Ali Raza Abidi was at his restaurant when I called him to request a meeting a few weeks ago. I was working on a story over differences within the party.
He received my call said: “Have I ever said no to you? You are always welcome at my restaurant after 11pm.”
I went to his restaurant near Frere Police Station Road. He was there with some of his friends and they were discussing party affairs.
Abidi resigned from MQM-Pakistan after being defeated by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Karachi’s NA-243 constituency in the July 25 general election. However, this was not the reason why he left the party.
The former MQM-P MNA was not happy with his party comrades. He believed that differences among party leaders were one of the main reasons behind the party’s abysmal performance in the election.
The former MQM-P lawmaker was planning to form a truth and reconciliation commission to unite his party. He met several leaders of various factions and tried to bring them under the umbrella of the MQM to serve the city.
Abidi was popular among the young MQM-P voters because he was very down-to-earth.
During his election campaign in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Abidi had been active. He left no stone unturned to run an effective campaign.
He was sitting at a roadside café when an area worker told him about a disgruntled party worker, who lived a block away from where he was sitting. He stood up from his chair and remarked that they should go meet him.
The worker told him that the person lives on the seventh floor and the building’s lift is not operating. Abidi just asked him to guide the way.
Upon reaching the building, he asked the worker to stay downstairs. After 30 to 40 minutes, he came back with another man. The guy was smiling. He said that he won’t only vote for Abidi but help him run his election campaign too.
Abidi is no more. He was attacked outside his home in Khayaban-e-Ghazi area on Tuesday night. The dream of a united MQM has perhaps gone away with him.
Even MQM’s rivals liked him because of his sense of humour. He was known to be one of the saner voices within the MQM.