There was a time in Karachi that MQM was considered symbol of shia sunni unity. Their work after liaqatabad sectarian fights was the reason why both shia and sunni started supporting this group. MQM’s leader strong statement after any terrorist attack on shia community earned him respect from shias of Karachi and all over Pakistan. They even won a seat in Gilgit Baltistan in a shia majority area due to MQM’s friendly approach towards a community victimized for their specifically their believes.
There was absolutely no tension between shia and mqm apart from a little goat skin snatching incidents from shia orgs here and there but that is done without any discrimination of faith so nobody gave importance to such petty issues and MQM enjoyed shia vote bank and support. After assassination of BB and elections following the incident, PPP won simple majority in Sindh and did not require any partners to form government. Although PPP, did include MQM as partner but MQM did not enjoy much political power as compared to the powers they had in Arbab Ghulam Rahim’s cabinet which made them uneasy as they were looking forward to get similar political power like interior ministry etc. During the same election as major development occurred. Jama Binoria announced full support to MQM instead of going for any right wing Islamic party.
This was shocking but people at that time thought that it is a good development and it will help moderation of Jama Binoria’s extreme view. But its effect started to be extreme opposite. After ashura blast in 2009, many people blamed that MQM has helped Takfiris in carrying it out.
What raised suspicion was distribution of phosphorus bags for burning down shops right after blast and the CCTV camera installed above the site where bomb was placed did not provide any video of the incident day or when the bomb was being placed. CDGK under MQM claimed that the camera was not working. It raised suspicion because it was the only camera not working on route of a high security procession. Some shia raised fingers but it was rejected by majority of shias keeping in mind that mqm had a shia friendly background. But later on, daily target killing of shias in Karachi created unrest among all the community as they many prominent and common people were targeted and killed. Majority of this killing was happening in MQM dominated areas so naturally shias turn to MQM for help but met with very cold attitude from the people they voted and supported. MQM leaders almost stopped coming to funerals of Shia victims.
Moreover, members of MQM Orangi town unit tried to snatch shia dead bodies from incholi in front of victim families so they can claim it as Mahajir Genocide and show them as their martyrs.These acts were ignored again as most of the shias again termed it as an individual isolated act. Meanwhile, tensions in Malir grew as a shia funeral was attacked and one of the attacker who was killed by Police was claimed as a member by both MQM and SSP. Moreover, SSP infiltrated MQM units in malir and started created rifts between shia community and MQM.
The biggest blow to relation between MQM and Shia community came after assassination of an active shia community member Askari Raza. His family and friends started a protest in front of governor house which turned massive in few moments and first of its kind. As moments of that cold night passed, with a dead body on street and several thousand women, kids and elderly sitting on street, the arrogant attitude from governor house made all shias feel ignored and sense of betrayal by MQM started creeping in the majority. Finally after 7 hours and intervention from Faisal Raza Abidi and Shehla Raza, Governor decided to help nominate CID chief Chowdry Aslam and Aurengzeb Farooqi in the FIR.
Governor came out addressed the crowd and told them that on order of MQM Chief Altaf Hussain, he has decided to help Askari’s family in nomination of FIR. Shia although were charged by arrogant attitude but went home after Faisal Raza Abidi assured them of action. If this episode took a bitter turn after Mufti Naeem called on Governor Ishratul Ebad and arranged his meeting ASWJ chief Ludhyanvi on and after that meeting Police removed the name of Aurengzeb Farooqi and Chowdry Aslam.
For this favor by governor, later on while Chowdry Aslam was used against Lyari Gangsters supporting PPP, Farooqi went on doing what he does best and dead bodies coming to shia community increased even more. This encouraged Shia Ulema Council to stage a major protest in city. That protest was exactly like Askari Raza’s protest but it lacked a dead body so it took Governor Sindh 36 hours to give time to shia delegation for meeting. Most of the shias were shocked as their families were on street for 36 hours in cold weather while governor tried to scare protesters by Arial firing in areas around the protests.
Meanwhile ASWJ kept getting meeting with honorable governor on single phone call from Mufti Naeem. This created gap between shia community and MQM, at this point ASWJ was gaining strength and state backed DPC was carrying out political gatherings with chants of Shia Kaffir in every city. Shia were counting on MQM and PPP’s but their ignorance of DPC gatherings in Karachi despite MQM having the power to stop media backed CJ from holding any gathering in Karachi made shia community members to think for any other option. A little known shia right activist organization Majlis-e-Wehdat-e-Muslimeen announced going political and taking part in all political activities. They identified the gap and started their organization from Karachi which was met was a very positive response from shia community.
Initially MWM tried to create good relationship with MQM
but the arrogance of MQM was evident as they considered Shia community to be their pocket voters who were not allowed to demand anything since MQM is their only option. Meanwhile, meetings between banned outfit leaders and MQM continued on phone calls by Mufti Naeem.
MWM workers were openly threatened around city for any political activity. MQM visited local imam bargahs and asked the management not to let MWM people come in and hold events.
MQM responded on meeting with takfiris as necessity for peace in Karachi started to equate those meeting with meeting shia community orgs. This was hurtful as shia would have to carry out mass processions with women and children to get a failed meeting while ASWJ being a banned terrorist outfit( with its vice president in jail for killing French Nuclear technicians and attack on Sri Lankan team) can easily get their demands met because of governor and Mufti Naeem connection.
Meanwhile, open threats to shia community not supporting MQM turned into violent action after a shia youth Danish Zaidi in incholi was gunned down in front of his mother at gate of his home inside a complete shia neighborhood. All the people knew that he had an ugly quarrel with local MQM unit members during the three day sit-in for alamdar road victims. An assassination attempt happened after Safdar Abbas had a quarrel with MQM members in Gulistan-e-Johar but he survived. Safdar Abbas was later targeted along with Muhammad Aleem(Hazara Elder) of MWM a few days after he submitted papers of Muhammad Aleem to contest local bodies election from Mughal Hazara area. This is becoming quite evident that some local members of MQM are using violent tactics to suppress shia community in Karachi. Instead of MQM leaders identifying the rats within planted by Jama Binoria, They are blaming MWM for creating difference between Shia community and MQM. Although, MQM being a large political party with new found support from Jama binoria will not lose any seats in election but their arrogance of zero self accountability in this regard can cause them much harm in future. All eyes are on MQM leader Altaf Hussain to intervene and filter his party from Takfiri elements. MQM should look for their support from moderate non violent communities rather than going for an easy route to power on back of right wing extremists of Jama Binoria.