TORONTO: The Muttaheda Qaumi Movement (MQM) in Canada announced important changes to make the movement practically stronger and effective so that it could serve the interest, people and the cause in the best possible ways.

The changes were announced during observance of 8th Youm-e-Tasees on July 31, 2005, in Thorncliffe Park Drive locality of Toronto. Supporters, workers and activists of MQM largely attended the event. Cake was cut on the occasion.

Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Caretaker of MQM North America, addressed simultaneously on telephone the Toronto, Calgary and Montreal units. Amir Waheed, Central Organizer, and Dr Nadeem Ahsan, Joint Central Organizer, addressed the audience in Toronto and explained in detail about the strategies planned in the light of the policies and organizational changes made keeping in view the international development and the changing situation in Pakistan.

Amir Waheed and Dr Nadeem Ahsan keeping in view the increasing importance of Toronto for the movement and the people and in order to cover the vast area and the adjoining cities as well announced formation of two units for Toronto---GTA East and GTA West. The Toronto Unit was dissolved recently. Both the units will function independently and full-fledged but under the central committee in their respective areas. As regards central issues and matters, they will collaborate with each other with full understanding, trust and team spirit.

The formation of the units is as follows:

GTA EAST UNIT: Shahab Khan, Unit Incharge, Iqbal Bahadur and Mohammad Ashraf, Unit Members. It will cover areas up to Oshawa.

GTA WEST UNIT: Munawwar Hameed, Unit Incharge, Syed Athar Ali and Iqbal Qamar, Unit Members. It will cover areas up to London.

This decision was taken after serious consideration for months on how to make the movement effective in Canada and reach the people to attract them towards the objectives and the cause through proper understanding and awareness. MQM believes that since Toronto is the heart of Canada, very large and needed proper focus, attention and concentration therefore this positive change was necessitated in the interest of the movement, people and Canada.

In Toronto alone, MQM says it has thousands of supporters, over 1000 workers and seventy active members. The numbers are rapidly increasing. Distinguished representatives of the leading political parties of Canada are approaching the MQM for collaboration and support. This indeed is a great breakthrough and achievement. MQM has worked very hard and as a result managed to gain trust and confidence of the people and leadership in Canada.

For proper awareness and understanding of MQM, objectives, policies and strategies, MQM has advised people to keep visiting the MQM website---MQM.ORGThe policies of the units and central committees are made according to statements and objectives of the MQM Chief, Altaf Hussain, who is based in London, England. Organizational and policy changes are made as necessitated. The objective must always be to work for betterment and improvement.

Amir Waheed and Dr Nadeem Ahsan asked the workers and members to maintain discipline and follow policies and objectives of the movement. Those who fail to do so would be shown the way out of MQM. There will be no leniency in this matter. This is a policy decision. Nobody would be allowed to form splinter groups in the units and harm the movement. They would be dealt with strictly.

As regards complaints, they said that the workers and members can approach the relevant forums, right up to the MQM Chief Altaf Hussain. They have all the rights to do so and are allowed to fully use the rights. After registering the complaints, they must patiently wait for the decision irrespective of the time taken. They must show trust and confidence in the leadership.

They said that it is the prime duty of the members and workers to focus on the task of the units and achievements of the targets. Emotional decisions and actions must be avoided at all costs because they are harmful and destructive. The focus must be on moving ahead with positive approach. The targets and objectives of the MQM are crystal clear and communicated to the workers. The calendars describe all the important events, which must be attended by all to maintain unity and practicality of working as a team.

The MQM Chief Altaf Hussain will visit Canada if the units meet the tasks assigned. He is showing keen interest in the functioning of the units and very much hopeful of positive results, they stated.

Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said, in his joint address of Toronto, Calgary and Montreal Units, that MQM never allowed politics to influence religion. It positively used religion as a power. Quran Khawanis and Milads were held. It never exploited the people on religious grounds, like the Mullahs. The Mullahs are taking full advantage of the international situation and exploiting the people and misguiding them. They are particularly misguiding the youth and have become problem for all. MQM, however, will never allow exploitation on religious grounds. It will struggle against all such attempts.

He said we must remain fully alert under the present circumstances because there are many forces working against MQM, people and the country. In the past too they had tried their best to destroy the movement and caused tremendous harm to the people. They are trying to find excuses to attack again. So we must show great tolerance and patience. Despite harassment, we must not react aggressively or else they will find excuse. Those who fail to understand would become a victim of exploitation and conspiracy.

Dr Khalid asked the workers to prepare themselves for the present and future challenges. The challenges are very tough. We can only meet them if we follow the policies of MQM. Those who disagree with the policies can adopt the procedure made for this purpose and approach the authorities. Before outright rejection, we must try to understand the policies. This is extremely important. We must focus on unity and effective organization. MQM has never deviated from its objectives and always remained firm on it. This is the secret of its success, he added.

He too said that those who do not follow the policies of the MQM would be considered out of the movement. He asked the workers to remain alert against gossips and propagandas.

Amir Waheed briefed the participants about the coming Local Bodies elections. For MQM its not an election but a symbolic war. MQM will not only contest in Sindh but Balochistan as well. In Karachi alone, over 3000 MQM councilors are expected to win. MQM will launch all out campaign to sweep the polls. Even the remotest areas have been covered. It has reached understanding with PML (Q) in this connection. It is hopeful of capturing maximum seats because it enjoys full backing of the people. Already over 60 councillors have been elected unopposed.

He said that MQM organized recently the Minorities Convention in Karachi in which Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and others participated in thousands. Such convention was never held before in Pakistan. It showed the support enjoyed by the MQM from minorities. Details of the convention could be obtained from the website MQM.ORG, he added.

After the addresses, question & answer session was held. It was suggested that all events of the MQM must be publicized like the MSRC recreation programs and the BBQ. Personal communication by the unit members is very important, because some members do not use or find time to use the internet. This will enable maximum attendance and success of the events.

Meetings like of today should be held after every three months to keep the members close to each other, create proper awareness about the happenings and strategies and to create better understanding. This was deemed very important. The most important thing is that the movement needs proper and effective communication.

Amir Waheed explained in reply to a question that the MSRC was formed to attract people towards MQM. Both the BBQ and recreation programs have proved very successful. The MQM leadership in London approved charters of both the MSRC and Gehwarah-e-Adab. We have to follow it accordingly and cannot make any changes. This is a standard policy. We can only give suggestions for betterment and improvement. We have to plan everything very cautiously due to many factors including campaigns against Muslims.

The issue of registering complaints was raised and attracted most attention. One senior worker said that even after passing of three years, decision was still awaited from the MQM London leadership including Altaf Husain. He said an early response or clear decision would have been greatly appreciated.

It was suggested that the complaints against the units and central committees registered with MQM leadership in London should be consulted with and communicated to the respective units. The lack of response keeps the workers in dark and disturbed.

Dr Nadeem Ahsan told the worker to respect and trust the leadership instead of reaching to any conclusion before announcement of the decision. This is very important to maintain fabric of the party.

After the meeting was held Shakil Akhter, who is responsible for MQMs media coverage, offered prayers for the martyrs and success of the movement.

Biryani and cake were served to the participants after the Asr and Maghreb prayers.

According to reliable sources, attempts are being made to disrupt the Local Bodies election, scheduled on August 18. Some forces are interested in bloodshed. The people are damn scared, keeping in view the past bloody history. This time the clash is expected between the MQM and the religious groups. The religious groups are not expected to leave the field easily and can wage a jihad against `Americanization of Pakistan. Interestingly funds of most of the religious groups come from the Western Masters or their puppet sources. The donations collected from the people too are allegedly used for their vested interests. This is indeed very shameful. The committed and patriotic religious leaders and people in all fields must be selected and promoted in order to give the people the right direction. This is what is needed.

Pakistan needs patriotic leadership to ensure progress and prosperity of the people and the country. Unfortunately, leaders mostly act as dictators, exploiters and plunderers. The workers of the parties and people are considered as slaves and servants. They preach and teach tolerance but never understand such meaning. The leaders of any rank consider the body and soul of the workers and people as their sole property. They want to become powerful by making the people powerless and helpless. This is the thinking of most of the leaders. This must be challenged and changed, if we really want to save Pakistan and the people.

No party or movement can survive and exist without the support of the people. Yet it is the people who are fooled, exploited and mercilessly crushed. Those who want to serve and raise voice are silenced and eliminated. People will pay a heavy price if they dont act fast against all anti-state and anti-people elements. It is they who can help themselves by bringing a practical and positive change. It is they who can ensure a good governance, system and society. It is they who can protect and promote themselves. They will continue to suffer if they keep expecting good from the corrupt and cruel leaders.

It is the time for realization and action. Struggle at all levels, both individually and collectively, must be waged against all social evils. The objective of creation of Pakistan must be achieved and implemented in the real sense. This is our prime duty and responsibility. We are victims of conspiracy and exploitation. When are we going to understand the realities and recognize the real faces of our enemies? When?

MQM claims to have support of the people and in a position to bring historic changes. For this it needs true leaders at all levels to fulfill the commitment made to the people and win their trust and confidence. The workers and people must always be valued, respected and supported. They are the foundation and pillars of the party. This is necessary keeping in view the past when the splinter group with the help of the agencies mercilessly crushed the helpless people. This time all aspects must be considered to protect the people.

Javed Zaheer (Masters in International Relations), Canadian of Pakistani Origin (CPO), Professional Freelance Journalist, Veteran Active Member (VAM) of Toronto Press Club, Council Member of Karachi Press Club, served as Senior Sub-Editor of Pakistans leading English Daily DAWN (1986-1999). Address: 1709-35 Thorncliffe Park Drive, Toronto, Ontario, M4H 1J3, Canada. Tel # (416) 696-0981.