KARACHI - MQM chief Altaf Hussain on Thursday laid the foundation of a new controversy in the country by equating his 22-year stay in Britain and acquisition of the nationality of that country to that of Quaid-i-Azam who not only carried the same document but as the governor general of Pakistan had also taken the oath of allegiance to British King George VI.In his 90-minute address to a gathering of his supporters at the Lal Qila Ground, telecast live by almost all channels, he said Quaid-i-Azam’s successors Khwaja Nazimuddin and Ghulam Muhammad had also taken the same oath.Before his speech the media came up with a variety of speculations about the possible ‘drone attack’ that the MQM leader could come up with. However, none had the wildest idea that it would be this.Reading out the wording of the governor general’s oath, the MQM chief also defended the Quaid’s act as an unavoidable legal requirement.It is unfair to infer that allegiance to another country taken just to meet a legal formality dilutes the maker’s patriotism, the MQM leader argued. “If the Quaid could do so, why Pakistanis living in other countries could not do the same?” he asked.Then he cited the examples of the PPP and the PML-N leaders to support his argument. He said PML-N President Nawaz Sharif, along with his family, stayed in Saudi Arabia for some eight years and various PPP leaders spent some 10 years out of Pakistan. But, he wondered, nobody questioned their patriotism. He said even such religious parties as had opposed the very creation of Pakistan were now regarded as patriotic.Altaf Hussain asked if the Saudi monarch would have offered him a ‘palace’ when he had left Pakistan in 1992, he would not have taken the British citizenship.Nobody, he said, would like to stay out of his country by choice. He asked his supporters if they would like him to take the first available flight back to Pakistan. In response, they said he shouldn’t. They said the reasons on the basis of which the Quaid-i-Azam had stayed in Britain were also applicable to him. The MQM chief used the same arguments to defend Tehrik Minhajul Quran Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri, who is a Canadian national. He said dual nationality did not make anyone’s loyalty to his parent country suspect. The MQM chief reiterated that his party would take an active part in the long march to be led by Dr Qadri from Lahore to Islamabad to mount pressure on the government to accept his demands.He said if in reaction to this decision the government removed the Sindh governor, who is an MQM nominee, he would not care.“We are not power hungry”.Altaf Hussain said in a coalition the partners had to digest even such decisions as were unacceptable to them. The MQM had acquiesced to many such decisions taken by the PPP leadership, and now it’s the PPP’s turn to stomach the one taken by its partner.This clearly meant that he wanted the PPP to accept the MQM’s decision to take part in the long march.Alleging that all parties talking of democracy were not democratic in their attitudes and the MQM was the only exception. This, he said, was the only party that brought educated middle class people to the assemblies in large numbers.He said feudals were part of every system, no matter what it was.The MQM believed in real democracy which started with the local bodies system. In the absence of this lowest tier of government, the system could not be called democratic.He said in case the government did not take steps for the local government system in Sindh, Urdu-speaking population would be constrained to seek the creation of a separate province. But he hastened to add that the MQM did not support the division of Sindh and the PPP should not push it to the wall.