The people of Karachi, who are going through their worst times by facing issues like target killing, extortion and long hours of unannounced load shedding were pushed in another dilemma when the city’s main political party, MQM pasted posters, banners and hoardings with the pictures of Altaf Hussain, describing him as the Father of Nation in the whole city.
MQM did that publicity stunt to honor and show solidarity to their leader Altaf Hussain, who is under severe pressure due to the ongoing investigation of Scotland Yard and London Metropolitan police. London police has seized his bank accounts and taken electronic gadgets of Mr. Altaf and his younger daughter.
The idea of calling Altaf Hussain the Father of Nation backfired and received barrage of criticism as the title of “Father of the Nation” was given long ago to Mr. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
There was a lot of hue and cry on the media about this absurd notion. Chief of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM-H) Afaq Ahmed severely criticized MQM and demanded that banners and hoardings with the pictures of Altaf Hussain describing him as the Father of Nation be removed immediately from the city otherwise his party would take legal course of action in this regard. He further adds that Altaf Hussain and his party be taken to task for “dishonouring the founder of the country” by terming the MQM chief as the “Father of the Nation”.
Sirajul Haq, the leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, also criticised the MQM for displaying banners in the city calling Altaf Hussain Father of Nation. He said that if father of the nation has no [Pakistani] passport or CNIC, then how can he lead his nation?
There was lot of criticism on social media as well as politicians, anchor persons and common citizens rejected MQM’s claim that Altaf Hussain is the Father of Nation.
Asad Umar, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf and MNA of NA 48 was also among the critics:
Quaide azam is the only father of the nation…MQM should remove banners in karachi proclaiming altaf husain as father of the nation
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) May 24, 2014
Apart from the politicians, common citizens also who echoed their voice against this absurdness. A lot of sarcastic pictures and comments were uploaded on different social mediums.
Altaf Behn, a parody account of Altaf Hussain tweeted:
We'll be happy to call Altaf Hussain "Father of the Nation", if he occupies his grave in Mazar-e-Quaid!
Pakistani qaum ki #MQM ko offer..
— Svengali (@Ronin212) May 24, 2014
The criticism on social media was having a snowball effect, mounting pressure on MQM leaders to review their notion of Father of Nation and finally they succumbed to the social media pressure and replaced Father of Nation to “Leader of Nation”.
Wasay Jalil, member Rabita Committee and Deputy incharge Central Information Committee of MQM tweeted the clarification:
— Wasay Jalil (@WasayJalil) May 24, 2014
The realization and rectification of the mistake by MQM was welcomed by the critics.
Nasim Zehra, Analyst & Senior Anchor at Capital News also echoed MQM’s clarification:
MQM is clear that its uncontested leader is Altaf Bhai- but he is not the father of the Nation-that title is only for Mohammad Ali Jinnah
— Nasim Zehra (@NasimZehra) May 25, 2014
Though traditional media like TV, Radio and print have greater impact than evolving social media. However, it was social media which roared loudly than the traditional media at this bizarre Father of Nation issue and build immense pressure on MQM leaders that made them to review their decision.