The Role of Leadership and Rhetoric in Identity Politics: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), a Case Study – By Bilal Baloch

This paper uses the speeches of Altaf Hussain, the political and spiritual leader of The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, as a lens for examining MQM ideologyand its development. The framework to carry outthe analysis are divided into three phases: (i)1985-1992, defining ideology; (ii) 1993-2002, exile and development; (iii) 2003-2010, gaining legitimacy. This paper concludes that, while the core of MQM ideology – social justice and the eradication of corruption – has remained consistent, Hussain displays dexterity ininnovating auxiliary components to this message by adapting to the shifting political and social trends in Pakistan. This adaptability has brought the MQM to the fore of politics in Pakistan, incrementally built a political identity for the Muhajir people, and cemented Hussain’s positionas the party’s undisputed Shahenshah (king of kings).
Bilal Baloch, is a Master’s candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Here, his research concentrates on Comparative Politics and the contemporary History of South Asia. Bilal graduated as Anthony Giddens Scholar from the London School of Economics (LSE), reading Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method. In between his studies, Bilal has worked in Karachi, London, Ottawa, and Washington.D.C., as a Research Analyst.
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