So Farooq Sattar would still like to defend his leader in London, even if it comes down to sitting under the glaring sun and calling it a night. His leader, the thing called Altaf Hussain, acts like a clownish commander but surely there is more to him, than what meets the naked eye. Follow the long trail of his incendiary speeches, the devious outbursts which his underlings deny the next day with incredibly straight faces, and it is hard to miss the hate-filled and violence-ridden pattern. Doesn’t the British government know what he is up to? It obviously does.

Let’s not be naïve about it. Altaf Hussain would be behind bars in the UK for lesser crimes. The record of his speeches reeking with incitement to hatred, violence and even murder, should be enough to move such a ‘civilized’ state, one that takes special pride in its system of law and justice and civic standards, to curb his speech if nothing more. Besides, why is it taking the Scotland Yard forever to investigate the serious charges against him? They told us such things happened only in poor countries like ours. Is he just lucky? I certainly don’t think so.

In fact, it has nothing to do with luck. London and other imperial capitals blatantly provide safe havens to characters like him. They are sanctuaries for corrupt officials, dissidents and separatist leaders from all over the world, many of them orchestrating militancy and subversion back home. Nurtured to become pieces in the imperial game of chess, some of these so-called leaders are sent home to change regimes and assume powerful positions after they are done, while others are unleashed as agents of chaos and violence at appropriate times, destabilizing targeted states and strengthening the imperial narrative.

Guess where the Baloch Sardars leading a terrorist insurgency in the garb of ethnic-nationalism are holed up? Is it just a coincidence that Altaf Hussain talked about Greater Balochistan? Obviously, Altaf Hussain is not a sick and drunk old man, furious simply because things are getting out of his control. He has become a failed imperial project whose termination date is fast approaching and his handlers would like to use him to the max before they dump him. Hence, his desperate tone.

He was on the phone again last week from London, inciting his supporters in Dallas to hatred via satellite. Among other things, he asked the UN and NATO to intervene in Karachi, a city that is visibly beginning to breathe again. For a leader who claims to be the sole spokesman for the city, shouldn’t the security and peace of mind of its millions matter more than the handful of nabbed criminals and terrorists infesting his outfit? And doesn’t he know what happens in places where NATO intervenes? Let’s not make any mistake about it. His speeches are no simple rants of a defeated leader about to fade.

Along with an assortment of seemingly disparate agents and proxies of the empire, Altaf Hussain now serves mainly as a tool to project carefully crafted psy-ops against the state of Pakistan. Thanks to the recent operation, he is no longer in a position to start a civil war in Karachi anymore. With his virtual monopoly over violence in the city seriously compromised and his party in disarray and on the defensive, psy-ops is all he is good for now; manipulating the public mind through misleading speeches and fanning prejudice. Interestingly, he is failing to do even that because he’s used the same tricks too many times.

Still, it is instructive to see how his pet themes are intricately woven in the imperial script. His mohajir card and Punjabi-bashing is straight out of the divide-and-rule imperial bible. His attacks on Pakistan Armed Forces reflect the abhorrence with which his imperial masters view the institution, the only bulwark against their devious designs for the region. As the Pakistani security establishment strengthens its cooperation with China and restores the writ of the state in every part of the country, it has become an even bigger villain for the empire which needs lawless territories for its agents of chaos and violence to do their job.

His other pet themes include asking international actors and western governments to intervene in Pakistan’s internal affairs at the drop of a hat, laying the ground for the empire’s favorite game of humanitarian intervention. He also has the habit of inviting India to his help and breeding alienation among his followers from the state. After twenty years in exile, he is a perfectly carved puppet of the empire, working on auto to promote the imperial agenda. So why would the majesty’s government not protect him as long as it can?

The problem for Altaf Hussain is that, when the push comes to shove, the empire is also known to drop its agents and proxies like a hot potato, especially if they become useless or a liability. He is becoming both. He no longer has the power or credibility to hijack Karachi and files of incriminating evidence against him are piling up. The British government cannot hide behind procedural rigmaroles forever and fingers are beginning to point in its direction for harboring a hate-monger with clear links to terrorism. After all, even two-faced governments can stretch it only to a point.

In any case, he is a rusty tool now with limited utility, unlike the so-called Islamic terrorist groups spawned and supported by the empire that have turned the entire regions of Middle East and North Africa into lawless territories. Besides, the UK and its imperial cousins are trying not to alienate Pakistan completely these days, hoping to trap us in the stranglehold of their deathly embrace once again with words of praise and tokens of goodwill. Clearly, it is only a matter of time before the increasing burden of Altaf Hussain is finally dumped by the empire. The only question remaining is: What will prove to be the last straw?