Altaf Hussain was arrested in London for money laundering and other charges. The arrest was made after an intensive investigation spread over months, because such an extensive probe was necessary to avoid any potential embarrassment for the UK government, had the charges against a popular political leader fallen apart. Even though the MQM needs to stand united in these troubled times, it is time to flip a new page in its politics. It is time for moderates in the party to come forward and replace the hardliners, who will try to exploit the situation.

It’s a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for MQM to get rid of the cult of personality that surrounds its leaders, and become a truly democratic political party. The MQM needs a soft-spoken leader, ready to accommodate and accept all ethnic groups in urban Sindh as stake holders, and to divorce themselves from politics of violence. It was the Karachi vote bank which elevated Altaf Hussain to become a ‘king’; one can only hope that the same vote bank will help MQM choose a leader who can stabilize the city with tenacious efforts mixed with genuine concern.


Saudi Arab, June 8.