It was the summers of 2006. Karachi had faced one of the worst rainfalls. Teen Talwar, where I then resided, was already flooded and with relentless rains. I didn’t have an iota of hope that the city government would even care least about my area as the party chairing City Government, MQM got only 53 of the 2500 votes, from our polling station.
The question was why would they spare a huge sum of money over their a small vote-bank of 53 voters. Majority of Clifton remained flooded for over a month.
Then one night, as people were hopelessly trying to fix the drainage without any success, rain unleashed its torrent on us once again. We saw an SUV heading towards us through deep waters and stopped by.
A sturdy middle aged man got off the car and moved towards us to offer consolation . He started to push the same bamboo with which we were trying to open the drain. He spent some time with clouds thundering still. A day later a pumping truck came to assist us and then it all got mobilized which gave Clifton its storm water drain.
The man or better, our redeemer was Syed Mustafa Kamal. The man had left his mark. A couple of months later, I left Pakistan. But each time I would know it rained in Karachi, I used to call my dad to ask if it flooded like 2006. The answer would always be a no.
I watched Syed Mustafa Kamal develop not only my area but many others in Karachi through the lens of the media for the subsequent years. I saw him fighting the system and ensuring that he was the man who got the job done. Felt further proud when Gen Pervez Musharraf who was then the President of Pakistan praised him generously for it.
Perhaps, it was the first time a head of state in the history of Pakistani politics had praised anyone from MQM. I met him only again surprisingly at an Election meeting at one home in April earlier this year and found him as pragmatic and charismatic as always. It made my day.
He was the pride of MQM and everyone including MQM’s top leadership and even his bitterest contenders praised him. Well at the same time I used to tell them that this party has hundreds of this caliber and sincerity and it’s only the matter of opportunity, they would transform the city and the country alike . Even I remember when Farooq Sattar became the youngest mayor of Karachi with the limited resources, he conjured up a lot for the city. But Syed Mustafa Kamal brought that finesse to the politics of MQM and lived up to the promise and went an extra mile.
He showed that if supported by the central government through funds and machinery, MQM, as a party can deliver much more. Hats off to President Pervez Musharraf for opening the coffers of the state for a city which has been earning more than 70% of its revenue for many years only to get a painfully small of the share.
Syed Mustafa Kamal proved that MQM under its leadership can deliver if given right accountability and ownership but at the same time he also did not let the party leadership down by doubling on make the most of the opportunity and setting a difficult benchmark for the rest of parties and the country.
We have been hearing numerous rumors but I’m sure, such a committed man must have a solid reason to distance himself. We should respect the same. Many a times, people have tried to endlessly speculate about MQM, whilst forgetting their own fissures. Again everyone at MQM now can write a PhD thesis on how to face off the offensive media any day.
Of course all of them should realize that MQM leaders do not come with billions in inheritance. Do not go for corruption to make another trillions and can expect enough financial support from the party. They have their own mouths to feed or family to look after.
People fail to realize that life of an MQM legislator is not an easy one unlike for someone living in Lahore and Islamabad with billions in account balances. As they have to serve people and at the same time live under the threat of their life and security. Expose themselves to danger everyday and not everyone can afford convoys of security guards, ave no farms house to run to when it comes. They have to face the challenges day in and day out financially, psychologically and physically. I am sure Syed Mustafa Kamal is a responsible son and a husband who must have his reasons to take that call. I fully respect his decision and I pray that he put his issues in order and get back as soon as he can.
Pessimistic of me to think it, but I am sure we have a dearth of such leaders in the country and Syed Mustafa Kamal brings that punch to MQM leadership. However, lets what fate has in store for MQM but let me thank Syed Mustufa Kamal once again.