KARACHI – Former Karachi Nazim and chief of the MQM’s dissident group, Mustafa Kamal formally launched his political party ‘Pak Sarzameen’ on Wednesday (Pakistan Day), demanding the government announce a general amnesty for workers of his former party.
Raza Haroon, Anis Advocate, Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Waseem Aftab, Iftikhar Alam and Anees Qaimkhani were also present at the party launching ceremony which was attended by scores of supporters.
Will this new party led by MQM renegade pose any threat to MQM, or even decimate MQM is a million dollar question.
According to reports, the new party has enlisted more than 20,000 members already. But, its ability to attract the MQM rank and file will become clear only when it holds its proposed public meeting in April.
It will certainly be a big challenge for this new political entity to make a place in the political mesh of Karachi, and it can do so only at the expense of MQM because despite Kamal’s declared intentions of making his party multi-ethnic and national in character, practically it seems to be appealing only to some segments of Urdu speaking community.
Some analysts have noted that until now the former Karachi mayor has no significant MQM leader standing with him who could cause desertions in Altaf Hussain’s party at a big scale.
They argued that though Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani were prominent leaders of the past MQM, they have no standing in the present MQM as they went in self-exile in Dubai in 2013 and remained cut off from the Muttahida power circles for a long period of time. This is exactly why they have succeeded in gathering only a few MQM outcasts around them, they added.
Anis Advocate who belongs to Mirpurkhas was expelled from the party seven years ago on a number of charges. Police has been deployed at his residence in Mirpurkhas after his joining Kamal’s group.
Waseem Aftab was sidelined on the charges of his links with sectarian groups and land mafia.
Iftikhar Alam, a close relative of Muhammad Anwar (London), has played no active role in MQM but was made MPA because of Anwar.
Raza Haroon, who left England in May 2013, was also sidelined because of his alleged links with a banned sectarian outfit.
Observers said in the next three to six months, it would be clear what kind of politics emerges in the urban Sindh and how much dent “Pak Sarzameen” will be able to cause to MQM. So far, the voters are watching and weighing the dissident group.
They said in case 10 to 12 parliamentarians and some former prominent figures join the new group, Karachi and possibly Hyderabad may witness kind of a “mini-election” in these two strongholds of MQM.
Some political circles describing this new group as ‘old wine in new bottle’ said that this group was expelled from the party after May 2013 elections on the charges of land grabbing, sectarianism, target killing and extortion.
It is known to all and sundry that notorious Ajmal Pahari and Ashi, who are in jail, are campaigning for this new brand of MQM. Yet it remains to be seen what level of success the new party would achieve.