KARACHI – As violence raged in the city on Thursday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) mysteriously stayed out of the picture but the Mohajir Rabita Council (MRC) issued statements and handled the political situation.
After Senior Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s outburst against MQM chief Altaf Hussain, the citizens witnessed the death of 16 innocent people while 18 more were injured and 36 vehicles burnt to ashes.
A protest wave started from Karachi, spreading to other parts of Sindh, but Altaf’s statement came as a sigh of relief for the citizens. He made an impassionate appeal to end the protest against the racial and highly-bigoted language used against the children of the founders of Pakistan, keeping in view the perilous situation of the country.
However, it was observed on Thursday that the MRC remained active throughout the day as the media also carried statements of the council’s leadership but the MQM leadership remained silent, even though the MQM does not recognise MRC as its subsidiary body; giving rise to the question: has the MRC became more powerful than the MQM?
On Thursday morning, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik apologised to Altaf on behalf of Mirza, but it was not the MQM leadership that rejected or accepted his apology, but the MRC came to the fore with its general secretary Arshad Siddiqui dismissing Malik’s apology and demanding that Mirza apologises to the MQM chief personally.
The MRC also demanded that President Asif Ali Zardari immediately removes Mirza from his post or he will be held responsible for the situation in the city. Then Mirza himself issued a statement seeking apology, but this time too the MRC came forward and rejected the senior minister’s apology, demanding that Mirza and Awami National Party (ANP)-Sindh President Shahi Syed leave Karachi within 48 hours, or the situation may not normalise.
The MRC, claiming to be a group of elders of the Mohajir community, became famous after issuing a list of ‘chauvinist journalists’ on March 23, 2007, naming journalists, writers and analysts, ‘working against the offspring of the Pakistan Movement leaders.’
Once again on Thursday, the MRC became active suddenly and started accepting or rejecting apologies. Observers say that as the MQM tries to spread to other parts of the country, it is avoiding confrontation and cannot speak against other linguistic groups openly. And that is why the MRC is being made active to play a linguistic role as not a single statement of MRC was contradicted by the MQM.