There has been much talk these days of Pakistan cracking down on foreign militants. I figured I’d put in a plea for Britain to do the same by extraditing one of Pakistan’s most wanted terrorists, Altaf Hussain – now that the UK is finally talking to the Pakistan govt. about terrorism. The Pakistan govt. has been after Britain for many years now to extradite Altaf Hussain, but the UK staunchly refuses to do so – hell they have even given him citizenship! The whole thing reeks of hypocrysisy. Pakistan too is a master of double speak – the past few respective governments continue denying the existence of ‘Dawood Ibrahim’:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawood_Ibrahim, who along with parts of the MQM runs much of the Karachi underworld.
Maybe Pakistan, India and the UK can have a mutual terrorist exchange round, with Pakistan passing on Dawood Ibrahim to India in exchange for India putting pressure on Britain to extradite Altaf Hussain.
This is even more important these days, because the local body elections are about to come up, and the MQM will be taking part in them for the first time under Musharraf. This year, the MQM’s main (and only) election rallying cry is that they are better than the Mullahs. This says it all: *Even the most liberal of people have gone and registered, many for the first time in their lives, to vote for the Mullahs.* The MMA wants to take Pakistan back to the medieval age, but even that is preferrable to the MQM.
h3. A brief history of Altaf Hussain:
Back in the early late 70’s early 80’s, Altaf Hussain, then a Mohajir taxi driver in the United States, came back to Karachi and formed a student association. This later on with army backing led to a network of professional militant bands with a hand in the drug trade of Karachi, composed of 5,000-6,000 hit men and notorious criminals. Carjacking, land grabbing, extortion, kidnapping, drug running, illegal construction made them unbelievable sums of money which gave them remarkable gains in successive elections. Altaf also opened up a number of torture cells around the city for those hard cases(reporters, human rights activists, doctors, police officials, etc.) who refused to toe his line. Besides the professional criminals and terrorists, the MQM also trained a whole generation of street gangs in the ABC’s of street thuggery, and used them to ensure that the people in the MQM ‘areas’ toed the party line.
There were *over 260 criminal cases,* many involving acts of terrorism, pending/decided in Pakistan against Altah Hussain by the late 90’s. Now, while the past few govts. have a history of using the courts against people they don’t like, most of the cases against Altaf are fully justified.
h4. the mentality of the man
From listening to various speeches over the years, the only point I’ve understood from Altaf’s speeches is that the million odd people and their offspring who came to Pakistan during partition in 1947 are all refugees, and politically and economically disenfranchised – and Altaf Hussain is their only saviour. The thing is, which most people in Karachi don’t seem to quite grasp, is that one can’t remain a refugee for in one’s own country – not after 58 years. Sadly, many still support the MQM, though it has to be said that a sizable percent only do so out of fear. There is a sorry lot who still believe in ‘Altaf Bhai’, but Osama bin Laden is also the hero of too many around the world – that doesn’t make either of them any less unsavoury.
Some years back, when Altaf Husain finally received his British passport, he had a press conference where he proudly displayed his British passport, and had all his cronies send him congratulations. After that fine display of patriotism, many of his lifelong supporters slunk off in shame.
In various speeches, he not only twists and perverts the truth to suit his needs – he also tends to make completely contradictory statements, often saying one thing and the very next sentence saying the opposite is true. It has to be said that there is something about the man, for otherwise reasonable people go out of their way covering up for his myriad failings.
h4. mqm apologists
There is a surprisingly large number of people ready to justify Altaf’s bloody actions over the years. The common tactic is to start listing the large number of injustices suffered by him at the hands of just about everybody, ranging from the army, the govt, intelligence agencies, the mullahs, and so on. They blindly hold on to the idea that could have been the MQM, and ignore the actions/words of their sainted leader. An apt quote for them: _No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks._ With the MQM, they are looking in the wrong place. Many of his supporters, like their leader, live outside Pakistan, where the distance between them and the MQM’s on the ground activities in Karachi makes it easier to support him. Altaf Husain obvoiusly gives people outside Karachi different -speeches- propaganda material, as all the ones I’ve heard are nauseatingly bad.
h4. mqm master plan
The MQM master plan is online here: “MQMs VISION FOR AN EGALITARIAN ORDER THROUGH LOCAL GOVERNMENT”:http://www.mqm.org/English-News/Aug-2005/news050805a.htm
The document linked above can’t be called a plan, let alone a”Master Plan” – it is more of a ‘Master Wishlist’. It is badly written, and without any effort put into it. It doesn’t look like any professional architect or city planner was around when the above document was drafted.
There are also a few bald faced lies in the document – for example it claims that the Karachi Mass transit plan was first conceived by the Haq Parast City Government in 1988 – which is a complete fabrication.
On top of all this, the ‘master plan’ is trying to scrore political points by trumpeting what it claims the MQM did in the past. Besides the fact that some of its claimed achievements never happened, political nonsense like this has no business in a so called ‘master plan’.
A plan is defined somewhere along these lines: A prescribed, written sequence of actions to achieve a goal, usually ordered in phases or steps with a schedule and measureable targets; defines who is responsible for achievement, who will do the work, and links to other related plans and goals. The MQM document comes no where near this description. City planning and urban renewal is a science, and documents like the one the MQM has released so far just show their lack of comprehension and inability to grasp the situation beyond mere political rhetoric.
* “Fedaration of American Scientists: MQM”:http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/mqm.htm
* “Karachi: A Terror Capital in the Making by Wilson John”:http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/FA17Df07.html :: Journalist Wilson John’s pithy new book probes the reasons why and the processes how Karachi turned into a potpourri of fanaticism and mayhem. The book contains a history of the MQM and Altaf.
*Note:* Comments have been deleted from this entry, as hundreds of them were “hate mail”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_mail. There were a few dozen anti-Altaf comments as well, but I figured it’s only fair to remove all of them, considering the passions this post provoked.