Why is Altaf Hussain afraid of Taliban?

  • By Nadia Khan

    MQM, formerly an ethnic group and now a secular political force is quite vocal against Taliban in Karachi in last few months. Altaf Hussain has issued number of warnings to Karachi residents and to highest govt authorities about it.

    Most recent is when he was quoting famous Sufi saint of Sind, Shah Latif poetry in which he had pointed that, “the land of Sind could have problems from people of Qandahar, a place in Afghanistan.” MQM London based founder is now attributing the Shah’s poetry as a warning symbol against the people of Qandahar – Taliban presence in Karachi.

    There are various factors based on that MQM feels threatened by Taliban in Karachi and over all Sind province:

    1. Taliban was founded by Naseer ullah Babar, former interior minister in Benazir led PPP govt, who had devised most cruel strategy of his time – by killing MQM activists involved in heinous crimes without any judicial trial, through Police encounters. The reason he had presented was even more gruesome & worth noting, as “if I take them to court for judicial trial they would set free soon due to missing evidences.” His draconian approach had made him the most ruthless minister of his time however he had cleansed Karachi from number of armed activists who had taken the city hostage like Khajji ground. Today, MQM feels that Taliban, if come over to Karachi, could follow the same approach while dealing with terrorists of Karachi & Hyderabad!

    2. Taliban, though founded during Benazir era, are now engaged with PPP-led NWFP govt in setting up peace deal, and hence if they dominate Karachi, they could deal with PPP or ANP easily.

    3. Taliban spokesperson, Muslim Khan, is an old ally of PPP and had lived larger span of his life in exile and now an active participant of its hardcore religious ideology.

    4. Taliban could form a loose alliance with other religious-political parties active in Karachi or Hyderabad to take over the city. Fazlur Rahman religious schools influence is also visible in Karachi and interior Sind. He is an all time opportunist and could tilt towards Taliban, if find them in a power-sharing situation.

    5. There are number of religious schools of Deubandi thoughts (Madrasas) in Karachi such as Jamia Binnoria in New Town & Site led by Mufti Naeem, Darul Uloom in Korangi led by Mufti Rafi & Taqi Usmanis, Jamia Farooqia in Shah Faisal colony led Maulana Saleem Ullah Khan & his sons – for all of them Taliban should have soft corner as all of them have favoured Afghan Jihad, during General Zia era, and many of the Taliban students have been graduated from these institutions directly or indirectly.

    6. Maulana Sami ul Haq, of Aqura Khatak, has received the heroic welcome (like a bridegroom) from Taliban, when he visited Kabul during 2000, is also in line with Karachi-based Deubandi religious schools.

    7. Another religious force, Jamat e Islami, though not getting popular votes in Karachi, but likely an alternative political & likeminded force, acceptable to Taliban, if they strike here in Sind after NWFP.

    8. Barelvi faction is also a silent but a strong force in Karachi environment, represented by either Sunni Tehreek during Rabi ul Awal processions or Shah Turab ul Haq Qadri’s group. Their main leadership was killed during a religious procession few years back and MQM was prime suspects, or miscellaneous religious groups such as Gulzar e Habib, could not be difficult segments for Deubandi religious forces like Taliban to form a loose association at govt level.

    9. By looking at the teachings of Dawat e Islami (those who wear green turban), activists of Jamiet ulma e Pakistan (those who wears brown turban) and Tablighei Jamat’s Makki and Madani mosques followers – all of them, beside few main differences, are all in favour of similar interpretation of Shariah - growing beard for men, observing veil for women, five times prayers in mosques and other basics tents of Islam. Such elements shall not stage confrontations with Taliban or any religious force that enforce Shariah directly, if they come in power in Karachi.

    10. The heroic welcome of Umm e Hissan, wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz, administrator of Madrasha Hafsa & Lal Mosque, Islamabad, when she visited Karachi, has open the eyes of number of political activists including MQM in the city.

    11. The rise of religious education among females is becoming a new phenomenon in Karachi. Schools like Madrash e Aysha in Gulistan e Juhar, a vicinity in Karachi, is meant for only girls where Quranic education including Hifz (memorization) is imparted free of charge. This religious seminary is run by a female who is direct descendent of one of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, late Chaudhry Muhammad Ali and is close relative of former Senate Chairman and Law Minister in Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet. This could help identify the elites in Karachi are turning themselves towards religion.

    12. Other than such religious forces, when I visited Karachi last month, I have noticed every second man has grown beard, every third woman was observing veil and many of the young population, regardless of the sect they belong to or practice, were offering prayers in mosques quite religiously. All this tilt is pointing towards a new approach of rising Islamism among Karachi residents regardless of the fact that they have been forced towards secularism by a political party or its splinter groups in last two decades.

    With above religious factors, silently active in Karachi environment, it is quite easily understood that MQM founding father is feeling threatened as these religious forces could get unified any moment by forming an alliance against corruption, lawlessness, and other street crimes in the city provided they have some support to counter the armed retaliation of MQM. Taliban could become a counter force!

    Karachi residents are still vocal about the crimes in the city and business community members are sceptical about Bhattas (money collected by force from shop keepers & business men), skins or mobile snatching especially during eid days and pick-pocket activities by politically affiliated youngsters. MQM leadership shall not be held responsible for unit-level workers crime activities however this has paved the way for a bigger change at Sind level – right from the Chief Minister to Governor Levels, a need of a sincere political leadership!

    The crown of Karachi might go to a new face soon!

    Nadia Khan is a freelance journalist. She writes about Islam, Pakistan, Politics, Taliban, and terrorism. Nadia is completing her doctorate (PhD) degree this year. She shuttle between two cities, living in Dubai and studying in London.


  • In points 4 through 11 she pretty much covers every Sunni you can think of except the secularized class that doesn't really have a religion except in name only. The phrasing suggests that she considers all these groups extremists, to be watched, and scrutinized in every way. She then goes on to say that she sees the majority of Karachiites becoming more religious....something every democracy toting "liberal" secularist should take note of. She then goes on to imply that these religious forces could bring much needed justice. The wording used in this article leaves one wondering just what Nadia Khan is trying to say.....and more importantly..leaves one questioning why she trying so hard to avoid directly saying so much that she seems to be confusedly implying in her article?

  • We have to be apprehended about madrassa students and Taliban attempting to take over the city. I dont see any reason whatsoever why Taliban wont attempt. You must understand 90% of madrassa owners have a soft corner for Taliban and they can be easily converted into Taliban army in KArachi. We make a fool of ourselves when we say Taliban wont come outside of NWFP. Back 5-7 yers, all Pakistani journalists and analysts and government used to say Taliban will never come to Pakistan and they will stay in Afghanistan. Well, did'nt take them long to capture FATA. Then all these analysts started saying they will never come out of FATA, well, they are in Swat now. These analsys/journalists/TAliban-advocate now say Taliban will contain themselves in Swat and NWFP.

    Basically, these advocates of Taliban try to put Pakistani people to sleep and let Taliban gain ground.

    I think MQM is doing the right thing. We should be worried about rising islamism in KArachi. We should be worried about seeing more young men going to mosques and more young women covering their heads. Every indication of our people turning to religion should be of concern for us, not because religion itself is harmful but because of the fact how easily those enthusiastic innocent young men can fall prey to these barbaric and cunning extremists. We should do anything we can to stop these Taliban terrorist gaining ground in KArachi even if it has to be at the cost of MQM gaining further power in KArachi.

    As must as I deplore MQM, I find myself taking MQM side on this issue.

    Also, being brought up in KArachi I firmly believe that people of KArachi will never want to see these religious biggots taking control of the city. Yes, Karachiites does support Jamat-e-islami but there is a huge different between jamat's ideology and Taliban and deobandi madrassa mafia.

  • bsobaid..


    "We should be worried about rising islamism in KArachi. We should be worried about seeing more young men going to mosques and more young women covering their heads"

    "We should do anything we can to stop these Taliban terrorist gaining ground in KArachi even if it has to be at the cost of MQM gaining further power in KArachi"


  • honest analysis and showing what is exactly on the ground ,ant these factors are true and real .but I do not like that we should have soft corner for talibanisation only altaf is against taliban .

    You can find religious people in Karachi thousand belong to tablighi jamaat ,dawat-e-islami ,Very good Ulema and MAdaris.but talibanisation is not the religious movement it is mostly a political movement with militancy .

  • I love the idea of another power in Karachi that MQM is afraid of. MQM are terrorists without any faith or ideology.....you notice the MQM supporters on this site now talking about Muslims with beards or hijabs the way an Israeli, a Hindu fanatic, or a Neocon would....they are fascists and will abuse religion, the religious community and ethnic divides to further their agenda. Taliban who carry out vigilante justice and misuse religion for personal gain are no better....they're both terrorists. Altaf and his dogs should be dragged out by the crowds and beaten to death like that robber in Lyari day before yesterday.

  • Stereotypie thinking is kicking in again.

    We have to stop being emotionally black mailed by religion. We have to understand we get exploited in the name of religion. I mentioned in my earlier post that I deplore Altaf but really, are'nt we better off with MQM than Taliban?

    I'd love to see Jamat-e-islami getting more seats in Karachi. They actually did get more seats in the earlier elections. They even got seats in areas that were considered Qila-e-Altaf, but they made this stupid decision of bycotting the last election which gave MQM free hand to govern Karachi.

    Think it this way, if MQM is in power there will still be elections, no matter how rigged they are, there still will be elections and parties like Jamat-e-islami can win seats. On the other hand if Taliban take over the city, can you imagine election in Taliban times?

    I acknowledge the fact that in certains ways MQM is operated like Mafia by Altaf, but it still beleives in electoral process, Taliban on the other hand only know the language of klashinkove. They are barbaric, mindless, ignorant. Yes, Taliban conrol law and order in their area but even chenghez khan had ideal law and order situation under his rule, do we want to live under chenghez khan rule??

  • bsobaid you have pointed out a doublestandard,

    these are the thoughts that really made me think.

    seeing MQM as bigger threat than Taliban,

    and calling operation in Karachi before Taliban infested areas.

    there is a lot of hate alive.