It was September 29, 2017 when along with Deputy Mayor Dr Arshad Vohra, I announced to end my affiliation with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to join the Mustafa Kamal and Anis Qaimkhani-led Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) in a press conference held at the Pakistan House. To introduce myself, I have done my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with a major in Finance. I joined MQM in 2004. I started as a political worker from a grassroots level in the party, I have served on various organizational positions within the MQM. In 2009 I was made Joint in-charge of MQM’s professional wing and later in 2014, was notified as in-charge of the wing. It has been nearly five months since I have been a part of the PSP. I can safely say that my political journey over this brief period has been more substantial than my years long affiliation with the MQM. Why? Because there are two approaches to politics; inclusionary and exclusionary. While the former approach pursues benefit for all, the latter approach is based on the assumption that a particular group can only improve its own standing by achieving dominance over others. As a member of the MQM, I could only raise my voice for the Urdu-speaking community (Muhajirs), whereas today, a mostly Muhajir PSP is giving me a platform to speak out for every downtrodden person or community. Ethnicity is no longer a factor. It’s obvious that ultimately, Muhajirs will benefit if Karachi starts developing, as they are it’s majority ethnicity. While playing the ethnicity card — which isolates them from Karachi’s other ethnic groups — will do just the opposite. Ultimately, Muhajirs will benefit if Karachi starts developing, as they are it’s majority ethnicity. While playing the ethnicity card — which isolates them from Karachi’s other ethnic groups — will do just the opposite The Muhajir community today faces the same issues as any other community in Karachi. The only way if it can resolve these is through joint action with other groups. Any exclusivist movement will ultimately fail due to lack of support. The difference is clear. As a political worker, I strongly believe that the issues faced by the common Pakistani can never be resolved through ethnic politics, because by standing for one ethnicity, it is obvious others would be alienated. And the ultimate losers here are the very people in whose name these politics are being executed. To this day, I can’t really understand what the MQM has ever done for Karachi’s Muhajirs, apart from giving them Mustafa Kamal’s tenure as City Nazim. Zilch, Zero, Nothing. Has the quota system ended? No. Have the Biharis stranded in Bangladesh for decades have been rehabilitated? No. Despite enjoying two ministries in the previous government of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), did it manage to bag any scheme or project for its constituents in urban Sindh? The answer here is no as well. So what does it have to offer other than the ethnic card? Nothing. As a Muhajir, I still feel adrenaline pumping through my body when I hear slogans like Zinda Hai Muhajir Zinda Hai! but if I keep my composure and think about it, it is quite clear that the entire community is being sold by the party in the name of such slogans. Today, as a member of the National Council of the PSP, I sit beside people of various ethnicities. The issues discussed in the consultative body are water scarcity, environmental degradation, the Sindh government’s lack of interest in decentralisation, lack of sports grounds for the youth, how the public-private partnership can be used to improve government schools. This is exactly what should be discussed within the political parties, issues which matter for the coming generations of this city and province. Now let’s take a look at the priorities of the so-called custodians of Muhajirs. Today the Bahadurabad faction of the party is standing against the MQM-P, with both claiming to be torchbearer of the Muhajir cause (never mind the fact that today it is not even clear what the Muhajir cause is), and both selling their ‘sacrifices’ for the party. Pakistan and particularly urban Sindh need politics of development today and urgently. When Mustafa Kamal speaks on any civic issues of the city, his every word shows that he not only knows the ins and outs of the issue, but also how to execute plans to resolve it. In the next general elections, the PSP candidates will not ask for votes based on their ethnic background but on the promise that the party will give its best shot to resolve the civic issues of this city, the team of Kamal-Qaimkhani will make sure that every resident of this city is provided a level-playing field to give a prosperous future for their children. This is why I came in politics, this is what politics should be, and this is what being voice for the voiceless — which cannot be achieved under an ethnic party. Finally, I have to say that I find the exploitation of my ancestors’ names and sacrifices by the ‘custodians’ of the Muhajir community insulting, and even more so when they sell themselves out. It now falls on the PSP to wash out the stains these people have left behind. The writer is Member National Council, Pak Sarzameen Party Published in Daily Times, May 11th 2018.