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Dubai becomes hotbed of Pak politics

Salahuddin Haider

SOME very high-profile figures have converged in Dubai now making it a hotbed of Pakistan politics and though nothing positive has come out yet, but the nature of meetings taking place in the commercial hub of the UAE, is bound to influence the internal situation in the country, when and how, remains to be seen. Among those present there, or have been to the modern city, barely two hours of flying time from here, are the PPP top leadership of Asif Zardari, son Bilawal, and few more important party personalities, Pak Sarzameen Party chief Mustafa Kamal, deputy convener of MQM Pakistan Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi, former president General ® Pervez Musharraf, and the outgoing Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan. Two more of the MQM Pakistan leaders, including its head Dr Farooq Sattar, and the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hasan have been there. The latter met Musharraf, and although later denied having met him but when a photograph of their being together appeared in the media, the earlier statement was twisted to a simpler explanation that the meeting was a mere courtesy call. Likewise Dr Farooq Sattar, caught by the camera on returning to Karachi, too denied having met Musharraf, and so did Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi, but insiders report that Siddiqi did meet Musharraf. Reports were also circulating that Ebad had invited Farooq Sattar for dinner, but the latter apologized saying his flight schedule made it difficult for him to accept the invitation.Pakistan People’s Party leaders said Asif Ali Zardari, reaching Dubai from prolonged stay in London, had detailed meeting with Bilawal. The father and son, sharing the top positions discussed the political situation in the country, including the post-Ebad scenario in Sindh. Reports said that PSP leaders too were in contact with Musharraf. No details were available, but it seems obvious that the two main groups, the PSP and MQM Pakistan, may have been searching for a key figure for guidance or perhaps for leadership also. While it is clear that Mustafa Kamal, who is now being given the credit for destroying Altaf, and Ishratul Ebad, may perhaps be targeting Farooq Sattar now, and since he himself is in considerably strong position now, he may seek cooperation of Musharraf, but would not pass on the mantle of leadership to anyone.In sharp contrast to the position of MQM Pakistan is totally different. They have been struggling for mooring, despite repeated assurances to everyone that they had detached themselves completely from Altaf Hussain or MQM London, and were keen for space to contribute positively to the growth and progress of the country. They failed to secure sympathy of an establishment in Karachi which is suspects them of links with MQM, who has been branded traitor, and finds himself in an extremely difficult situation. Those with Altaf in London have confessed that their sources have dried, and even their telephones had fallen dead for non-payment to the British Telecom. Even their operation has suffered immensely since the principal source of money, which was Karachi, is no longer on their side.The establishment in Karachi has applied brakes on their funding, collection of hides of sacrificial animal during Eid-ul-Azha, fitra, zakat etc, and appears in no mood to allow any kind of concession to them.Whether it is a mere conjecture, or a shot in the dark, is hard to say, at least for the present, but underneath the situation may be different. That is a key factor in politics, not only in Pakistan, or the subcontinent, but all over the world.Musharraf’s principle aide, a barrister from Punjab, has spoken about fresh relationship between Musharraf and MQM, which even today, has strong appeal among the Mohajirs, or the Urdu-speaking people in urban Sindh, and who knows if Musharraf may have a rethinking about his future goals, in politics particularly.

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