LONDON: Subtle resentment can be observed in the top leadership of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London (MQM-L), especially with two senior party figures choosing to remain silent but retaining membership nonetheless, as rumours abound that the exiled chief’s statements towards his workers oscillate in tone.
Nadeem Nusrat and Wasay Jalil — two of the political party’s top brass members — have become less vocal and are scarcely involved in MQM-L’s day-to-day operations following differences stemming from founder’s choice of words, particularly his toxic language.
While speculation is rife about the political direction of Nusrat and Jalil, credible sources revealed to this correspondent that it is the language the MQM-L chief uses that is causing a sense of discomfort among the members of the already marginalised group.
It is commonly understood that the MQM-L founder uses indecent language against his own colleagues, causing tensions in the ranks of MQM-L and deterring numerous former first-tier leaders from working at the International Secretariat anymore.
Most veteran MQM leaders believe that the path forward for the party chief has become blurry since he does not have a proper roadmap.
Slandering family members
Nusrat — who is a long-time, trusted ally of the MQM-L chief — has left for the United States after addressing a press conference, wherein he said he was going on a medical leave.
While it remains true that he is currently receiving treatment abroad for “a serious health problem”, Nusrat came under attack from the MQM-L founder back in September over an internal party matter.
A credible source disclosed that the consequent exchange between the two became heated to the extent that the MQM-L chief used unpleasant language against Nusrat and involved his close family members. When the senior leader politely expressed his displeasure in response, it further agitated the founder, who then went on to use more abusive words.
Nusrat was subsequently asked to stay home and not attend any party activities.
While at that time the matter was kept within the inner-most circle of MQM-L, questions started arising when almost a dozen activist members of the party reached Geneva mid-September to stage a protest and take part in a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
However, none of them was able to gain access to the UNHRC building as it was Nusrat who had initially planned Geneva activities and was to make arrangements via NGOs for their entry.
Leave of absence
Sources told this correspondent that the MQM-L founder told Nusrat to refrain from going ahead with the Geneva plans, and, as a result, the MQM-L activists either returned to London or went back to their countries, without having accomplished anything significant.
Only activist advocate Adil Ghaffar, standing unaccompanied and without any support from peers, was seen making speeches inside the UNHRC.
Nusrat, on the other hand, remained mute as rumours continued to spread until deciding to address a press conference, instilling anew his trust in the MQM-L chief founder and requesting a leave of absence.
The source informed this correspondent that Nusrat felt demoralised and humiliated and thought it was best to leave the scene quietly.
“Currently, he is receiving treatment in America and may not return anytime soon,” the source said.
How did it start?
It all started with Jalil, who left for the US over three months ago, did not return to MQM-L’s International Secretariat in time. This upset the MQM-L chief, who then exchanged harsh words with him.
Credible sources have acknowledged that Jalil’s reasons to spend time in the US are genuine, especially since they are related to his immigration status.
Jalil “was stopped and interrogated by both the US and UK border and immigration agencies for either spending too much time in London or staying out of America for too long,” the source noted.
Another issue that went against the senior party member was that he met some US administration officials on his own — something that was perceived by the leaders in London as Jalil carving his way forward but without association with the MQM-L.
It is understood that any party member who makes decisions on his own, without obtaining permission from MQM-L first, is deemed to be violating the party’s rules.
‘Bubble of old times’ hinders clarity
The MQM-L founder has recently been in touch with Muhammad Anwar and Tariq Mir — two other veteran party members — and asked them to return to the active political scene.
Insiders, however, told this correspondent that both of them have shown reluctance to come forward at this time.
Anwar has been receiving treatment for his back pain issues for some months now, while Mir told the MQM-L founder that he can work from his home once or twice a week but has ruled out a return to full-time office duties.
While, “in old times, abusive language by [the MQM-L founder] was ignored and taken as a badge of honour by party members”, it is not the same anymore, the insider said.
“With his powers gone and the MQM divided, there is a new realisation among the leaders and workers. … The only person to not adjust to the ground realities is [the founder], who lives in a bubble of old times,” the insider added.
MQM-L, however, has denied talks about differences within its ranks, claiming that the party remains united.