MQM-P Iftar Dinner Brings Haqiqi’s Afaq, Others On the Table

MQM-P stands recognized by all others (including competitors) to be one of “the” legitimate representatives, if not the only one, of Urdu-speaking community’s ideological and political stance

PKONWEB Report — A horde of movers and shakers on Friday attended the MQM-Pakistan Iftar and Dinner held in Karachi port city days after two major political parties’ (PML-N and PPP) Iftar meetup with several other like-minded ones made headlines.

Attendee Afaq Ahmed, the chief of Mohajir Qaumi Movement (Haqiqi), was warmly welcomed by MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and senior party leader Faisal Sabzwari– after a gap of over 25 years.

Also, Waseem Aftab and Salim Tajik, leaders of the PSP, a party formed by former two MQM leaders Mustafa Kamal and Anis Qaimkhani in 2016, attended the fast-breaking (Iftar).

Afaq’s presence was significant, some observers say. The firebrand Karachi politician was once London-based self exiled MQM supremo Altaf Hussain’s close aide– in the 1980s. However, he left Altaf and the party due to shift in ideological moorings in the early 1990s, and launched his own political party. Several hundred people were killed in clashes between the two groups in the 90s.

Dr Saleem Haider, head of the Muhajir Ittehad Tehreek (MIT), a group that was also very influential among Urdu-speaking community (dubbed as the Muhajirs) politics in Sindh province, specially in Hyderabad, back in the 1980s, was also among the participants of the Iftar dinner. 

“It is good to see all of them together. May all live with harmony and peace and Karachi get developed (as a) city,” said a senior political observer in Karachi.

According to him, and several other keen observers, the economic powerhouse of the country is witnessing transformation, and at the same time vacuum created by Altaf’s knockout is being filled by others including his close aides who shunned his politics and tactics.

An impending closure on white collar crimes-related cases against some PPP heavyweights and others is also on the horizon, raising concerns of further vacuum and its after effects.

Absent from the who’s who meet was Dr Farooq Sattar, the disgruntled MQM-P leader and former convenor. He wasn’t invited. “Dr Sattar has been removed from the party”, said MQM-P senior member Sabzwari.

According to one analyst, the presence of MQM-P’s rivals hinted that work on a new political alignment – formation of a broad-based alliance of Mohajir political parties might be under consideration. Others though disagree.

“The country is passing through a critical phase and there is a need to leave aside all our internal differences and to move forward,” said Siddiqui, the MQM-P convener who is also the federal minister for information technology and telecom.

But a milestone has been achieved, some say. MQM-P stands recognized by all others (including competitors) to be one of “the” legitimate representatives, if not the only one, of Urdu-speaking community’s ideological and political stance.

Being the largest city of the country and its financial hub, Karachi has a unique place in economy. Nany international companies are based in the metropolis, and more are vying to invest. Specially with the onset of Pakistan China Economic Corridor’s (CPEC), downstream business and financial activities will takeoff– Karachi has shortest distance from Gwadar, the gateway to CPEC.

But the giant initiative has its detractors in the region– Pakistan is confronting a Hybrid war, CM Sindh of PPP Murad Ali Shah has acknowledged. Karachi is Sindh’s capital and earns most taxes and duties for the federation also. It remains in the radar of those attempting to destabilize the country.

So, it (Iftar dinner) was actually a peace-pipe smoking event by all stakeholders, some observers said.

The much publicized Ramadan fast-breaking event was also attended by politicians belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), component parties and individuals of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), the Awami National Party (ANP), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) and others.

Major attendees were former finance ministers PTI’s Asad Umar and PML-N’s Miftah Ismail (who were seated next to each other), Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, PTI leaders Haleem Adil Sheikh and Khurrum Sher Zaman, Karachi Archbishop Joseph Coutts, philanthropist Ramzan Chippa, Karachi Arts Council President Ahmed Shah, KU Professor Atta-ur-Rehman and actor Javed Sheikh, among others.