Chided Altaf ditches hopeless Qadri; a welcome omen for polity
By Muhammad Akram
LAHORE: An unstated alliance of mainstream and regional political forces for change in the system through progression of democratic process appeared to have succeeded in further isolating the Tehreek Minhajul Quran (TQM) sponsored ‘long march’ slated for January 14 to Islamabad with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) choosing to ditch its pristine ally despite commitments from its exiled chief made less than 12 hours ago.
A serious blow as it was by all means from a ‘leader’ in a prolonged self-imposed exile to another dual national from Canada trying his luck with the help of unaccounted for millions of rupees for a cause that has lost the last of its taker in the political arena.
The flip flop from MQM was not new as was Tahirul Qadri’s coming on the political scene after regular intervals with multi-million in pocket to spend on a cause parallel to the common wisdom or to project his person alone rather than rendering any good to the polity at large.
The TQM’s proposed long march to Islamabad this time around was said to the extent of undermining the consensus electoral reforms made through 20th amendment to the constitution for an interim set up devised by parliament alone with no input or dictates from the establishment.
The TQM’s shilly-shally and misplaced agenda that it presented on December 23 and gained some currency initially for the massive rally at Minar-e-Pakistan and its attracting support from at least two of government allies was rendered ineffective by media and civil society at the first place and then by all the political forces eying elections as the only mean of salvation of the polity.
The gradual erosion of the support to TQM’s long march was also reflective of the increasing ineffectuality of the non-democratic forces that said to be behind it largely because of the political forces appeared determined not to become a tool in their hands for destabilisation of the system.
This ineffectuality was largely been attributed to the real stakeholders in the democratic system with the main opposition in parliament, the PML-N, playing the lead role while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said to be the most vulnerable party on this count for its erstwhile hobnobbing with the establishment proving the last straw on the camel’s back.
The role of political forces such as Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami and nationalist parties from Sindh and Balochistan, all bitten from the highhandedness of the establishment at one point of time or the other, also proved decisive in this regard.
What is on offer to the polity, thanks to the mature and formidable stance of these political forces, the most-awaited general election in few weeks time and a rare democratic transition to nurture a democratic culture to help people determine their own fate with the help of ballot?
The pulling of the rug from the feet of Tahirul Qadri by MQM was not without a price for itself altogether. The amount of criticism that Altaf Hussain invited from political circles as well as from media for equating his British nationality with that of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s holding a passport of British dominion was said to have weakened and compromised his party’s political interests not just in its control urban centres of Sindh but across the country.
Altaf Hussain’s claim that his seeking British nationality, after migrating to that country owing to threat to his life, was under compulsion belies his most recent statement. As one ponder what was for all that hullabaloo and fanfare after he get British passport and the distribution of sweets in each and every street of the cities of Karachi and Hyderabad and also in London.
He is perhaps the only leader of a political party who celebrated with much fanfare his attaining the status of British national as dozens of political leaders migrated to United Kingdom during various military regimes but none opted for a passport of the host country unlike Altaf Hussain
The largely misconstrued ‘political drone attack’ from Altaf Hussain was not directed at founder of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but was his hurling of threat for division of Sindh province on urban and rural lines if local bodies system was not enforced.
The PPP, said to be on a high bargaining position vis-ŕ-vis its estranged ally MQM thanks to the political support of its allies as well as other opposition forces both in Sindh and Punjab, had offered nothing but renewed its promise of holding local bodies elections after the general elections.
The PPP said to have offered MQM only a status quo as far as the Sindh local government ordinance was concerned and a restrain as quid pro quo of its revocation against MQM’s not joining the TQM bandwagon.
The political observers see as a significant political development the MQM’s ditching TQM at the eleventh hour of latter’s sponsored long march saying the same not just points at the weakening of MQM’s hold in Karachi but also the feebleness of the forces that hitherto been determining as who and who should form a caretaker government and had their hands in the manipulation of elections results in the past.
“This is a march forward of the democratic forces against the forces that had kept the system hostage to their whims,” said the observers and added, “A lot more was likely to come their way to render ineffective till the general elections and afterwards as they would try their best to save what they have invested in Tahirul Qadri and his TQM’s sponsored long march.”
The plethora of demands made by Tahirul Qadri, irrespective of their futility in the eye of the democratic forces, carries a lot of danger for the country’s journey to the elections as well as a subsequent democratic transition, said the observers. The democratic forces may at moment be seen on the course of defeating the protégé of the non-democratic forces but the actual challenge of defeating the very mindset is likely to be a long drawn battle, the observers maintained.