MQM factions at war over seeking help of US Congressmen

Two Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) factions are at war of words after London-based faction’s second-in-command Nadeem Nusrat held meetings recently with US Congressmen in Washington DC.

MQM-London’s Convenor Nadeem Nusrat met with three influential senators in the US capital during the last two weeks, briefing them on Karachi’s political and socioeconomic situation and reportedly sought help including suspension of aid to Pakistan on grounds of alleged human rights abuses, political victimization and discriminatory treatment of the party.

MQM-London is reported to have also sought help from the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

MQM-Pakistan’s leader Farooq Sattar has accused the London group and his former comrades of working against the interests of Pakistan.

Farooq Sattar said that Nadeem Nusrat’s meetings in Washington were part of the London faction’s “anti-Pakistan agenda and continuation of 22nd August (hate) speech” by Altaf Hussain.

Sattar accused MQM-London of using World Muhajir Congress as a front to propagate against Pakistan in the name of Mohajirs (Urdu speaking community). He said that MQM-London was hurting the interests of Mohajirs by such actions and Mohajirs didn’t agree with what the London faction was doing.

“No Pakistani in his right mind will support the statements coming from London,” said Sattar, urging MQM-London leaders not to use the name of Mohajirs.

Demand that US congress block Pakistan’s aid is ridiculous,” said Sattar, adding that no one will be allowed to bring Mohajirs to disrepute.

Replying to Farooq Sattar, MQM London’s Nusrat defended meeting US politicians and seeking help. He said that MQM-London has been left with no choice after Altaf Hussain’s 22nd August speech which saw ban being imposed on Hussain’s speeches and subsequent fragmentation of MQM into three groups.

Nusrat said Sattar had met the same people in US in the past and there was no issue then but an issue has been created now.

“We don’t have a choice. We will go to any forum we can approach, we have no choice left. Our apology after 22nd august speech has not been entertained, no one listens to us and our demands are not being met. We will continue meeting politicians and approaching human rights bodies. We have the right to do so. Farooq sattar is trying to be more loyal to king than the king,” said Nusrat.

MQM-London’s Nusrat reportedly met with Senator John McCain, Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Ted Poe and briefed them about the crackdown on his party members by Pakistan’s security forces in the port city, accusing them of extra-judicial tactics — a charge authorities have denied.

Nusrat told McCain, who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, that the liberal and progressive political party MQM is facing state oppression whereas Islamic militant groups are being harbored in Karachi.

Nusrat urged the Congressmen to take action against Pakistan authorities over its action against the MQM and its London-based self-exiled founder leader Altaf Hussain. Hussain faces media blackout in the country on court order, due to his anti-state diatribes. Authorities have also approached the Interpol for his red warrant.

Few days back, the MQM made an intervention during the 35th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on item agenda 4 in the general debate, The News reported. “It’s London office representative Adil Ghaffar Khan spoke against Pakistani authorities for launching action in Karachi.”

Pakistani authorities say Karachi operation has helped reduce crimes in the megacity, and criminal gangs have been eliminated to a great extent, several reports have said.

Muttahida has a large vote bank in Pakistan’s financial capital despite factionalization, said Badar Shakaib Naqvi, an independent observer of Karachi politics. “My reading is these factions (MQM-London, MQM-Pakistan, MQM-Haqiqi, PSP) may get back together eventually, Naqvi said.

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