Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Altaf's ‘London Plan’ Remains a Mystery

LAHORE – Mr Altaf Hussain’s 200-minute news conference from London had five salient features: Claim that the MQM had taken out no procession in Karachi against the Chief Justice of Pakistan on May 12, 2007, nor had used containers to block his route; pinning the responsibility of the killings that day on the ANP and the Jamaat-i-Islami; ‘disclosure’ of an international conspiracy to dismember Pakistan; the self-exiled leader’s refusal to answer the allegations made by former Sindh minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza; and assertion that the Quaid-i-Azam wanted to see Pakistan as a secular state.

Dr Mirza, regarded by many as a loose cannon, had alleged on oath a few days ago that the MQM chief had told him at a meeting in London, in the presence of another PPP leader Pir Mazharul Haq, that the United States had decided to break up Pakistan and that he would support the world’s sole superpower to accomplish the mission. He had also alleged that the MQM chief had written a letter to then British prime minister Tony Blair that the MQM was willing to extend cooperation in various areas if Britain played a role to have the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) disbanded.

Before Mr Hussain, two MQM leaders Faisal Sabzwari and Mustafa Kamal had addressed separate news conferences after the gap of a few days and belied the allegations. However, people wanted to hear something from the horse’s mouth. And their hopes went up when they came to know that Altaf Hussain was going to address a news conference from London on Friday.

It was expected that searching questions inquisitive journalists would ask would bring the truth to light. But, regrettably, the leader, who has been living in London since 1992 and is now a British citizen, preferred not to respond to the serious allegations against him.

Instead of clarifying his own position, he levelled some allegations against his political rivals: ANP and the Jamaat-i-Islami. The wisdom behind this strategy is incomprehensible. And unless he clears his own position, the electorate is not likely to give any importance to the mud he has thrown on others.

The integrity and solidarity of the country is more important than all other issues. And if Mr Hussain’s loyalty is questionable – because of the pending allegations – why should the army accept his offer of MQM supporters working shoulder-to-shoulder with the defenders of Pakistan?

Like Dr Mirza, he should have declared under oath what was the factual position of the accusations. He should have informed the people of Pakistan whether the meeting the Sindhi leader had referred to, had taken place and whether he had spoken about the alleged US designs against Pakistan.

A man who himself faces the allegation of plotting against Pakistan cannot be supposed to be working for its integrity. Such a person cannot be taken even as patriot unless he refutes the charges against him to the fullest satisfaction of the common man.

Similarly, he should have told the nation about the letter he had allegedly written to the British leader. A man who wants to get the ISI disbanded cannot be a friend of Pakistan.

A newspaper had reported a few days ago quoting intelligence officials that the letter in question was authentic.

That Dr Mirza had levelled the allegation on oath adds weight to charges against the MQM chief. In such a situation the matter cannot just be brushed under the rug. There’s just no justification for him to let the ‘London Plan’ remain a mystery.

His claim that a meeting had been held at the residence of a Jamaat-i-Islami leader in Karachi, where the MQM-H people had been tasked to go for firing on the MQM-A procession, or that Shahi Syed had said at a meeting at the Chief Minister’s House that firing on the MQM-A procession had been carried out on orders of Asfandyar Wali appeared to be after-thoughts.

Mr Hussain is distancing his party from the May 12 killings because he knows that the CJP is seized of the matter and can come up with a verdict against the accused, no matter which party or group they belong to.

It’s also strange that it took the MQM chief more than three years to reveal (or allege) that the Awami National Party had been given millions of dollars by the United States to win the 2008 elections.

He should have brought the matter to light the very day he had come to know of this. Then, election petitions should have been filed against the ANP leaders, with the request to the court that the intelligence agencies be asked to share their information with the bench. Had the MQM moved courts, the nation would have got an opportunity to know the truth – and thus the real face of the ANP.

But accusations at this stage – when the party itself is facing serious charges – will not be taken as more than a blame game.

The MQM also should have taken the Jamaat-i-Islami to court on the basis of what Altaf Hussain is saying now.

The MQM chief has done no service to the nation by saying that the Quaid-i-Azam was a secular leader and that he had never said Pakistan had been achieved in the name of Islam. Much has already been written about the subject during the past decades. It should be taken as a settled issue and no one should try to make it a point of controversy now.

The Mohajirs, whose representative Mr Hussain is, had not come to a secular Pakistan. Had Islam not been the basis of the new country, they would have stayed back.

PKKH

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