Last week, the MQM-P organised a dialogue titled, “Gahwara e Adab” (Cradle of Literature) in Karachi Arts Council; highlighting Urdu as the symbol of the cultural and civilisational heritage of the Pakistani nation. The session, presided over by Federal Minister Asad Umer, was graced by known Urdu authors, including Anwar Maqsood and Aalia Imam. The convener of MQM, Maqbool Ahmed Siddiqui, was also conspicuous by his presence in the dialogue. The apparent purpose of the dialogue was to project the importance of Urdu in the making of Pakistan and nation-building being the national language. The panellists placed more emphasis on the linguistic beauty and the literary importance of the language than its contribution to nation-building. They displayed restraint in acclaiming it as the national language being, most probably, conscious of the controversy that the subject has provoked in the past. However, the organisers tried more than once to bring in controversial matters in a futile attempt to seek the support of the speakers and the Minister to enhance the use of the language in important national spheres including courts, federal and provincial offices and education from primary to university levels gradually replacing the English. For instance, they referred to the Osmania University Hyderabad Deccan that has been teaching all medical and engineering subjects in Urdu. They also suggested that the country could gradually shift to holding the nationwide competitive examinations for superior provincial and federal civil services in Urdu. This particular suggestion elicited a lukewarm response equally from the Federal Minister, panellists and the audience. Though the suggestion was part of the script of the proceedings, the MQM leaders felt uneasy over the tepid support to this unwise and divisive suggestion. In its political heyday from 1988-2016, the MQM leaders consciously avoided playing the language card. The moot question is why MQM felt the dire need to fall back on the language controversy in Sindh. In its political heyday from 1988-2016, the MQM leaders consciously avoided playing the language card as they wanted to come out of their political enclaves of Karachi and Hyderabad, and organise their party into other urban centres of the province. However, the chronic ethnic divide, which was of the making of their senior generation, and the concomitant trust deficit that has been shadowing the political landscape of the province since the language riots of 1972, proved their Achilles’ heel. Given the party’s recent history drenched in violence and blood, the Sindhi masses were not ready to trust MQM. The MQM’s excessive indulgence in violent and fascist methods to eliminate its opponents in the Metropolis like a mafia from London since 1992 left the powers that may be with no other option than clipping its wings. Party chief Altaf Husain’s malicious speech of 2016 proved the proverbial straw on the camel’s back. The party spilt into MQM-P and MQM-London. Since then, the party has been feeling the supportive political awning shifting from its head. It lost the overwhelming majority of its electoral strongholds in Karachi to the PTI in 2018. Its performance in the subsequent by-elections has also been disappointing. The MQM is confronted with a perennial challenge for political survival. It has fallen back on the highly controversial and divisive slogans including the geographical division of Sindh, the revival of the evacuee property scheme, and the recognition of Urdu as the sole national and official language to hoodwink its Urdu speaking electorate. When in power, the party plundered Karachi’s resources and enriched the coffers of its leaders in London and Pakistan. The children of the middle-class parents as they proudly claimed to be did nothing for Karachi while occupying the Ministerial and Mayoral slots except for becoming billionaires and shifting to Western countries with their loot leaving their supporters in a lurch. This haunts its remaining leaders like dreary demons. The political wilderness stares them in the face. The coalition compulsions of the federal PTI regime keep them afloat in national politics. When this oxygen tent is withdrawn, the MQM will break into further factions. This would sound like the death knell for this ethnic organisation. MQM was founded purely on the Mohajir ethnic and linguistic bedrock. It fought pitched battles with all the old residents of Karachi from other ethnicities including Sindhis, Balochs, Pathans and Punjabis and coerced the weak and peaceful Memons, Kachhis, Gujratis, Kathiawaris and Marwaris to support and finance it. It transformed Karachi from an all peaceful, all-embracing and all affectionate Metropolis into a violence-ridden and raw blood smelling city. With this violence, bloodletting and shutdowns reaching unprecedented levels and stretching into many agonising days in its heyday, Karachi always managed a splendid comeback. The split of the party in 2016 came as a Godsend relief for Karachi and its residents. The subsequent recovery of massive caches of lethal weaponry from the old headquarters of the organisation, water tanks, old houses and graveyards just reflected the violent and fascist character of the party. The threat to the city and its people from this violent ethnic group is not over. The powers that may be have to beware of this menace. The founder of the party has now joined hands with secessionist groups to undermine the country. He has pockets of strong support in the city. This city has suffered untold miseries since the emergence of this ethnic group. Karachi is the engine of the country’s economy. It provides the highest ratio of tax revenues approximating to over 60 per cent to the national exchequer. It could not be left to the whims of an ethnic organisation for any political expediency. Such an organization has a bleak future in a democratic dispensation with continuous political and electoral processes. Impelled by this stark reality, the MQM leadership is falling back on the ominous ethnic and linguistic fault lines in the provincial capital. The author was a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan and he has authored two books.