Altaf Hussain, a London-based Pakistani political leader and Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), warned the Muslim world that the ‘Titanic’ of the Muslim Ummah (community) had started to sink and if urgent steps to rescue it were not taken the whole ship would collapse and sink.
Altaf Hussain gave that statement on June 26, 2013 during a joint meeting of MQM’s Co-ordination Committee in London and Pakistan.
Hussain’s statement was endorsed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in an exclusive interview with senior journalist Hamid Mir on his talk show ‘Capital Talk’, Geo News. Khan said, “Altaf is correct in saying that if we do not fix ourselves, we are heading towards disaster.”
Truth Tracker contacted MQM leader Haider Abbas Rizvi to confirm Hussain’s statement. Rizvi said, “Altaf Hussain used the simile ‘Titanic’ especially with reference to Pakistan’s context because just as the Titanic was believed to be unsinkable by its builders, tall claims were always made about the invincibility of Pakistan, especially since the day it became the nuclear power but we all know what happened to the Titanic and the situation in Pakistan.”
Rizvi continued, “The reality is that these tall claims are a farce, entirely contrary to the realities on the ground in Pakistan. The country is facing the existential threat of terrorism, which is not only a regional and international problem but a domestic one that Pakistan has to tackle as suits it best. Even our armed forces have said that the country faces more internal threats then external.”
Replying to a question about why Altaf Hussain is spreading pessimism in a country where the majority of people are already gloomy, Rizvi said that Altaf was only reflecting reality and it was the job of visionary leaders to show people the true picture. “There are two factions of people in Pakistan, the terrorists and the victims of terrorism,” he said.
As opined by Rizvi, “The problem of terrorism is so serious that it should be dealt with on top priority basis, therefore, it is imperative to pinpoint the problem and work towards a solution and to succeed in this. It is essential that all political parties work on this together. There is no time for tossing the responsibility between the federal and provincial governments; everyone should be on the same page.”
PTI’s Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood told Truth Tracker, “Imran Khan is a patriot and he will always support anything that is in the national interest that is why he supported Altaf Hussain’s statement.”
While talking to Truth Tracker, Mazhar Abbas, senior journalist and director of current affairs at Express News, said that Altaf Hussain’s statement was in the context of the Arab Spring. He suggested that was the reason Imran Khan supported it. In Abbas’s point of view these uprisings are not anti-American, he said, but “In Egypt, radicals were neutralized while anti-US regimes ended in Libya like in Syria so I wonder which Titanic is sinking and who will gain from it?”
Arshi Saleem Hashmi, Assistant Professor at the Peace and Conflict Studies, Department, Faculty of Contemporary Studies at National Defense University (NDU), Islamabad explains terrorism in Pakistan, “When we talk about terrorism in Pakistan, it has both internal and external dimensions. The greater conflict on our western border, the history of Afghan Jihad of the 1980s and the proxy wars that are being fought on our land by Saudi Arabia and Iran fuelling sectarian violence are the reasons that we are continuously facing militancy.”
Pakistan has been experiencing terrorism for years. More than 22,692 Pakistanis, including security force personnel, have been killed in terrorist acts during the last decade (2003-2013). In conclusion, we can say that the situation is quite dangerous in the country and there is need to take immediate measures to tackle the problem of terrorism with all political parties on board. Therefore, Altaf Hussain’s statement is mostly true.
Truth Tracker is a joint project of UPI Next and and its partner Domestic and International Security Communication research unit within the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-I-Azam University in Islamabad. Read More
Reporters for Truth Tracker are working with citizen monitors from the Pak Votes project of Bytes4All
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