I think MQM is more of an actual “movement” (think Ba’athist, Fascist etc) than a political party like PPP or ANP. I think they constest elections to acculmulate political power, but from my limited browsing of their material, it is more of an indoctrination thing than a political thing.
I think from MQM’s perspective, they don’t really need to become part of mainstream politics or care much about it because they have successfully intimidated all national institutions and everytime someone doesn’t give them what they want, they start evoking the spectre of Fall of Dhakka.
Pakistani elites being wicked but abysmally lazy and idiotic as they are, don’t really want to fight any fights untill it is forced upon them. So MQM does get the best of both world… the government is too corrupt or too chicken to impose its “writ” on MQM and it’s hardcore followers and MQM knows it.
AH appeals to the most base instincts of the lower classes of society, and from their perspective, MQM and AH seems to deliver.. OTOH, most political parties have always ended up betraying their lifelong workers. I think this is key. I think the MQM followers (and the general population) has figured out that the Pakistani elites (I wouldn’t call it establishment) are fu*king idiotic and don’t give anything to any interest group until forced upon pain of death.
Now, which group deserves how much is a different issue, but MQM maybe suffering from a “Hal min mazeed’ syndrome rather than going for an equitable share for it’s constituents (their actions in this regard speak louder than words).
If you read some of the analyses of Altaf Hussain, they are quite simplistic, but they have been changing based on the conditions surrounding him. The thing that gives it weight is the cult like following of members who enforce his will through remote control… These are not necessarily the actions of a political party.
It might be worthwhile to break MQM-A into two groups political & armed ( a la IRA & Sinn Féin)
But AH is too smart to do that, because this way, when the forces come looking for the armed members, he can claim that “women and children” are being killed etc.
I don’t think Pakistani politicians have taken MQM (or AH for that matter) seriously, and this criminal oversight is eventually going to end in tears for everyone involved.
Originally posted on pkpolitics as a comment. pasted here for further development of these thoughts as time premits.