Apr 11, 2008
Altaf Hussain has resigned as leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). His stated reasoning: his party failed to contain the violence in Karachi on Wednesday. In one incident, up to five lawyers were locked in an office room and burned alive.
Yet, rather than being conciliatory, Altaf is currently giving one of his characteristically bizarre speeches, lambasting the lawyers’ movement, Punjab, and the Muslim League-Nawaz.
I would take this news with a grain of salt. Altaf could be issuing an easily retractable resignation to rally his supporters. His move could be a crude imitation of Aitzaz Ahsan’s resignation from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) on Tuesday. Regardless, Altaf will still be controlling the shots in the MQM.
Update: 11:54AM (New York) – For those of you who don’t know, Altaf Hussain heads the MQM from London and speaks to crowds in Karachi via telephone calls that are broadcast on speakers. In the middle of his speech, his telephone connection disconnected. Then, Farooq Sattar of the MQM said that if Altaf Hussain does not retract his resignation, the party’s entire coordinating committee and all of its elected legislators will resign. He said no one will leave the MQM headquarters, Nine-Zero, till Altaf calls back. And the Emmy goes to………
Update: 12:16PM – Altaf Hussain has called back. Apparently got a new calling card.
Update: 12:20PM – FYI, a 21-member Sindh cabinet took its oath today. Twenty were People’s Party (PPP) members and one was from the Awami National Party (ANP). No MQM right now.
Update: 12:23PM – Altaf Hussain has taken back his resignation. The whole charade lasted less than an hour. The crowd has been chanting his name for about five minutes. Great performance. Friday evening, prime time.