Is our top leadership still slave to the colonial mindset? Why has Islamabad not formally protested to UK authorities for allowing their citizen Altaf Hussain to incite hatred and revolt against Pakistan and its national security institutions? There could be no greater misfortune that our ruling elite prefer its strong business and real estate interests in UK over national interests. We now understand how such a leadership compromises the nation’s sovereignty and self-respect.

Pakistanis also do not like the fact that Scotland Yard or London Metropolitan police dragged criminal cases related to money laundering and Imran Farooq’s murder against Altaf Hussain for so long. The UK’s elite law enforcement and investigation agencies cannot be that inefficient and lethargic that after years of investigation they failed to bring these cases to their logical conclusion as per law.

Why is the British establishment hesitant in cracking down on Altaf’s London Headquarters that remains the epicenter of MQM’s criminal mafia activities in Karachi? How would London react if a UK national residing in Pakistan was allowed to preach violence and unrest and encouraged armed resistance against the UK? The British government has a moral responsibility to at least restrain Altaf Hussain from making hate speeches from London.

Pakistanis wonder if there exists a UK-MQM nexus that aims to keep Karachi destabilised? Is Altaf Hussain part of a greater international agenda with respect to Karachi’s future status? Is the MQM leader’s demand for a separate province for the Urdu speaking community the first step towards the division of Sindh that could trigger further calls for more provinces on ethnic bases within the federation?

One cannot ignore the startling revelations by Owett Bennet Jones in a report carried by The Guardian on July 29, 2013, that highlighted a strong collusion between MQM and UK’s establishment. In his words, “The MQM is British turf: Karachi is one of the few places left on earth in which the Americans let Britain take the lead. The US consulate in Karachi no longer runs active intelligence gathering operations in the city. The British still do”.

Jones further writes, “When it comes to claiming a place at the top table of international security politics – London’s relationship with the MQM is a remaining toehold”. The above mentioned article reinforces our doubts about the dubious role of foreign agencies in interfering in Karachi’s affairs through their local proxies.

The Army Chief General Raheel Sharif through his recent statements pointed towards the involvement of foreign forces/agencies in fomenting unrest in Balochistan, and said that there exists a pattern behind the target killings in Karachi. The recently held Army Corps Commanders’ conference also minced no words and clearly blamed India’s RAW for being behind acts of terrorism in Pakistan.

After Altaf Hussain’s most recent venomous and highly derogatory outburst against the Pakistan Army, the state has no choice but to act firmly against him in accordance with the Constitution and law. This is also not the first time that he crossed the line by maligning the armed forces and its leadership. Very cleverly he apologized the next day, hoping that the trick may work like in the past and the matter would be forgotten. But not this time.

One must commend the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies for passing a unanimous resolution of condemnation against Altaf Husain and calling for his trial under article six for treason against the state. A resolution is already tabled in Punjab Assembly that will hopefully be passed in a similar manner. The National Assembly and Senate have yet to make a decisive move in this respect.

In the eyes of PPP’s leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, the matter stands resolved after Altaf Hussain’s apology. The PPP’s pro MQM bias is natural. The MQM-PPP nexus, or to be more specific the Zardari-Altaf Hussain partnership, is a major beneficiary of Karachi’s disorder and lawlessness. Both parties stand to gain from criminal activities.

The federally backed Karachi operation led by Rangers as well as the presence of top military commanders in the Apex Committee are not welcome to both these parties. The Sindh Assembly where the PPP has a majority seems in no mood to pass even a mildly worded resolution against the leader of their friendly opposition in the Assembly.

So what are MQM’s options in light of the ongoing Rangers operation and the emerging situation after Altaf Hussain’s declaration of war against the state and its institutions? How long will the saner elements in the party continue to bear the humiliation of daily live media confessions of target killers who are alleged to have direct or indirect links with the MQM? Should Karachi’s promising youth continue on a criminal path to become ‘langras, tundas, lambas, paharis and sarpathas’, instead of rising to be distinguished scientists, engineers, doctors and generals in the service of country?

Did people join the MQM so that Karachites would kill each other? Is it not a tragedy that over 250 innocent and poor people of Karachi were burnt to death in the Baldia factory simply because the factory owner refused to pay ‘bhatta’ to criminals allegedly linked to the MQM?

Let the moderate MQM leadership show true courage and renounce militancy and help the state dismantle the terror network and disarm the misguided elements. Knowing the determination of the state towards de-weaponising Karachi, it would be imprudent to surrender all weapons before the state. This should also apply to other political parties including Zardari’s PPP that harbours armed groups in Karachi.

The MQM’s success in NA 246 elections that were held under Rangers watchful eyes proved that MQM’s political endeavors will not be obstructed in any way. The MQM is welcome as a political force and should strive to make its impact on the political scenario both at the federal and provincial level. As a party that represents the urban middle class and has an anti-feudal character the MQM, if correctly guided and organised, has the potential to take off in other provinces as well.

The party’s young and dynamic leadership of the Mustafa Kamal style and its committed workers in Karachi and interior Sindh must come forward to save the party and guide it to a truly political and democratic path towards non-violence and peace. They should renounce the ethnic card and become part of the Pakistani mainstream. The nation would welcome a new and reformed MQM with open arms.