It has to
It should be highly embarrassing for a political party when its head is arrested by the police of another country and made to pass through a humiliating and repeated process of interrogation and bail on charges of money laundering. Altaf Hussain has been bailed out but not left off the hook. Arrests of target killers and recovery of lethal weapons from the party’s Karachi office followed by confessional statements maintaining that crimes like target killings and burning people alive were committed on orders from party bosses should also worry the party leaders. It is time for the MQM’s rank and file to review how to salvage the party’s reputation.
The MQM is the fourth largest party in the NA. It still holds sway in the urban areas of Sindh. The party has worked hard to project itself as a mainstream party. It has tried to set up party branches in Punjab, KP and Balochistan. It has managed to get representation in AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan Assemblies. With the challenges facing the party now, it is time MQM gets rid of the armed wing which has become a mill stone around its neck. The party is bound to get isolated further if it is seen to be unwilling to part with its baggage of target killers, extortionists, land grabbers and criminals of all sorts.
Being in a continuous state of denial would not help. Saulat Mirza was not the only one to own that he had killed on orders from a party leader nor is he going to be the last one. With the arrest of Moazzam Ali Khan a new Pandora’s Box is likely to open. There is no way the MQM can function like before if it doesn’t reinvent itself. It has to say good bye to a shady past and start with a clean state. By doing this the party might retrieve a lot that would otherwise be lost forever. It remains to be seen if the MQM is prepared to undergo the change.