MQM Goes to the Punjab: What Will Come of it?

Posted on April 25, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Politics
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Adil Najam

News reports suggest that the MQM (now the Muttihada Quami Movement) has held large simultaneous rallies in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan with its leader in “voluntary” exile Altaf Hussain addressing the rallies over the phone.

It would be fair to say that the MQM has been a largely Karachi-based but increasingly urban-Sindh phenomenon wielding immense political influence in those areas and that most people in the Punjab have looked at the party, its tactics and its leadership with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. The party’s leader, Altaf Hussain, who is now a British citizen and has lived in voluntary exile in London for over 18 years still seems to hold total control over the party and his phenomenon is even less comprehensible to many outside of the MQM’s traditional stronghold areas.

The MQM has, in fact, been trying to expand its areas of influence, including in the Punjab. First outside of Karachi and Hyderabad to the rest of urban Sindh, then into rural Sindh, and more recently into the rest of the country. The push into Punjab seems to be a concerted one and is synchornized and planned. It remains to be seen what, if anything, will come out of this. But given the political and organizational resources the MQM brings with it, this is clearly a challenge to Punjab’s political status quo that they will not be taking lightly.

I myself am not at all sure what this means. Is the MQM truly out on a national expansion or whether this is a move geared more towards consolidating their position in Sindh rather than actually expanding into the Punjab? What sort of political reception will they get in the Punjab, and from whom? What are they reading in the political tea leaves about the changing fortunes of the established parties in the Punjab – the PPP and PMLs – and also about the political frustrations of the general electorate? How will the other players respond to this move?

Like much that comes out of the MQM, there seems to be a thought-out plan behind this move, but it is not yet clear what it is.

46 responses to “MQM Goes to the Punjab: What Will Come of it?”

  1. All Other so-called parties are sriking. PML -N & Q to punjab . PPP to sindh & ANP to NWFP . only MQM is growing ALL Over pakistan . Welcome Bhai welcome, Punjab is also yours.

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