On the surface, the August 22 speech of Altaf Hussain has dealt a death blow to his party MQM handing an opportunity to the powers that be to weaken his grip on Karachi. Nothing could be further from the truth because the politics in Karachi is a very complex subject and to genuinely understand it, we need to take a holistic view of the political landscape of Karachi.Before 2016 no tsunami, lawyers movement, panama case could affect the voter in Karachi, for majority had one political identity “MQM” , a representative of Muhajir Nationalism in the National and Provincial Assemblies. Karachi’s mandate has been divided successfully, after an unsuccessful attempt to introduce Imran Khan the formula of pitching Muhajir against Muhajir seems to have worked. MQM has “been” split. It appeared during my interaction with MQM supports that Altaf Hussain is no longer the lone voice of Muhajirs as many question his intimidating ways (several statements urging party workers in Karachi to revolt against the state) whilst sitting in London, how can he lead a revolt or feel his peoples deprivations? Many think Altaf Hussain has the support of PPP Sindh and Asif Ali Zardari, as was evident in PPP’s tenure from 2008-2013, Altaf Hussain was easier to handle as compared to MQM’s elected representatives in Karachi. Background interviews with MQM Pakistan’s representatives suggested that Altaf Hussain conceded gains to PPP ignoring the plight of his people in Karachi and Hyderabad over friendly “brief case exchanges” in London. “Altaf Hussain made us sit in the lap of our killers (PPP)” says MQM Pakistan’s office bearer requesting anonymity and added that it is believed recent arrests of MQM Pakistan office bearers were done by Rangers to mount pressure for a low key observation of MQM’s foundation day last week. PMLN is trying to be soft on MQM Pakistan’s leadership, at the same time it seeks to seize the opportunity provided by a rift in the MQM by making inroads in some of Karachi’s constituencies.A divide in MQM has shifted focus from its main competitor in Karachi, PTI back to MQM’s factions (including PSP). Imran Khans prime focus remaining Panama Papers case, does not seem like his party is in the mood to make use of MQM’s crisis, PPP has curbed mayor Karachi’s powers but makes no effort towards curbing corruption and gross mismanagement of the city on its own, its leadership at least on social media portrays otherwise. “Mustafa Kamal is inherently over confident and his over confidence has been augmented by the establishments support” as per MQM London’s office bearer who requested not to be named. He added that whilst MQM Pakistan and MQM London have raised hue and cry over arrests/detentions and an increase in the number of missing workers, Mustafa Kamal’s party seems to have no such issue, either those joining his party face no arrest or he (Mustafa Kamal) is keeping mum about it. MQM Pakistan maintains a softer stance towards PSP, keeping the option of an alliance with PSP open in the upcoming elections, whereas PSP’s tactics on ground are hostile towards MQM Pakistan and MQM London. MQM London demands a level playing field to prove its structures are intact.Several elected representatives of MQM Pakistan told this correspondent that it seems the establishment backs PSP and MQM London is backed by PPP making it difficult for them to contest coming elections. “I and some of my colleagues may not contest the coming elections which is why the part may field new candidates” a member of provincial assembly from MQM Pakistan told this correspondent which wished to remain anonymous. MQM Pakistan portrays itself as the lone force that is trying to safe guard Muhajir interests whilst tackling PSP, MQM London, PTI, PPP, PMLN and the establishment. However, its main challenger remains Altaf Hussain that is why it is willing to form an alliance or agree to a seat adjustment with PSP. MQM Pakistan’s office bearer allege that their workers are still missing whereas MQM London’s workers are released within hours of their arrest, hence the presumption that there is a double play on part of those who decide.MQM Pakistan and PSP are aiming to bag at least 10 national assembly seats each in 2018 whereas MQM London plans to give an embarrassing defeat to its defectors if free and fair elections are held. Most think the divide in MQM might give a new life to Altaf Hussain’s reign adding “If free and fair elections were held”.