‘Only young blood can bring productive change’
By Shahzad Raza
ISLAMABAD: The existing parliament is glittering with the galaxy of star debaters. Among them there is a man with exceptional debating skills and golden voice. He is the only Pakistani who was declared best debater of Asia by International Youth Congress of United Nations. Besides, establishing his fame worldwide, he remained popular among the national and local debating circles by standing best debater of Pakistan for eight times and best debater of Karachi for 17 times.
He is no one else but Dr Aamir Liaquat Hussain, Member National Assembly-elect from Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), who is set to outplay his counterparts while promoting the ideology of realism and practicalism of his party. He holds the MBBS and Ph.D. degrees, and is currently associated with a private news channel.
Although he opted for the medical education, he was always wanted to join the media. He joined a newspaper from Sindh called Parcham. He remained the editor of that newspaper for more than eight years and during that period served jails and remained in exile. He wrote over 3,000 columns in the same newspaper. While living in exile, he started Radio Asia in Dubai, and was given the award of best newscaster of UAE. In 1998 he came back to Pakistan and continued his association with the media.
As a student in Adamjee College, in 1988, he joined All Pakistan Mohajir Student Organization. Altaf Hussain always inspired him. But he had never thought of coming into the mainstream politics.
Following are the excerpts from his interview with the Daily Times:
Daily Times: What are your political ambitions in future, given the fact that democratic institutions are not strong enough in Pakistan?
Aamir Liaquat: I am really disappointed with what is going on in the National Assembly for the last few months. The democratic institutions are not weak but very weak. But the new blood has entered in to the National Assembly. We should be hopeful instead of getting disappointed. Only the young blood would bring the change, as the old parliamentarians had done nothing. The young politicians are not associated with the professional politics. The democracy must flourish in the country. This is my ambition and this is my belief.
DT: How would you incorporate the MQM’s ideology of realism and practicalism in the current situation?
AL: We have the approach of realism and practicalism. We are not saying like orthodox Maulvis to take the weapons and attack America. Our Quaid and we are saying that we don’t have power and don’t have the weapons. We must follow the Prophet (PBUH), who according to the then situation had sent his messengers to Najashi (a Christian ruler) asking for his help. We urge upon everyone to come to the negotiation table and resolve the disputes through dialogues. One should forget that the Kashmir could be liberated through ‘Jihad’. I might be labeled as traitor by saying so. The practicalism of MQM is evident with the fact that from the assembly of 1988 to 2002, all its representatives belonged to poor and mediocre class. Although Mr Qazi ,Mr Sharif and Ms Bhutto raised the slogans of practicalism, but none of them coud stand by it.
DT: How would you compare Altaf Hussain with the contemporary leaders?
AL: The basic difference between Mr Hussain and his contemporaries including Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif is honesty and sincerity. Neither he wanted to be the prime minister or the chief minister. He took no benefit for himself or for his family.
DT: If he is a popular leader and better than Ms Bhutto and Mr Sharif, then why did he leave his people in lurch? Why is he not coming back?
AL: There was great threat to his life, as several life attempts were made on him. He is an asset for us and we don’t want to lose him, it was a unanimous decision of our party. Even today our parliamentarians are not safe, therefore, he is not coming back.
DT: Cuban president Fidel Castro had survived over 20 life attempts. He is so popular that on his one call a million people come out on the streets?
AL: There is a difference between Castro and Mr Hussain. There is no ISI or MI in Cuba. There is no influence of agencies within the political parties in Cuba. There is no terrorism in Cuba. However, in Karachi, the killing is a routine matter. The situation is not fit to bring Mr Hussain back, given the fact that he is running the party perfectly while sitting abroad, he would definitely come back.
DT: There were allegations that the politics of Karachi took bloody turn after the formation of MQM?
AL: I would like to ask those who are alleging us that if MQM was responsible for bloody politics in Karachi, then who had murder Zahoorul Hassan Bhopali. Why the student leaders of JUI had chopped off the hand of Shah Nawaz Shani? Who had killed over 100 students in education institutions before MQM’s creation? Who was responsible for bomb explosion in Bori Bazaar in which dozens lost their lives? I know who is making these allegations. The religious forces have themselves been involved in the bloody politics. Who had created Al-Badar and Al-Shams in 1971? They were the people involved in the genocide of the Bengali people. They were involved in the gang rape of countless Bengali women. They are proving that Pakistan is involved in the infiltration across the Line of Control. They were actually annoyed at the MQM, which ended their politics.
DT: On October 25, 1984, Mr. Hussain had publicly said, “Collect arms, if our rights are not given to us, we will use every kind of force”. How would you justify this?
AL: It is a great myth, it was only propaganda. Why are you taking it negative sense? What one can do when his children are slaughtered and women are raped? Would he see all this silently or take the arms for his protection? Neither police nor law enforcement agencies supported us.
DT: According to available statistics, as many as 173 persons were killed, 10 banks looted, 75 vehicles 24 houses and 20 shops were burnt during the last 153 days of 1986. Correct me if I am wrong that wasn’t this the year when MQM got politically activated?
AL: The MQM is not responsible for the bloody politics of Karachi. There was tension at that time in Karachi between Pushtoons and Mohajirs. Taking advantage of that situation, the intelligence agencies had sent their agents and started the massacre, regardless of who was Mohajir and who was Pushtoon. They created anarchy in Karachi. It was a mission by Ziaul Haq to destabilize the government of Muhammad Khan Junejo.
DT: You are strongly condemning the ISI and generals. But wasn’t it true that MQM was formed by the same ISI and generals to counter Pakistan Peoples Party, in Sindh?
AL: It is totally baseless. I oppose it strongly. There was no role of ISI and Ziaul Haq. Had it been truth, Mr Hussain would never been awarded sentence of 17 lashes from a military court. Mr Hussain was forced to lie naked on the ice slabs. The ISI role is to keep a watchful eye on the enemies of state, not the buying and selling of the political parties. Had ISI been involved in the creation of MQM we would not have faced the severe operation against us from 1992. More than 17,000 MQM members were killed during the operation led by Naseerullah Khan Babar. The ISI formed Jamat-e-Islami.
DT: According to you the MQM had always emphasized upon the strengthening of democratic institutions and opposed the undemocratic elements. Now what went wrong that you have become part of a pro-establishment coalition?
AL: We are still not supporting a dictator. The opposition is opposing LFO, under which they have contested the election. Why did they contest the election at the first place, as no body forced them to do so. The entire LFO is not wrong, but there are some controversial clauses. We want the LFO to be placed before the parliament.
DT: What are your predictions about the Pakistani politics?
AL: I am really disappointed with the Pakistani politics. The biggest despondency is the involvement of Maulvis in the mainstream politics, who are raising local issues at national levels. I am not hopeful with the national politics. The politicians of my country fight only for their own interests. I request General Musharraf to give me a chartered plane, and I would take all the politicians to Iraq. Then I would ask all those who claim to be great Muslims to come out and fight against the anti-Islam forces. If I could not take the airplane to Iraq, then I will destroy it in the sea. I would sacrifice my own life for this noble cause.
I am foreseeing a bloody revolution. Sorry to say, the democracy would bring nothing better in this country. Pakistan needs a bloody revolution. A person is required here, who will eliminate all the politicians once for all, and then intelligent and young people of Pakistan will come forward to lead the nation. I fear that in revolution the geographical situation might also change.