Once the dust finally on the Altaf Hussain – MQM saga, in the coming days, and some semblance of normalcy returns to Pakistan’s erratic political ballad, there will still be no way to walk away from the fact that Altaf Hussain, and anyone who supports him or makes excuses for him, is now an anti-State actor. There will be no way to ignore the fact that Altaf’s (let us no call him “Mr. Hussain”, please!) traitorous supporters, who claim that “Bhai, aap ka aik ishara chahiye…” are enemies of the State and the people of Pakistan. And anyone who supports the cause of Altaf – which is not the same as the Muhajir cause – is a part of the darkness that needs to be vanquished from the soul of our nation.

In a series of events that is only possible in Pakistani politics, a deranged individual, who is not a citizen of this country, in his drunken stupor, was able to incite supporters (who claim to be descendants of a people who sacrificed everything for Pakistan) to should slogans against this country, and then take to the streets against the nation’s public as well as private institutions. And then, perhaps even more surprisingly, a group of his cohorts were able to orchestrate some well-crafted series of press conferences, in order to distance themselves from the words of their rabid ‘Quaid’.

We should all be past the point of trying to make sense of this. We should be past the point of trying to reason through the despicable tirades of nonsense. We should be past the point of allowing a locust to rule over Karachi, leaving a trail of body-bags has his only real legacy.

Except that we are not. Even today, all across our media channels, there are those who are putting up a sheepish defense for this maniacal individual, and proclaiming him to be their Quaid.

There is no point arguing with, or talking about, Altaf anymore. He is beyond whatever reason and salvation is open to humankind; and his lot will perhaps best be decided in the afterlife; which is expected to be soon, for him. However, the real trouble, the lasting cancer within our society, are those who continue to mount a deplorable defense of the indefensible.

Can we really allow such people to continue to be legitimate players within our political diaspora? Can these bastions of treachery be allowed to grace our television screens, night after night, with the singular aim of diluting out their Quaid’s sins? Is this the first time that Altaf has acted in this manner? Are we really so naïve as to believe that the MQM eyewash, which Dr. Farooq Sattar is so desperately trying to construct, will last for long? Has the MQM leadership really disassociated itself from Altaf? If so, will they not become a party to the case against Altaf? Will they provide the necessary proofs? Will they identify the lepers within their ranks?

This is not the first such episode in MQM saga. Altaf, as part of his façade of singing songs, being drunk, screaming bloody murder and shedding crocodile tears, also likes to resign from the party from time to time. The first major occurrence of this phenomenon took place in December of 1992, when Altaf announced his retirement from the party, in favour of the then MQM Chairman Azeem Ahmed Tariq. Within three months, however, Altaf had become active again, constituting a Raabita committee between Karachi and London, with Ishtiaq Azhar as its convener. Soon thereafter, in a trademark Altaf move, Azeem Tariq was assassinated soon thereafter, in his Federal B Area home, on 1st May, 1993.

Under Altaf’s remote-controlled leadership, MQM has developed a reputation of violence, murder and extortion. Buzzwords such as ‘target-killing’ and ‘no-go-areas’ became a part of the regular vernacular of Karachi. Young boys, in their mid-teens, clothed with MQM flags and a Kalashnikov, became the most feared sighting in urban centers of Sindh. In fact, the notorieties of MQM have also bestowed several international tributes to the party – in 2001, the US State Department threatened to put MQM on the list of terrorist organisations, and in 2006, the Federal Court of Canada declared MQM as a terrorist organisation (not allowing party members to visit and stay in Canada).

This, coupled with numerous confessions of MQM workers before JITs, including reports presented before the honorable Sindh High Court, which presents incontrovertible sources, conversations and confessions that clearly demonstrate how MQM’s leadership, working under the command of Altaf, ordered Baldia Factory to be burnt (killing at least 258 workers), when the factory owners refused to pay Rs. 200 million as extortion money. As recently as a few days back, the Rangers claimed having arrested 654 MQM-affiliated target killers, working on the instructions of Altaf, involved in 5,863 incidents.

According to official records (presented at the time of passing of the National Reconciliation Ordinance, 2009), over 72 cases of extortion and violence, including 32 cases of murder, have been registered against Altaf Hussain personally, throughout the courts of Pakistan. Not to mention allegations concerning the murder of the Imran Farooq, and laundering of over 400,000 pounds.

There is an argument to be made that, over the past three decades, Altaf has done more damage to Pakistan than any Indian leader or organisation could do. At the very least, a reasonable person would almost certainly agree that India would have been able to do less damage to Pakistan, were it not for Altaf, joyously forwarding the cause of violence in Karachi.

And yet, day after day, members of MQM attempt to defend this ‘Quaid’.

Whether or not we can try Altaf in Pakistani courts is a matter of international extradition law; but should we not, at least, take measures against those who defend and support him still, sitting inside of Pakistan?

Post-Script: There is a video clip, making rounds recently, in which some MQM supporters make a reference to Altaf being Maula Hussain (A.S.) of this time! Politics aside, do these people have no conscience? Do they have no measure of what such references mean? Are they devoid of all sense of humanity? Are they really comparing this murderous traitor to the guardians of paradise? Have our political moralities deprecated to such an extent that we can no longer tell the difference between pure evil and eternal salvation? Are we really so caught up in the age of sectarian turf-war that nothing is sacred anymore? Do they believe that Altaf Hussain will be their redemption on that final day of deliverance? If there are people who walk the earth making such claims, the end of times must be near.