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Raza Haroon back to London after quitting PSP

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LONDON: Former provincial minister and senior politician Raza Haroon has quit Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and relocated to London after developing differences with the leadership over the direction of the party.

Sources have shared that Raza Haroon became disillusioned with PSP after the 2018 elections and decided it was time to call it quits – but quietly and seamlessly.

Raza Haroon now lives with his family in Edgware and he’s no more active in the PSP politics.

Sources shared that lack of coordination, consultation, immature decision making and poor handling of political situations resulted in him and other Central Executive Members (CEC) members leaving the party. Other prominent leaders who have either left PSP or gone silent are Senior Vice Chairman Anis Advocate, Senior Vice Chairman Doctor Sagheer Ahmed, Vice Chairman Waseem Aftab, Vice Chairman Aftkhar Randhawa and dozens of former senior MQM members.

Sources close to Raza Haroon confirmed that he is no longer on talking terms with the PSP leadership. When approached for comment, a spokesman of PSP refused to offer comment and said only Raza Haroon can explain why he left the party.

One of the best orators and firebrands the MQM produced, Raza Haroon defended Altaf Hussain to the hilt when he was with him and did the same for Mustafa Kamal and PSP.

New political career with PSP

It was in March 2016 when Raza Haroon joined former mayor Mustafa Kamal and Anis Qaimkhani and later became one of the founding members of the PSP. Raza Haroon was amongst the biggest names defecting from the MQM and Altaf Hussain to join hands with Kamal to represent the people of urban centres of Sindh in general and the Urdu speaking community in particular.

Living in London with his wife and two children for nearly two decades, Raza Haroon left in secrecy for Karachi and after a week he appeared at a crowded press conference with Kamal and Qaimkhani – two former strongmen of MQM – to announce in an emotional press conference that Altaf Hussain’s politics had brought destruction to Muhajirs and to Karachi and that he was joining PSP to change the fate of Karachi and the Urdu speaking community.

Unlike many other MQM leaders accused of widespread corruption and criminal activities, Raza Haroon’s clean slate political career was presented with much fanfare by the new party.

‘Happy hour’

Raza Haroon was appointed the Secretary-General of the party and remained the new party’s face till after the 2018 elections when PSP failed to make its mark anywhere in Pakistan despite the fact that it managed to hold impressive meetings.

The former Sindh government IT minister slammed Altaf Hussain famously at the press conference and said that the party founder didn’t need any enemies because he was on a self-destructive path.

Referring to MQM supremo Altaf Hussain’s alleged intoxication while addressing supporters, Raza Haroon had famously said: “Sometimes we had happy hour… Then that happy hour became happy 24 hours. Happy hour was followed by apologies from the entire community and party. Happy hour has been increasing… Pay attention to what time it is in London.”

Other senior MQM figures who had joined the party around the same time included Anees Advocate, Dr Sagheer, Iftikhar Alam and Waseem Aftab.

Profile

Raza Haroon was born in October 1965 to a middle-class family in Karachi’s… area. He completed his graduation from Karachi University. He spent time in jails after joining MQM in 1987 as the party faced a long campaign of state-sponsored operation in the 1990s.

After moving to London in mid-90s, Raza Haroon worked menial jobs while devoting almost the whole of his time as a volunteer at MQM’s international secretariat. He was amongst young cadres of MQM whom Altaf Hussain presented as success stories that he helped groom in politics. In 2008 he became a provincial assembly member and in the PPP-MQM coalition government, he was appointed Sindh IT minister. He moved to Karachi from London and stayed there till 2013, then returned to London.

In the middle of 2016, he landed in Karachi to join Kamal’s bandwagon.

After spending around two years in Karachi, he’s now back in London – inactive, disillusioned and focused on spending more time with family than the politics of Karachi.

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