Muttahida Qaumi Movement

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Muttahida Qaumi Movement
متحدہ قومی موومنٹ
Leader Altaf Hussain
Convener Nadeem Nusrat
Founder Altaf Hussain
Founded March 18, 1984 (1984)
Headquarters Nine Zero; 494/8, Azizabad, F.B Area
Karachi, Pakistan
Students wing All Pakistan Muttahidda Students Organization (APMSO)
Charity Wing Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF)
Paramilitary wing Wafa Parast
Ideology Pakistani faction:
Liberalism
Social liberalism
Muhajir nationalism[1][2]
Secularism[3][4]
Provincialism

London faction:
Separatism
Radical Secularism
Political position Left-wing
Colors Red, green and white
            
Slogan Empowering People
Senate
8 / 104
National Assembly
24 / 342
Sindh Assembly
50 / 168
Party flag
Flag of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.svg
Website
www.mqm.org

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) (Urdu: متحدہ قومی موومنٹ‎, Muttaḥidah Qọ̄mī Mūwmaṅṫ), is a secular political party in Pakistan founded by Altaf Hussain in 1984.[3][4]

It was founded as a student organization, All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization (APMSO), in 1978 by Altaf Hussain. APMSO gave birth to the Muhajir Qaumi Movement in 1984.[5] In 1997, the MQM removed the term Muhajir (that denotes the party roots among the country's Urdu-speaking community) from its name and replaced it with Muttahida ("United"). The MQM is generally known as a party that holds strong mobilizing potential in Karachi, having traditionally been the dominant political force in the city.[6][7] Muttahida Qaumi Movement is the second largest party in Sindh and overall the fourth-largest party in the National Assembly of Pakistan after the Pakistan Muslim League (N), Pakistan Peoples Party, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.[8]

The party has kept its influence over Pakistan's federal government as a key coalition partner since the late 1980s (1988-1990, 1990-1992, 2002-2007, 2008-2013).[9] However, MQM parliamentarians resigned from the National Assembly, Senate and Provincial Assembly of Sindh in protest against a crackdown on party supporters.[10]

In August 2016, in a sudden turn of events, Farooq Sattar along with few elected parliamentarians on MQM ticket disassociated from Altaf Hussain and declared complete autonomy and demanded treason cases again him according to Article 6. Altaf Hussain termed it violation against party rules and retaliated by dissolving party and demanded mass resignation from all MQM parliamentarians and also terminated Farooq Sattar basic membership from the party [11] The government of Pakistan accepted Farooq Sattar as the head and convener of MQM Pakistan and also recognised MQM Pakistan formally.[12]

Background[edit]

Muhajirs were the Urdu-speaking Muslims, who migrated to Pakistan when the country emerged independent from the British Raj in 1947. Karachi was then home to a very diverse set of ethnicities including Urdu and Gujarati speaking immigrants, Punjabis, Pashtuns, Baluch and foreigners from several South Asian countries. Muhajirs advanced in commerce and the bureaucracy, but many resented the quota system which facilitated Sindhis in gaining university slots and civil service jobs.[13] It was this very ethnic rivalry that led to Muhajir political mobilization, which was further provoked by the stagnant economy and the condition of Biharis in Bangladesh concentration camps.[14]

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

The MQM is the dominant party in Karachi and Hyderabad. It was founded in 1984 by Azeem Ahmed Tariq & Altaf Hussain. At the time of inception, MQM represented only the Muhajir community but after several years, the Muhajir Qaumi Movement changed its name to Muttahida Qaumi Movement, thus welcoming all ethnic groups of Pakistan into its folds.

The first political organization of Muhajirs, called All Pakistan Muhajir Student Organization (APMSO), was founded on 11 June 1978 by Altaf Hussain in Karachi University. On March 18, 1984, the APMSO evolved into a proper political organization—Muhajir Qaumi Movement.[5] It was launched to protect the Muhajir community who perceived themselves as the victims of discrimination and repression by the quota system that gave preference to certain ethnicities for admissions in educational institutions and employment in civil services.[15][16]

Late 1986 to 1990[edit]

In its early years, MQM drew enormous crowds, the epitome of which was the rally of August 8, 1986 at Nishtar Park, Karachi.[17] Three years into its existence, MQM won the November 1987 local body elections in Karachi and Hyderabad and had several mayors win unopposed.[5][17] Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won the highest number of seats in the general election of 1988 and formed a coalition government in the Sindh Province with the help of MQM, which then had a larger mandate in urban Sindh in comparison to PPP whose majority of support came from rural areas of Sindh. A 59-point agreement, called the Karachi Accord, was signed which included statements about protection of the democratic system and political rights, urban development goals, and creating objective criteria for admission to universities and colleges. Within a few months of the agreement, differences surfaced and MQM ministers in the Sindh Cabinet resigned because the agreement was not implemented.[18] Thus, the alliance broke up in October 1989 and MQM joined hands with PPP's opponents.[5] During these times MQM made mark for public benefit initiatives.[19] Khidmat-e-Khalq Committee, a social welfare initiative, was founded in 1978 which in 1998 transformed into Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation (KKF).[20]

1990 to 1999[edit]

In the elections of October 1990, MQM emerged as the third strongest party in the country. This time, it made its alliance with Pakistan Muslim League (PML) to establish a provincial government in Sindh whereas PML formed the federal government. During these times, small factions of MQM separated themselveom the main body of the party. The largest among these factions is MQM Haqiqi (English: Real MQM), which was formed by Afaq Ahmad and Amir Khan.[13] It is generally believed that MQM Haqiqi was formed by the collusion of Pakistani Government in power and the Establishment/Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to weaken MQM and was supported by successive federal governments and the military.[13] In the years to come, federal governments switched between forming alliance with MQM and fighting against it to establish greater control over Karachi.[14]

From 1992 to 1994, the MQM was the target of the Pakistan Army's Operation Clean-up, The period is regarded as the bloodiest period in Karachi's history, with thousands MQM workers and supporters killed or gone missing. Although 14 years have passed since the alleged arrest or disappearance of MQM workers, families of the missing people are still hopeful after registering the cases in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.[21] The operation left thousands of Urdu-speaking civilians dead.[18][22]

The violence gripped urban Sindh politics in the late 1980s after General Zia ul-Haq's era, and finally in 1992, the erstwhile government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif passed a resolution in assembly to launch a military operation in Karachi to target 72 'big fishes'. The federal government gave the reasoning behind this operation, known as "Operation Clean-up", as the government's attempt to end terrorism in Karachi and to seize unauthorized arms.[17] Operation Clean-Up, which ostensibly sought to eliminate all terrorists irrespective of their political affiliation, began in June 1992. MQM perceived this operation as an attempt to wipe out the party altogether.[5] Political violence erupted while MQM organized protests and strikes.[5] The resulting lawlessness prevailed in the largest metropolitan city of Pakistan, which led to the country's President dissolving the National Assembly.

During the 1992 violence Altaf Hussain left the country when a warrant was issued for him in connection with a murder.[23] Since then, the political party is run by Mr Hussain from self-imposed exile in London.[14][24]

MQM boycotted the subsequent 1993 general elections claiming organized military intimidation but participated in provincial elections. MQM secured 27 seats in provincial assembly, in comparison to its political rival PPP which won 56 seats. This resulted in PPP forming both the provincial and federal governments.[25] Whereas, MQM Haqiqi failed to gain any seats at federal or provincial level.[5] Political violence gained momentum in 1993 and 1994. During the 1994 violence, heavily political killings were reported between MQM, MQM factions, and Sindhi nationalist groups. By July 1995, more than 1,800 people had been assassinated in Karachi.[13] In 1997, MQM boycotted the general elections and officially changed the previously maintained name 'Muhajir' to 'Muttahida'(English: "United").[17]

Accusations of violence[edit]

In the mid-1990s, MQM created widespread political violence that affected Pakistan's southern Sindh province, particularly Karachi, the port city that is the country's commercial capital.[13] In the mid-1990s, the U.S. State Department, Amnesty International, and others accused the MQM and a rival faction, MQM Haqiqi, of summary killings, torture, and other abuses. The MQM-A routinely denied involvement in violence.[13]

The party's use of extra-legal activities in conflicts with political opponents have earned it the accusation of terrorism.[26][27][28] The party's strongly hierarchical order and personalist leadership style led to some critics labelling the MQM as fascist.[26][29]

Jinnahpur Conspiracy[edit]

During Operation Clean-up, MQM was accused of being anti-Pakistan and of planning a separatist break-away state, Jinnahpur. However, later some senior army officers, Brigadier (R) Imtiaz and General (R) Naseer Akhtar, confessed that Jinnahpur was "nothing but a drama" against MQM for the military operation and there was no map of Jinnahpur.[30][31]

On October 19, 1992, Pakistani newspapers carried an ISPR press release, conveying Army’s denial of the knowledge of the Jinnahpur plan. The ISPR, the public relations arm of the Pakistan Army stated, "The Army had no evidence concerning the so-called Jinnahpur plan, it is clarified that the newspaper story in question is baseless. The Army has neither handed over to the government any document or map as reported, nor is it in possession of any evidence concerning the so-called Jinnahpur Plan. It is also factually wrong that the matter was discussed at any meeting of the corps commander."[32] Asif Zardari who was then President of Pakistan is said to have "said in a court premises in Karachi that the Jinnahpur scandal was created to malign the MQM."[32]

2001 to present[edit]

In 2001, MQM boycotted the local body elections but in the 2002 general elections, MQM won 17 out of 272 seats in national assembly.[33]

In 2008 elections, MQM won 25 seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan and 52 seats in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh.[citation needed]

In 2013, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) filed a Rs 5 billion defamation suit against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan at the Sindh High Court for issuing statements against MQM chief Altaf Hussain.[34]

In June 2014, the Metropolitan Police raided the London home of its leader, Altaf Hussain, on suspicion of money-laundering. Mr Hussain has lived in the UK since 1991.[35]

In 2008, Foreign Policy released a Global Cities Index which named Mustafa Kamal as Mayor of the Moment, along with Berlin's Klaus Wowereit, and Chongqing's Wang Hongju.[36][37]

The party has won majority in the local government election of Karachi and Hyderabad and brought its mayor in Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. The mayor of Karachi, Wasim Akhtar has been put behind bars without any charge by anti terror court and is waiting Sindh High Court to grant him bail in order to resume his office as the mayor of Karachi.[38] MQM has also brought its chairman and vice chairman in the municipal committee of fourth largest city of Sindh Mirpurkhas.

Party structure[edit]

The party is led by Altaf Hussain under whose supervision, members of the Rabita Committee (also known as Central Coordination Committee) formulate the party's political program. It consists of 24 members from Pakistan and 10 from London, United Kingdom.[39] The party's Karachi-based organizational operations are held under its Karachi Tanzeemi Committee.

On 20 November 2011, Muttahida Qaumi Movement announced the formation of Central Executive Committee with its members drawn from Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa, Balochistan and Sindh. Addressing a Press Conference, Farooq Sattar, a senior MQM official, told that the purpose of Central Executive Committee is to assist MQM Coordination Committee and the party in organizational matters, policy-making and preparation of manifesto.[40]

MQM has several chapters across the world in the United States, Canada, South Africa, several European countries, and Japan.[41] Currently, the heads of MQM North America are former Federal Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Ibad ur-Rehman.[citation needed]

Controversy[edit]

MQM's Party leadership faced widespread arrests after Altaf Hussain's controversial speech and later attack on ARY channel which faced lots of criticism from media and particularly from the establishment which was discontented by his words:'Pakistan Murdabad'. On the orders of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif[42] Paramilitary forces immediately sealed MQM offices including Nine Zero. MQM's deputy convenor Shahid Pasha, parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar, Sindh assembly opposition leader Izhar ul Hasan and Rabita Committee members Qamar Mansur and Member National Assembly and ex Hyderabad Mayor Kanwar Naveed Jameel were arrested.[43] Farooq Sattar who was released shortly, later disassociated himself from MQM founder and leader Altaf Hussain saying his statements were unacceptable and later presented and facilitated resolutions in Federal and provincial assemblies against his controversial speech, Farooq also claimed to strip MQM chief from constitution and powers.[44][45][46] Crack down against MQM took a rapid turn when over hundred MQM Unit and Sector offices have been demolished and lots of MQM workers rounded off.

On August 21, 2016, according to Election Commission of Pakistan, Nadeem Nusrat and not Farooq sattar was the leader of MQM.[47] and According to Nadeem Nusrat, Minus Altaf formula is not acceptable.[48][49]

MQM leadership in Sindh Assembly declared that it wants MQM leader Altaf Hussain tried for high treason[50] and also removed Nadeem Nusrat, Convenor of the party along with Wasay Jaleel, Mustafa Azizabadi etc.

On 22 September 2016, MQM convenor Nadeem Nusrat termed the moves of Farooq Sattar against party rules and illegal and emphecised he is an elected Convenor and dissolved entire party infrastructure including Rabita Committee and ordered mass resignation of MQM parliamentarians from assemblies and to contest new elections on their own.[51]

In a media conference the spokesman for the United States State Department, John Kirby, stated that US was aware of the arrests of the MQM leaders and was closely monitoring the events.[52]

Naming controversy[edit]

Although media refers to Muttahida Qaumi Movement as MQM-London, MQM has instructed media to use the original name Muttahida Qaumi Movement only[53] where as Farooq Sattar led faction has adopted the name MQM-Pakistan.[54]

State Operations against MQM[edit]

Pakka Qila Operation (26, 27 May 1990)[edit]

Operation was launched by Sindh Police to target MQM workers in Pakka Qilla Hyderabad. Over 250 besieged innocent men, women, children was massacred during the operation which carried on for 275 hours before Pakistan army men eventually moved in.[55]

Operation Clean-up (1992 - 1994)[edit]

Operation clean-up was started by late general Asif Nawaz after Jinnahpur conspiracy and major kaleem torture case.[56] The operation primarily targeted the Robber gangs of interior Sindh for which a list of '72 big fish' was presented in the parliament to be the primary target. But systematically the operation's direction was diverted towards the alarming political gains of MQM which was worrying the Army establishment.

As it later turns out, the army was unable to prove the following allegations and Brigadier Imtiaz who was Director-General of Intelligence Bureau at the time accpeted to have planted the conpiracy in order to start army operation against MQM.

MQM-Haqiqi(translates: Real MQM) was formed by the Army Establishment by recruiting many criminal elements of MQM in order to counter it's political influence. Fierce gun battles commenced between the two parties which became the source of extreme violence of the decade.

Operation (1994-1996)[edit]

During tenure of Benazir Bhutto, interior minister General Naseerullah Babar conducted second operation against MQM between 1994-1996.[57]

Due to serious doubts over credibility of operation due to fake encounters, extra judicial killings and rise of killings in Karachi,[58] Benazir Bhutto's government was dismissed by the then President of Pakistan, Farooq Ahmed Laghari.[59]

Operation (1998 - 2000)[edit]

operation against MQM began after the assassination of Hakeem Said(renowned Pakistani medical scholar, businessman and philanthropist), and MQM was blamed for it. After the assassination, Nawaz Shareef imposed governor rule over the province and operation was commenced. Various MQM officials were arrested and put behind bars.

The MQM workers accused in the assassination were sentenced to death by Anti-terror court (ATC) who's verdict was challenged by the provincial government. The accused were acquitted by the Supreme Court in 2014 after their 16 years imprisonment.

Karachi Targeted Action (2013 - present)[edit]

Due to rise in Target killing and organised crimes of extortion, kidnapping for ransom and increased crime rate of the city, Karachi operation began by the Nawaz Sharif government in 2013 with the intention of creating peace in the city .Even though it was claimed by the interior minister Chaudhry Nisar that the intentions of the operation were apolitical, there have been systematic crackdowns against MQM. In 2015 MQM's Headquarter Nine Zero was raided twice by the paramilitary Rangers and many top officials of MQM were taken into custody. On August 22, 2016, The Headquarter was sealed and hundreds of MQM offices were bulldozed.

Many Journalists opine that Army establishment is behind the formation of PSP and MQM-Pakistan.[60] Many MQM officials including Prof. Zafar Arif, Kanwar Khalid Yunus, adv Sathi ishaq, Amjadullah khan, Qamar Mansur, Shahid Pasha have been in detention since four months.

MNA Kanwar Naveed Jameed, MPA Kamran farooqui have also been arrested by the paramilitary forces.

Human Rights Violations by the state[edit]

1994-1996 targeted actions saw gross human rights violations by the state organisations which included kidnapping for random, extrajudicial executions, disappearance, torture, fake encounters etc.[61]

The speeches and images of Altaf Hussain have been banned by the decision of Lahore High Court's justice Naqvi and Anti-Terror court has issued arrest warrants of Altaf Hussain numerous times.

Renowned journalists have accepted that targeted operations are only against MQM.[62]

During Nine Zero raid, MQM worker Waqas Shah was brutally shot down by Ranger's 9mm pistol fire from point blank range. The video evidence released on electronic media confirmed the incident.[63]

Farooq Sattar's coordination officer Syed Aftab Ahmed was killed while in the custody of paramilitary forces. Initially the force denied torture and stated that he died of heart attack but it had to accept after social media publicised videos of torture marks on Aftab's body and autopsy report conforming death due to torture.[64][65][66]

As a result of operation, MQM claims 67 of its workers have been extra judicially murdered the paramilitary force while 150 are still missing and more than 5,000 are behind bars. The Amnesty International, US state department, United Nations Human rights commission has published several documents highlighting gross human rights violations during the targeted operation against MQM.[67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76]

Split[edit]

In August, 2016, Farooq Sattar disassociated with London-based leader of MQM Altaf Hussain saying that MQM will only operate from within Pakistan.[77] He changed the constitution of MQM to incorporate himself as the new chief[78] saying that "MQM is Pakistan. The MQM is registered in Pakistan and recognises the laws and Constitution of Pakistan. The party should operate from Pakistan alone."[77] Dawn reported that MQM was registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan in the name of Sattar.[79] Sattar appointed himself as the convener of the coordination committee of MQM.[80]

Following which MQM’s London-based leadership expelled Sattar from the party[81] for betraying and asked him to resigned from National Assembly which he won on MQM ticket and re-contest the elections afresh.[82] However, Sattar and parliamentarians part of his faction didn't resign from their respective parliaments.[81]

Electoral history[edit]

Post split election campaigns[edit]

MQM took part in local bodies by election from Union Committee 46 Hyderabad which was vacated by the death of counselor as independent candidate. MQM supported independent candidate Asif Baig defeated the candidate of MQM-Pakistan by a healthy margin.[83]

Leaders[edit]

  • Nadeem Nusrat (convener)
  • Wasay Jalil
  • Mustafa Azizabadi
  • Qasim Ali Raza
  • Momin Khan Momin
  • Dr Hassan Zafar Arif (Rabita Committee Pakistan)
  • Sathi Ishaque advocate
  • Zafar Rajput (Hyderabad)
  • Dr. Nadeem Ehsan

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External links[edit]