LAHORE - The allegation aired through a BBC report on Wednesday that the MQM has been receiving money and its workers training from India has added to the problems of its chief Altaf Hussain, who has been living in self-imposed exile in London since 1992.  

He is not returning to Pakistan because of what he calls threats to his life.  A number of cases are pending against him. Whenever he said he planned to come back to Pakistan, his party leaders requested him to change his mind as his life was too valuable for them.

Maintaining that only two per cent elite had “subjugated” the 98 per cent poor, Altaf vows to work for the rights of the oppressed.  His party has been coalition partner with the PPP, the PML-N and the PML-Q of the Musharraf era.  He doesn’t see any contradiction in working with parties of different ideologies.   

Altaf had joined the All Pakistan Mohajir Students Organisation in 1978.

Then in 1984, he founded the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, which was subsequently renamed as Muttahida Qaumi Movement. The MQM had been launched with the backing of the military establishment which wanted to counter the PPP in Sindh.

The PPP was giving the then Zia regime a tough time and he wanted to keep it in limits.  For this purpose he gathered all anti-PPP elements in Sindh.

During his captaincy of the MQM, Altaf Hussain visited only once – when Mian Nawaz Sharif was the Punjab Chief Minister.

He addressed a news conference at a five-star hotel and spoke continuously for two hours and a half.  When the journalists asked him to be brief, he came up with an interesting reply. You Lahoris are not used to hearing long speeches. But you we (MQM) will come here, you will develop this habit, recalled a journalist who was present on the occasion.

Although Altaf insists that his party is for a strong and prosperous Pakistan, he appeared opposed to the partition of the Subcontinent when in 2004 he visited India and expressed his views at a seminar there organised by an Indian newspaper.

His utterances there provided his opponents ample ammunition to use against him.

Only a few months ago when a senior Karachi police official alleged that the MQM had links to RAW,entire party took exception to the remarks.

In an address to his party people,Altaf sought help from RAW. 

He asked India if they would accommodate the Mohajirs if they came there. Later it was explained that the purpose was to establish that there is no room for MQM people in India.

The MQM chief has been changing his views about the Army. At times he states the Army alone is in a position to solve the country’s problems and wants them to take over.

But recently he also assailed the Army and recalled how the Generals had surrendered to Indian forces in 1970.