjab. The above is just a sample. Yesterday, my timeline was filled with such useless outrage from morning till night. It is not as if we are not fighting this war. We have been fighting this war for last 10 years. Here is a good piece of research Numbers of Terror on the myths propagated by these journalists in terms of number of people killed and as if our army is not fighting this war.

Twitter has widened the schisms in our society. These journalists consider the rest of the population as illiterate or unenlightened, it has actually polarized the society with the result that if these journalists/analysts/”though leaders” decide to bandy behind a particular issue, the rest of population believes there is a hidden agenda. Like PTI trolls and supporters, by just promoting their own causes and belittling the causes that the rest of the population wants to stand behind, they polarize the society. What they think is satire is actually read as affront by common man.  They don’t try to listen to other viewpoint or convince him of their arguments rather shove their views down common man’s throat. As such, common man refuses to listen to them and runs in opposite direction. As such, we all have our pet projects and causes which are mutually exclusive rather opposites. They are pro-drone, common man is anti-drone. The people who the common man have voted in want to use negotiation with Taliban as part of overall strategy because fighting them for last 10 years hasn’t resulted in any gains as far as common man knows so these people make fun of common man, his thinking, leave no opportunity to snark at it and consequently want nothing to do with negotiations. This polarization manifested itself clearly in case of Malala attack. The innocent minor girl faced a barbaric attack by Taliban. However, the vehemence with which the aforementioned journalists/analysts/thinks took up her cause and displayed their outrage actually distanced the common man from her. Whereas she needed the whole nation to stand behind her, the constant point scoring by our “intelligentsia” made sure that common man believe that she is part of some larger conspiracy or hidden agenda.

The intelligentsia continues to blame Zia ul Haq for creating this confused nation but they have only themselves to blame. Zia has been dead for more than 25 years. A whole generation has been born and grown up during this time. What have they to show for this 25 years to correct Zia’s wrongs? A few columns blaming Zia. 25 years down the line they will still be blaming Zia and all they will have to show for their efforts will be their satirical and hate filled columns, blogs and tweets. Lot of good they are doing.

Below is one of my sunni bias manifesting itself

Getting 100 people killed in a fortnight is a genocide of Karachiites. But we take it in a passing. 12 people were killed in Karachi day before yesterday. But a lot of people only feel outraged when its someone from minority because it allows them to push their agenda whatever that is.

This is till 1155am today: Karachi: Six killed in violent incidents, police encounter today. Only half a day has passed. Assuming pattern continues, around 12 will be killed today, which is a number equivalent to people killed in a bomb blast. But bomb blasts happen once a week or twice. However, this many people keep on dying on streets of Karachi everyday yet there is no outrage in any quarter.

A brilliant, thoughtful and well-structured read on selective outrage that we as a society show is Death of a Nation. Its a must read.

Why and How MQM Rabita Committee was beaten

[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.

Adnan Asim's Karachi City. 3 Talwar ( Swords )...

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.

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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.

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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.

UPDATE 1:
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.

UPDATE 2:
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

Altaf Hussain : An Invisible Philanthropist – Picture from the Archives

For quite a lot of people it’s very hard to understand sacrifices of Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain_ the reason he gets such undying loyalty from his people.

He lives for his people and in turn they live for him.

As he stated in his speech to workers on May 19th, 2013 he has never sought any office. He never ran after such positions as minister, governor or even a counselor.

All his struggle has been for the well being of his people. He has been so selfless in this that all the works he has done, he never asked anything to be named after him.

No project bears his name. It is because of his explicit wish as he doesn’t want to be remembered by name of buildings, roads or projects. He wants to be remembered in hearts and in prayers.

Best example is the ambulance service he started. Like other charity healthcare services providers who named their services after their castes, family names or their parents for example, Edhi, Saylani, Chipa, Shaukat Khanum etc , Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai could’ve easily named it Altaf Hussain Mayyat Service or Altaf Hussain Ambulance Service and no one would have objected to it but it was his love for his people that Quaid e Tehreek dedicated his brainchild to the people thus naming it Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation.

Below is the picture of Quaid-e-Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai inaugurating such service in 1990 while others were still playing around and philandering.

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Altaf Hussain : King of Hearts – Picture from the Archives

Educated people are baffled that how Altaf Hussain can demand such loyalty and hold such sway over people.

Since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, there hasn’t been a leader who is culturally sensitive to his audience. He talks in the language they understand.

When he calls on feudals, he addresses them as “aye zameendara”, 

when he talks to burger bachchas, he uses the Thundercats allegory of a sword

,

with the journalists he uses a different tone

or

and when he talks to his workers,

 well, you get the drift.

But cultural sensitivity of Quaid e Tehreek is not defined by his talk alone. He walks it as well. It is evident in his mannerisms. In 1981, he visited Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with Rauf Siddiqui. The picture below though is undated but would have been taken around the same time. Talking with Arabs, he adopted their mannerisms. Don’t think any one till then or has ever since did this.

Quaid e Tehreek Pir Altaf Hussain Bhai – King of Hearts

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Deed Apne Thi Use Khwahish
Aap ko har tarah bana dekha

Kahin abid bana kahin zahid
Kahin rindon ka peshwa dekha

Kahin woh dar libaas-e-mashooqan
Bar sare naaz aur ada dekha

America’s War on Terror

There was a time that a healthy skepticism to US fed propaganda was considered OK. Now if anyone says anything against it, he or she is considered fundo, pseudo-intellectual, out-of-touch etc. The most recent article that has been receiving such criticism is Imran Khan’s in Guardian where he rightly called the current war on terror in Afghanistan as America’s war.

Is there any doubt left that this is America’s war? One may find some justification for attacking Afghanistan post 9/11 but attacking Iraq under the same premise was a war crime as to date they haven’t found any evidence of weapons of mass destruction nor a link between al qaeda and saddam’s regime and the western media might say that Iraqis are better off but the daily bombing and killings in Iraq have made them worse off that during than Saddam’s time. Moreover, since we tend to forget, in the last ten years of Saddam thousands of people died not because of his policies but US sanctions on supplying food and medicine to Iraq. I am not justifying Saddam’s rule here just recalling a bit of historical facts which in the current media frenzy we all seem to forget.

US had a hard time convincing its European and NATO allies to come to Iraq and in the end US went in with its poodle UK only based on a “sexed up” dossier that was presented to UK parliament. Even Musharraf had agreed to send Pakistani troops to Iraq and it was only the protests by our religious parties in the Assembly (their own will or backdoor pushing by Army who knows) that we didn’t send our men to get killed in Iraq. [for the naives, google the news and you shall see]. Anyway, the men we saved by not going on an adventure in Iraq, we are killing in war with Talibans.

Regarding calling America’s war in Afghanistan “our war” is a mistake only the liberal elite and ex-military idiots of this country make. Because our Chief of Army Kiyani does not consider this war “our war” and he is just wasting our men and resources till Americans leave and they will leave so that he can against implement the Pakistan Army’s plan of “strategic depth”.

I am not making this up. Here is General Kyani (the end savior of liberals) in Washington Post.

The two countries’ “frames of reference” regarding regional security “can never be the same,” he said, according to news accounts. Calling Pakistan America’s “most bullied ally,” Kayani said that the “real aim of U.S. strategy is to de-nuclearize Pakistan.”

The above article is to be read in full to realize the the double face of our army which is getting our people killed on both sides (Army and the people it is fighting).

Now if General Kiyani talks like this, no wonder the man on the street is right to believe that US is after our nuclear weapons.

So if I get it straight, Kiyani is fighting as long as US is there and will change strategy once US leaves the scene. To me it clearly seems the case that Pakistan Army believes that it is America’s war on terror and will make a U-turn as soon as US leaves.