Altaf Hussain was politically active from a very young age. While attending Karachi University, he founded the “All Pakistan Mohajir Student Organization. In 1992, Hussain escaped Karachi one month before the operation against MQM began. He fled to London and applied for political asylum. Even today he is living there.
There is a famous joke about Altaf Hussain: “Main mulk (country) ki khatir 100 baar marnay ko tayyar hon, Lekin Pakistan nahe aa sakta mairy jaan ko khatra hai.”
In a telephonic address to members of the Interim Rabita (Coordinating) Committee and other party workers, Hussain said he initiated the MQM in Karachi University (KU) to identify the rights of people who migrated during the partition, but over the time, ninety eight per cent of the party’s population had become the voice of the poor and oppressed citizens in the country. He added that his party was not formed to perpetrate hatred towards any nationality or class, but to work for the rights of marginalized people.
There is another joke prevalent in Pakistan: “Karachi is the biggest Indian City outside India situated in Pakistan.”
It is pertinent to mention that the MQM’s Rabita (Coordination) Committee was disbanded earlier on Thursday, a decision approved by party chief Altaf Hussain.
To understand the persona of Hussain, we have to go back into the history of Partition of India.
Gandhiji and Moulana Abul Kalam Azad abhorred the idea of creation of a new country in the name of religion or protection of traditions and values. They were opposed of this geographical monsterity, but they couldn’t resist the flow of events. India was broken like a ‘wood-apple’ crash-opened after hitting it on stone. Two much death and destruction followed after the division of Mother India.
By the wisdom of hindsight, ultimately we find no one is the winner.
Till early ’60s, the population migrated from the four provinces of newly formed state of Pakistan were called SHARANARTHI in India and those who migrated from U.P., Bihar, Bhopal, Rajasthan and Delhi were called Mohajirs in Pakistan. The most common languages of the waves of migrants were Punjabi and Urdu. Bengal and NWFP had also constituted a large of diaspora but more visible and effective role was played by the Muslims of UP and Bihar.
In India, after 1965 the word ‘sharanarthi’ became redundant, as the migrants had been absorbed into the host culture. They were welcomed and all the opportunities, which were available to others, were presented to them also.
Unfortunately, a different kind of story unfolded in Pakistan. The glaring difference between the two migrants was the orientation. Partition was a fait accompli for the people who arrived in India. They had no desire to leave their homes and businesses. They left the land of ancestors out of fear, intimidation and suffocation. Only the circumstances and the cracks of history pushed them into a situation, which they had not asked for.
However, with the few exceptions, most of the people opted for Pakistan out of choice. They were the responsible segment of society that strived for and got partition of India done. Most of them were prosperous in India. Many of them were the part of the feudal society and were known for their close proximity with the rulers. Many of them were highly skilled, educated, wealthy and shrewd. They were the cream of Muslim society. They felt that in an independent and democratic India they would face tough competition.
The majority community in India was Hindu and there was no chance of any equality and supremacy for any Muslims. Fear of unknown and the mirage of prosperity and continuity of status led them to hitherto unknown pastures. The Muhajirs became victims of their fear psychosis. They permanently lost the heaven of India and landed in the new country where living a life of hell with stigma of being Muhajirs became a reality after the initial dreams of romance crashed like shards of glass.
Today, they recall with regret the historical blunder committed by the fathers and grandfathers and it’s hard for Indians to show sympathy for them. While the people came to India became part of solution, the people who migrated to Pakistan are still part of the problem. They are called as Mohajirs even after 66 years.
This group, mainly in Sindh, are 99 % Urdu speaking from India and their leader Altaf Hussain, is called a gangster by rest of the population of Pakistan. He is blamed for killing of thousands of people in the past fifteen to twenty years. At present, he is living in self-imposed exile in the UK.
However, the situation of Indians who settled in Punjab or other provinces is not that bad. As one girl Maryam wrote on Internet: “We are also mohajirs, my grand parents and parents migrated from eastern Punjab, and settled in Lahore, but we never ever called ourselves muhajirs.” Another one wrote, “Well I was born in Lahore and to a Muhajir family. But my grandparents chose to live in Lahore rather than in Karachi where 99.9% of Muhajirs live.
Frankly, I had never ever even smelled hatred or even the slightest discrimination in the northern part of Pakistan i.e. Lahore. The first time I went to Karachi to see my cousins, was the time that I was introduced to this division/ discrimination.
Among my friends, more than 96% are the local Punjabis. And I have never felt the slightest discrimination/ division with them. In fact, I feel that they are the most accomodating and the most indiscriminating and welcoming and open-hearted people. They have their vices that are more or less particular to their society. But for sure they are very friendly people.
The people in Karachi chose to call themselves Muhajirs primarily for many reasons: 1.They faced severe discrimination and hatred from Sindhis. 2. They were in direct competition with the Punjabis in the civil services and business. In the Civil services they did beat the Punjabis to a good extent, as initially they were better educated. However the Punjabis are witty and intelligent and very hardworking people. They beat the Muhajirs in business and subsequently got well educated and turned the tables in other fields.
This Urdu speaking had a bad tendency to cover their failure and incompetency on racial, regional and linguistic discriminatory factors. As a result, they quickly found out the bail out in the regional division i.e. Punjabi and Muhajirs. They blamed the Punjabis for unjustly favoring the fellow beings (Punjabis).
However the private sector is a sector where success is the key factor. The clear-cut success rate of Punjabis demonstrates that the Muhajirs are not right in their allegations.
I would include the speech of the great visionary and freedom fighter Moulana Abul Kalam Azad that is well preserved in the books of history.
My dear brothers today you are leaving our country, did u ever think what will be the outcome of this, if you go away the Muslims in India will become weak. He says " Listen to me carefully, Hindu can differ with your religion but they can’t differ within your clans, but in Pakistan you will face the difference of the clan (qoum) " He also said "What makes me more sad is some people have mixed with British and made the Ijtaymaiyath (togetherness) of Muslims weak, Now my dear Muslim brothers we have only one thing with us, and that is Islam, we have saved Islam, the sun of Islam will never go down in India. That group which can’t save themselves, even the law can’t save them.
Pakistan is formed by those leaders who never actively took part in independence except for personal use and they have implemented thoughts of British of dividing Muslims. Now the damage has been done, the Muslims of the both countries aren’t going to save each other until they are prone to politics and weakness. These two countries will now focus on military and there will not be any development of the society "
He said: “I called you, you cut my tongue. I raised my hands and you have cut my hands. I wanted to move ahead and you cut my legs. I wanted to bring a change and YOU have broken my backbone. All those who have taken the prestigious name of Hijrath (migration in the name of religion) for going away please think. Try to think using your brain. Then see where are you going and why are you going and see this Masjid of Delhi is asking you a question, lift your eyes and see, these domes of Shahjahan Masjid are asking you where you have lost your history. The places of elders are asking you, with whom you are leaving us, the echoes of Allahu Akbar of azan is asking you, on whose mercy you are leaving us. Today, you have been filled with fear, today in Delhi lines are drawn with your blood. My friends fill yourself with basic understanding, don’t fear with these things."