The outspoken leader of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has once again called for the army to take on the helms of the approaching revolution. He asked the Pakistan army to take the side of the people, as oppose to the rich and landlords, in this revolution. He further stated that the army should play a similar role as the militaries of Arab countries recently did. This article looks at political environment and the message conveyed by the MQM leader in his speech today.
The first time the head of MQM, who is self exiled in England, asked the army to jump in was in the aftermath of the devastating floods last year. In his assessment of the situation after the floods, Altaf Hussain had called for a system change supported by the military.
In addition, he had also pleaded the destitute farmers, whose lands and crops had been destroyed by the ravaging floods, to rise against the feudal system. Some of the landlords had been accused of shifting the direction of the waters away from their properties, while as a consequence destroying the crops of helpless surrounding villages, particularly in Sind province. Furthermore, the party leader had also talked about the highly sensitive issue of land reform and imposing agriculture tax. MQM knows particularly well that these topics can damage the political base of Pakistan Muslim Leaque-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party.
At the time, MQM leader had come under harsh criticism from across the political spectrum, to have called for an unconstitutional intrusion of the army. Altaf Hussain clarified in his speech yesterday that he was not calling for a martial law. After the break-up of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) coalition in Punjab last week, MQM is once again attempting to shape the political agenda of the country.
His speech, on one hand, appeared to be inciting the people for revolution but on the other, called for the army to play its role. At the same time, Altaf Hussain appeared to be threatening the military by direclty blaming it for poverty in the country, and for its past role in siding with the wealthy and the landlords.
The current rhetoric’s from both MQM and PML-N represents a desire to align with public opinion, after they both were part of the coalition with the PPP led government. Furthermore, each party sensing change in the political setup and isolation of PPP, is maneuvering to time their political moves for maximum electoral benefit. However, the party that appears to be dramatically gaining public support, and has the moral integrity behind it, is Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI).