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Altaf Hussain is the leader of a political party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement formerly known as the Muhajir Qaumi Movement (MQM). Altaf Hussain is currently in exile at London.
He started his political career when he was a student in University of Karachi, where he founded All Pakistan Muhajir Students Organisation (APMSO) in June 11, 1978. APMSO started gaining support of Urdu speaking students Muhajirs and were able to win 92 seats in college elections in 1980. However, APMSO faced a strong opposition from Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, main opponent and student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami.
On December 21, 1991 Altaf Hussain was attacked but he escaped injuries. On January 1, 1992 he fled Pakistan for Saudi Arabia and after one month moved to London, United Kingdom. During 1992 to 1993 Altaf Hussain's brothers and nephews were killed. The 1992 military operation in Karachi forced Altaf Hussain not to return Pakistan, he requested political asylum in United Kingdom. Later he became citizen of United Kingdom.
He is the first in Pakistan who introduced a new trend in the political culture by giving a non-feudal based political philosophy and forming a political party, which is the commonly associated as a representative of uneducated minorities. The people of Pakistan are well aware of his political ideologies and statements. And though most people of southern Pakistan agree for the need of a bigger representation in parliament, they no longer want Mr. Hussain representing them. His reputation has been severely tarnished by statements from numerous former party members who have spoken out against Mr. Hussain and the methods he used before he was exiled. His use of employing terrorist tactics during the uprisings of the late 1980's and the early 1990's to gain political ground is recently coming to light. He is associated with ordering many political murders and using torture, on civilians and opposition party members, to spread his ideology during his time in power. He is commonly blamed for the unrest Pakistan suffered during this period. He currently resides, in exile, in London. He often arranges public video conference speeches in Pakistan to try and gain support for himself. He is known for his outrages and "un-leader-like" behavior. His almost comical appearances and statements during interviews have led to declining support for his party. As a person he is commonly ridiculed and has fallen out of respect with the vast majority of people of Pakistan. Mr Hussain also sends out regular statements and makes his views heard on international TV interviews.
Altaf Hussain was born on September 17, 1953 in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. His father Nazeer Hussain (d. 1967 and mother Khurshed Begum (d. 1985) both belonged to Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Altaf Hussain is from an educated middle class family. They lived in a small house in 'Federal B Area' of Karachi, which is now the Head Office of MQM and is called Nine Zero.
Altaf Hussain graduated from Islamia Science College in Karachi. Later he studied at University of Karachi in Department of Pharmacy. But he had to leave his higher education due to politics
The MQM's Mustafa Kamal was recently "elected" as Nazim of Karachi in an election allegedly marred by numerous irregularities and violations of the law and ethics of free elections. The former Nazim Naimatullah Khan, belonging to the extremist group, Jamaat-e-Islami, had strong support from the vast majority of the people of Karachi. Even though most of Karachi's population is relatively educated and moderate and hence against the Jamaat-e-Islami, they supported Naimatullah Khan out of appreciation of the clearly visible progress the city had made under his leadership.
MQM boycotted 2001 municipal elections because it believed that the military government in place in Islamabad would not conduct free elections where MQM could win. It later regretted its decision as Jamaat-i-Islami won Mayoral elections in Karachi. MQM participated in 2002 national election and "won" most of the urban areas seats in Sindh province amidst allegations of widespread voting irregularities. To court favor with the military establishment, Altaf Hussain supported General Pervez Musharraf's volte-face on September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, USA.