Azizabad MPA among new MQM dissidents to join KamalPakistan
KARACHI: Former Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Rabita Committee member Waseem Aftab and sitting member of the Sindh Assembly, Iftikhar Alam, became the latest dissidents from the MQM to join Mustafa Kamal’s ranks.
Iftikhar Alam was fielded by MQM for Karachi's PS-106 constituency in Azizbabad area where the party headquarters Nine Zero is located.
Former mayor of Karachi, Kamal, held a third press conference on Thursday to announce their arrival.
Kamal clarified that his political party does not plan to contest the next general elections.
"Today, I welcome two friends, Waseem Aftab, former Rabita Committee member and former head of KTC and Iftikhar Alam, who is a member of the Sindh Assembly from Azizabad," said Kamal at the start of the press conference.
Waseem Aftab said, "Hundreds have sacrificed their lives, hundreds yet live in exile."
"I have come to realise that the corruption is not in this world, but within our ranks, and perhaps, at the head of our spring, the person we have worshipped."
Referring to MQM's earlier political alliances with the Pakistan People's Party, he stated, "We united with the PPP, but the outcome was that we could neither be their friends nor enemies."
"Whenever the party was in a position of leverage to help the citizens, we left the PPP-led coalition. The PML-Q, which was non-existent, managed to attain important posts including that of the deputy prime minister while we were left rubbing our hands," added Aftab.
"We want to see Pakistan as a respected nation, and we have gathered to prevent more bloodshed," said Aftab.
The new addition to Kamal's camp also stated that if MQM's leader cared for his workers, he would not have asked them to collect sacrificial hides on Eid at a time when it was difficult, due to the restrictions imposed by the state.
"Party workers were not used like regular tissue paper, but as toilet paper," said Aftab, an oft-heard phrase first uttered by death-row inmate Saulat Mirza.
He elaborated that once party workers die, the only service they receive is a free hearse.
"We have not come to fight, we have come to make amends," said Aftab as he ended his statement.
"I announce my resignation from MQM and the provincial assembly."
"The bodies should stop falling, too many have died for nothing," said Alam.
Elaborating on why he resigned from MQM, Alam stated that, "My turning point was when I visited my constituency of Liaquatabad, and I had to lie to my constituents and defend the hypocrisy of Altaf."
"MQM is a cult of personality which revolves around Altaf," said Alam.
"He (Altaf) instigated workers. How far should workers be pushed to prove their loyalty?" questioned the now-former MQM MPA.
He added that for the party's chief, workers losing their lives holds very little meaning.
"He is never satisfied with any sacrifice rendered in his name," stated Alam.
"Every year, Altaf makes false promises to his workers and with the families of those who have been killed while serving MQM."
Alam continued and said, "We gave everything that we had, but in return we only received a pat on the back. Leaving a political party after 30 years is not easy," said Alam.
Read: Unsurprised at Kamal's outburst, MQM fears defections
Earlier this week on Monday, MQM's senior lawmaker and coordination committee member, Dr Sagheer Ahmed, announced his decision to part ways with MQM, ending his 28-year long affiliation with the political party.
Ahmed's name is included in the ranks of senior MQM lawmakers and notable politicians from Karachi. He is the first senior politician to have joined the former mayor of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal, after his return to the country.
Earlier on Thursday morning, MQM workers launched the 'Clean Karachi Campaign' (CKC) as scheduled by top party representative Farooq Sattar in an announcement earlier this week to clean up both streets and minds in Karachi.
The MQM leader had claimed that the initiative will 'kill two birds with one stone', as the party reels from rumours of party chief Altaf Hussain's ill-health and the return of Mustafa Kamal and Anees Qaimkhani to the political scene and Dr Sagheer Ahmed's switch of loyalty towards Mustafa Kamal, leaving his political party of 28 years.