LAHORE - The ongoing Rangers-led operation in Karachi will receive a serious setback in case the Muttahida Qaumi Movement joined the Sindh coalition , Mohajir Qaumi Movement Chairman Afaq Ahmed says.
With the MQM being part of the coalition , the police would not be in a position to proceed against any of its activists, no matter how serious crime committed by them. Hence, he said while talking to The Nation here, the operation being carried out for the past several months would be reduced to an exercise in futility.
The PPP and the MQM were coalition partners during 2008-2013. However, the MQM has been sitting on opposition benches after the 2013 general elections.
At present, the two parties are holding talks to explore the possibility of cooperation yet again. PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and MQM chief Altaf Hussain exchanged views on the subject and, according to former interior minister Rehman Malik, the two parties would become allies in the near future.
Mr Afaq Ahmed alleged that a large number of ‘opportunists ‘supporting’ the MQM at present as any other option would mean putting their lives at risk.
The Mohajir leader said a large number of MQM adherents felt demoralised because of the operation in Karachi . However, they would come out of depression the moment the MQM joined the Sindh coalition . After such a development the police people chasing various MQM leaders would be doing protocol duties with them.
In his assessment, the MQM leaders are divided over joining hands with the PPP or the PML-N. The central leaders want to join the PML-N-led coalition , in which case the MQM will continue to sit on opposition benches in Sindh. However, the provincial MQM leaders are more keen on becoming coalition partners with the PPP setup in Sindh, after which the MQM would have to stay as an opposition party at the Centre, Afaq Ahmed said.
He was of the view that the PML-N would not like to join hands with the MQM . At the same time, it would not like this party to become an ally of the PPP .
In such a situation, he said, it was difficult to say what change the political situation could witness in the days ahead.
Asked why the Rangers-led operation had failed to restore normalcy to what is known as economic hub of the country, Mr Afaq said as a matter of fact the operation was not being carried out whole-heartedly. Just a couple of anti-terrorism courts were working at present, which were too few to bring the criminals to justice.
Also, he said, criminals having connections with ’bigwigs’ were being shot dead, as a result of which the culpability of the top leadership could not be exposed.
Mr Afaq Ahmed said if the accused were investigated properly, many of them would confess that they involved themselves in killings on orders coming directly from Altaf Hussain, living in London since 1992. Once fingers were pointed at Mr Altaf, there would be many who would like to approach the Supreme Court with petitions for a ban on the MQM as a terrorist organisation.
He underlined the need for bringing Mr Altaf Hussain’s ‘monopoly’ of politics to an end. Otherwise, he said, the leader living in exile would continue to arm-twist the people to keep them with him.
About the MQM’s demand that the dual nationals should have the permission to contest elections at all tiers, Mr Afaq Ahmed said such an idea was not in national interest.
He argued that a dual national Pakistani could not be supposed to protect the interests of the country of his origin.
Opposing permission for a British national to contest elections in Pakistan, he pointed out that the one who was under oath even to take arms to protect the interests of the crown would not be able to do justice with his parliamentary status in Pakistan.
He said he would welcome Mr Altaf Hussain at the airport if he surrendered his British nationality and returned to Pakistan.
In response to a question, he alleged that the Muttahida leaders were keeping several weapons against one licence, which was an offence.
Mr Afaq Ahmed did not see a role for the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf in Sindh politics. In his opinion the votes bagged by the PTI in the previous general elections were not reflective of the party’s popular support as many adherents of the parties that had boycotted the polls had voted for the PTI contestants. In case all parties had contested the elections, the PTI’s tally would have been much less, he argued.
According to him, the PTI had little support in the Urdu–speaking community. Most of the PTI supporters, he said, were Pushtoons.