Mr Ibad Rehman is the Patron of the MQM in Washington DC. A lawyer by profession, and the head of Sun Charity, a charitable organization based in Washington DC, operating under the aegis of the MQM and successfully engaged in charity work throughout the world.
A dynamic and charismatic personality with a solid educational background, Mr Rehman has been living in the United States with his wife Bushra who happens to be the member of the MQM Washington chapter, and their two lovely daughters Sarina and Leena Rehman. Heís been in the United States for the past 17 years. Despite his busy schedule, in an exclusive interview with Syed Ali Anwer of The Capital Post, Mr Rehman took time out to speak at length about his political activities, responsibilities and duties.
Appended below are the excerpts of his interview.
TCP: Could you tell me something about yourself?
IR: My parents are from Lucknow ,India and migrated to Pakistan in 1950. I was born and raised in Karachi, I did my elementary schooling from Delhi School, Karachi and went to S M Arts College and then to S M Law college where I obtained my first law degree. Due to unavoidable circumstances I had to leave the country in 1989 and went to Manila, The Philippines where I completed my Masters in Law, obtained two other degrees, one in international business management and other an M.B.A from the Academy of Business and Economics in Manila. I was the first organizer of the MQM Philippines unit. I returned to Pakistan in 1991 and stayed in Pakistan till 1993 During this time I was deputed to MQM Legal aid committee, North Nazimabad sector committee and eventually promoted to central cabinet of the MQM Labor Division. During the same period of time i also got elected as a senator to the KU syndicate. An army operation against the MQM was launched in 1992. I left for America in 1993 where I joined a local law firm while pursuing my higher education as well. I attained a degree in Law from Howard University and am presently associated with a local law firm. I have been given many responsibilities by Quaid-e-tehreek altaf Hussain bhai and by the central coordination committee of the MQM including my representation to the United Nations in Geneva, representing MQM during high level meetings at the White House, the State department and other top institutions, meeting with foreign delegations including some head of the States, etc.
TCP: You are the caretaker MQM in the USA. What are your responsibilities?
IR: Yes, basically I was the central organizer of the MQM which was the highest functional position in the US but later due to a shift in policy and change in the organization structure I became the Patron and Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui the Patron-in-Chief. Basically, we are not responsible for the day to day operations of the MQM but are responsible to guide new workers, new officials how to work under the framework of the constitution of the party and how to execute policies and how to deal with the local administration.
TCP: You are also the head of Sun Charity on behalf of the MQM.
IR: Well technically no, you see according to US law charities cannot work under a political entity although our workers are mostly from the MQM and they have been trained in charity work and using their experience for public service on a charitable foundation.
TCP:Could you tell us about your activities, forthcoming projects?
Sure, initially We transformed to Sun Charity two years ago. Before we were operating as the Khidmat-e- Khalq Foundation (KKF). Now we became a 5013C organization registerd as a charity under the US IRS tax laws.Basically, we have divided our operations in two sections. One, we raise funds in the USA and Canada of which we have to spend funds locally. Secondly overseas we have established footprints in Haiti, The Philippines, and in the tsunami days Sri Lanka, Maldives, Indonesia and Thailand working in concert with their embassies here. It was in the 2005 Pakistan earthquake relief effort which brought us into focus with UNHCR in USA to make us partners on the ground which was the same in the flood relief program. We have recently signed an MOU with the UNHCR to be their partners in the flood relief effort in Pakistan. The Charity is running a model school known as Sun Academy in Karachi and we intend to establish a chain of schools to provide the highest standard of education at the lowest possible rates. We are opening a similar school in Haiti in next threemonths.We have also just sent 30 Dialysis machines to Pakistan from Detroit Michigan. We work very closely with the Salvation Army and goodwill setting up food kitchens and having food and clothing drives across America. We also worked with the White House Peace Corps under Laura Bush. In short we have established our credentials.
TCP: Donít you think Pakistanis in America should have one representative body instead of so many organizations divided on ethnic and political lines.
IR:In principle yes, but practically it is not possible because the way MQM works is different. Almost 180 degrees. You see we tell our workers to be good Americans and good Muslims while most other parties do not mingle with the local communities. People understand that although we are predominately Pakistani we are an organization with roots in the USA. We are well established in 22 cities with 1200 offices throughout the USA.
TCP: The general perception of the MQM is that it is a terrorist organization. What do you say to that?
IR: We are aware of the charges but if we were a terrorist organization we would not be allowed to work in The UK, USA and Canada as well as 32 other countries. The problem is only in Pakistan. Ok letís assume for a moment we are terrorists and killers. Donít you think a civilized world would ask the accusers as to why these killers are not corrupt and have fake degree holders in their rank and files? My answer is simple, pray all Pakistanis become terrorists like MQM and weíll make a new Pakistan, a Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam and a Pakistan of Quaid-e-Tehreek.
TCP: In the Western World the perception of Islam is that it is a religion of terror and Muslims are terrorists. Your comments.
IR: Hereís the situation, A man with a beard gets up in the middle of an airplane and starts offering prayers and people start getting out of their seats thinking something is about to happen especially after 9/11. We must act like educated people. No one is stopping anyone from praying but we have to make adjustments. It happened in Yankee stadium a few years back at an exhibition match. A group of people started praying on the field and the spectators panicked. Four years back. Joe Lieberman ran for the vice-presidency and Muslims opposed him because he was a Jew, the MQM said that it was wrong to oppose him on the basis of his faith. We need to expand our horizons if we are to shed the label of terrorists.
TCP: As peace loving Muslims what should we do?
IR: We should take action to stop breeding of terrorists in the tribal areas and the only way to do it is to lift them economically. Give them opportunities to make an income. Tribal people will do the bidding of the terrorists if they feed them and take care of their families. Empowerment is the answer, these people need to be empowered with jobs, funds, and provided for to ward off the terrorists. We keep on insisting to the State department, think tanks here in Washington that the solution lies in mass scale empowerment, opportunities at their doorsteps and providing them with the markets around the world.
TCP: In your opinion what is the major problem Pakistan is facing today.
We should see where we are heading. We simply can not say Allah will save our country if we do not help ourselves. We live on dreams. We donít know our own responsibilities. Everyone is playing the blame game.
TCP : What do you have to say about the killings in Karachi? Karachi is MQMís city who is responsible for the problems of Karachi?
TCP: MQM has no reason to put the city in turmoil, a city that overwhemengly supported MQM in all consecutive elections since 1997. The people who think of Karachi as money making machine are responsible. They donít want progress in Karachi. They believe in a hit and run policy. Look at the ANP a political party with roots in the tribal area. On one hand they fight the terrorist and sacrifice their lives in Northern areas and we salute them, while in Karachi they provide sanctuaries to the same terrorists. They engage in gun running, drugs and extortion, they are responsible. We have Pathans in our MQM. Our member rabita committee Mr. Gulfaraz Khan is a Pashtun, ask him about the ANP. Look at Shahi Syed, The ANP Chief in Sindh, He owns oil tankers, petrol pumps and is engaged in criminal activities and everyone knows but no one does anything. The MQM of course has to bear some responsibility for Karachi but the onus for law and order security is on the provincial home minister, Mr Zulfiqar Mirza.
TCP: Do you think that Martial law is the solution to the countryís problems?
IR:No, Martial Law is not the solution but you tell me if the country is being destroyed by non-democratic forces and the army has to take over then it has to be accepted as a reality whether we like or not. The MQM does not support ML, it never did, and thatís why we boycotted the 2001 local bodiesí elections.
TCP: Altaf Hussain has said that Army intervention is necessary to wipe out corruption and feudalism. Isnt this call for ML.
IR: No thatís not what he said. He stated that Army has taken over so many times for their own reasons. If there are such a powerful and such an organized institution why canít they take action against the feudal lords and If they do so, weíll support their cleanup operation.
TCP: Should Gen Musharraf come back to Pakistan?
IR: Musharraf is a Pakistani citizen and he has every right to return and do politics.
TCP: Do you think that there is any justice for the poor of this country ?
IR:So far no, this is the irony. The poor are still on a cliffhanger and being victimized.
TCP: America blames that Pakistan is not doing enough? Do you agree?
IR: Yes and no, there are certain things Pakistan must do. Army action is not the answer. We are dealing with our own people we must help to wipe out terrorism. As for the USA we are doing a lot what else do they want? to bomb our own people. Can we tell the Americans to wipe out the American Indians in South and North Dakota? America must realize the ground realities and expect results under the given circumstances and resources.
TCP: What do you think of Pakistanís relations with India?
IR:First of all the Kashmir problem must be resolved by the Kashmiris not by India nor Pakistan, they should not claim it as theirs. Secondly the Kashmir issue has been used by successive government as a means to procure aid, India and Pakistan cannot afford another war, Maybe India can but we canít.
TCP: If you were to come in power what would you do to improve relations with India?
IR: We would engage in constructive dialogue. Enhance trade with India with a balance in import and export, Every problem or issue has a solution and India and Pakistan should sort things out through meaningful talks.
TCP:How do you think Pakistanís international image can be improved?
IR: Let the real face of Pakistan be shown to the world. Workers of the MQM are a glorifying example of a soft image of Pakistan. They are shining like gems wherever they are in the world.
IR:What do you think about the media?
This is a revolutionary period as regards the media, with new anchor people, new channels things are changing. Bur freedom without sense of responsibility only created havoc and confusion.
TCP: Is the media helping to improve Pakistanís image?
IR: I will say no. Generally most of the channels go after the government or a politician and create hype; they are merely trying to boost their ratings.
TCP: Define Ibad Rehman in terms of achievements.
IR: As far as my achievements with regard to the MQM is concerned I would give a ten for making a proud choice of joining Altaf bhaiís MQM as my first and last political movement. Personally I still have a long way to go. For trying to help my Quaid, my saathis and my organization I would give myself a 1.
TCP: What message do you wish to convey to The Capital Post?
IR: First of all thanks for the opportunity to share ideas. We are on the same side of the river, You all are doing an excellent job. We must keep on moving forward while maintaining a close relationship in the best interest of Pakistan, America and Pakistani Americans.
I have two words to define this interview "Spot On".... Very nicely done.
Only an Altafist can talk like that....
Altaf Hussain was inviting the 98 per cent people of the country to come forward and transform Pakistan into a democratic and welfare country according to the ideals of the founder of the country Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Good interview Ibad Bhai.
well done . keep it up .
ibad bahi u have done good for mqm pls do more,thanks.
Lagay raho piyaray bhai. Proud of you.
Ibad bhai is our senior saathi. We can see the seniority at work.
Good interview, really good.
For those who wants to learn more about MQM ,Please visit MQM.ORG
To further the programme of national development and a nation-wide campaign against feudal domination, Mohajir Quami Movement was formally transformed into Muttahida Quami Movement on 26 July 1997. MQM led by its founder and leader Mr Altaf Hussain is the third largest political party of Pakistan and the second largest political party in the southern province of Sindh.
Jea Altaf......Jea Mqm
He sounds like a very clear headed person.
Ibad Bahi Well done
Good Luck MQM
good interview. Mr Ibad keep it up
Capital Post is doing a great service to Pakistan by putting these educated people in the limelight. It is good for Pakistan and it is good to build better relationship with the US. I like this interview very much. Keep up the good work CP.
Good interview, impressive questions and answers.
MQM is for the poor people from the poor people, no rich culture in there. Poor people work for the poor from their own resources. All credit go to Mr. Altaf Hussain I am watching since 1978-79.
I think satisfactory answers to CP.MQM has so many pearl in its aquarium.MR,Ibad one of them.
Ibad Rehman Bhai present MQM role in Pakistan and USA very well and keep up the good work sun charity
I proud of you well-done
What a brilliant grip on local, international and organizational affairs. Good work MQM.
Very good interview. keep up the good work sun charity
I feel so proud when i see MQM showing its secret cards one by one. You can see the difference when MQM leadership talks unlike many jahils in our politics. Good interview Ibad sahib, thanks to Capital Post for reaching out.
Mr ibad looks like a great asset for Mqm.
I would like to ask Ibad that what is his party doing to attract the young Pakistani kids studying in the Universities around USA. Also, how diversified MQM USA is in terms of different ethnic population of Pakistan or still MQM is solely consisted of Urdu speaking people only? Dear Ibad if you visit this page I would like to get the answer!