What started as a speech by Altaf Hussain for his party’s protesters outside the press club on Monday, quickly turned into a diatribe against the country and then led to supporters of the party marching to the office of ARY News and causing harm to both life and property in the process. MQM leaders in Karachi were unwilling or unable to reign in their supporters, and the schism between MQM supporters, and those that support Mr Hussain directly is becoming more obvious by the day.

The MQM’s current predicament has come about through no one’s fault but its own. This is not to say that each member and supporter of the party needs to be painted as a villain, but allowing for Altaf Hussain to speak unfettered has all but destroyed the party. Him asking for not “cutting MQM from the national mainstream” when the night before, suspected MQM workers were attacking ARY’s offices at his behest is ironic in the extreme.

The party has won no new friends or supporters after yesterday’s events, and Altaf Hussain’s speech has blurred the lines between well-meaning political party workers, their parliamentary leaders and any violent elements that still exist within. The problem is that no one can really tell them apart, and while a member of the National Assembly being picked up by the Rangers is unsettling to see, it is set off by the fact that the man he used to take orders from up until Monday has made statements that are utterly outrageous, and have to be taken off air for fears of inciting public unrest.

Political experts had often wondered when and how Mr Hussain would go too far, and it seems openly calling Pakistan “a cancer for the world” did the trick. The rest of the country has often found his statements shocking and unsettling, and thankfully, this time, MQM was of the same opinion, as in the press conference following his release on Tuesday, Farooq Sattar and others in the MQM leadership distanced themselves from their London chapter, and stated that decisions would be made from Pakistan moving forward. One thing that is certain is that the Mohajir vote bank has now been broken along four lines; MQM (Under Farooq Sattar), Altaf Hussain, Pak-Sarzameen Party and MQM(Haqiqi).

It’s not like seditious or treasonous remarks can be struck off public record through a simple apology, but if MQM wants to stay in the political mainstream, Altaf Hussain – a man who has only fractured the party he heads – can no longer take part. If the MQM does this successfully, we might bear witness to better times in the future for the party. However, the utterly unprecedented statement of Farooq Sattar might not be taken too well in the London chapter, and if Altaf Hussain’s previous record is anything to go by, MQM might not be rid of him so easily.