Why did Mustafa Kamal go to the United States?

The purpose of city nazim Mustafa Kamal’s on-going trip to the United States has been the subject of much discussion lately. All three major English dailies, Dawn, The News and Daily Times have carried stories on it recently.

On Monday, Daily Times reported he was getting “special treatment” from the State Department because they viewed him as a potential future leader of the country. The report in Monday’s The News was also on similar lines, it quoted CNN’s State Department Correspondent Zain Virje as saying that the mayor of Karachi was a “guest with a mission”. Daily Times also published the full transcript of the interview Kamal gave to Virje, and even though Kamal played down speculation about the purpose of his visit, telling Dawn‘s Anwer Iqbal that he had come to the United States to urge American businessmen to invest in his city, speculation is still rife.

According to the Dawn report, some believe that Kamal might have been sent on a mission to “strengthen President Pervez Musharraf” and “build bridges with Pakistan’s future” (unquote Zain Virje). Other reports, Dawn adds, suggest “the US was trying to put together an alliance of like-minded parties to back the next political set-up in Pakistan should the PML-N quit the government”. Interesting theories all these, not sure I can say I sense any ulterior motives too, but these are interesting nevertheless. Here’s what Mustafa Kamal and the State department had to say about the matter (quoting from Dawn):

“It is not my domain,” said Mr Kamal when asked if he was here for talks aimed at strengthening President Musharraf. “I was not here to discuss this sort of things. My role remains confined to Karachi. I had no political talks.”

A State Department spokesman, when asked to comment on Mr Kamal’s meetings with officials at the department, said: “If you are looking for an ulterior motive, there’s none.”

The mayor’s 40-minute meeting with Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher was his only at the State, said the official.

“Mr Boucher talks to a lot of people,” said the official. “They had met in Pakistan a month ago when Mr Boucher visited Karachi. We got word that he was in town, wanted to come by, say hello to Mr Boucher and present an album of his trip to Karachi.”

Mr Kamal also denied having a hidden agenda. “All I can say is that Karachi is a very important city and has a very strategic role to play in Pakistan,” said the mayor. “People are realising Karachi’s importance. We have developed that city and now we are seeking investment.”

He said that the US State Department had helped arrange his meetings with the American business community and officials in various cities. He has already met the mayors of Chicago and Houston and the deputy mayor in Washington. In New York, he has a series of meetings with potential investors and is also meeting the board of directors of the world’s largest stock exchange.

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14 Comments so far

  1. mubashirkhan on May 6th, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

    There is an international mayor’s conference going on in Chicago. He is attending that. calm down guys…………..

  2. asifniz on May 6th, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

    He may have gone to the Mayors conference in CHICAGO but why did he had to meet Richard Boucher ???

    During Boucher and Negroponte’s visit to Karachi, they pledged to give Millions of dollar (Dont remember the exect amount of money) for development of Karachi to Mustafa Kamal.

    Its all right for them to visit and have chit chat but these Americans are getting way too much involved in internal matters of Pakistan and I wont be at all surprised if Mustafa n Boucher didn’t talk about Karachi and Pakistan’s future.

  3. barristerakc on May 7th, 2008 @ 1:09 am

    Why is this forum so ‘mqm-centred’, I fail to understand – I agree MQM rules the roost here in Karachi but why bash MQM ? on everything thing.

    Kemal has performed and seriously, Zain Verjees comments? who gives a flying f***? who is she? a cnn correspondent? and nothing else!!!!

  4. altafbest on May 7th, 2008 @ 11:00 am

    maybe he’s gone there to improve his english. learn words other than ‘flyover, underpass, sewerage board.’

    barristerakc i belong to some other ‘karachi based forums’ and the mqm is put down universally there so no big political discussion. everyone knows their deeds. here there are unfortunately some brainwashed, uncultured youths straight from kanjar-abad (formerly known as azizabad). singing (literally) praises of mqm.

  5. peace on May 7th, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

    I have been a silent reader for quit some time now and at times really enjoyed every aspect of this website. I personally dont support any political activities related to pakistan as I believe every one is corrupt, no matter which political party they belong to… but atleast one should have the decency of appreciating if some one is doing some good to the city.

    I totally agree with ‘Barristerakc’ that the forum has now become a platform for bashing MQM for everything, but at the same time you have to accept the fact that this bashing is a reaction to decades of hatred against MQM, resulting from deeds of some MQM activists’, from some using their names for every wrong doing and a big chunk of it coming from media and MQM probably will need another decade to clean their image and thats the reason no one is being appreciated even if he is putting all his heart and soul in developing the infrastructure of a city which was continuously being ignored.

    Criticizing is much easier and fun for most of the people but criticism should atleast have some logic behind it. Just because the Nazim is from MQM it doesnt give the right to criticize him for visiting US, as its not the first time any mayor visited US.

    He was their for ‘World’s Mayor of the Year Award’ and for your kind information, the first round of the awards started back in 2007 and he was there in 2007 aswell for submission of his papers and to be nominated for it there are certain criteria which you as a mayor need to fulfill which includes what have you done since you took the responsibility and what are your future plans and for that the Mayor himself needs to be present there to present. The mayor did speak about what he has done and even presented the 2050 plan for Karachi which was never even thought of before this era..

    It should have been indeed a moment of celebration that atleast someone from Pakistan was invited to present and submit his entry. The man did manage to get an entry in 2007 and deserved to be appreciated. All he needed was support and vote from the people of Karachi to keep him in the competition, but unfortunately the people of karachi and the media were so busy bashing MQM and the President that they totally ignored the fact that the mayor is competing for the award.

    For my friend ‘altafbest’ and all others, the gentleman does know words other than flyover underpass and sewarage but this was his priority when he took oath and he did deliver what he planned for Karachi as part of first phase of 2050 plan. Karachi is a very old city whose infrastructure was never even touched before this Nazim. For many this might not be a development phase but infrastructure is a necessary part any big city like karachi… all you guys need is to open your eyes and see the difference this one guy has made to the city and if you can’t see the difference with your own eyes than I am sorry to say that there is no future for those who only know how to criticize but not appreciate. Put yourself in his shoes for one day and see how much difference you can make to the community, Karachi is a city which has never seen any development and this development & prosperity doesnt come and happen over night.. you have to be patient and wait for it. The Nazim has done quit a lot and he is trying his level best to solve all the problems Karachi is facing but please note he cannot solve all the problems as many of Karachi’s problems are directly linked and dependent on approval from federal government. You guys on your own can not even think of changing and making a difference to the people living next door or your block, yet alone you want him solve all your problems overnight!

    I think I have written quit a lot and many of you who have read might not agree but let me close it and answer to couple of you who are concerned why he met Richard Boucher? The Nazim plus everyone from central asian and south asian countries very much need to meet him as Richard Boucher is Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs and he is very much present during all meetings with delegations from South and Central Asian Countries. Do you think of all the people around, the president is going to select Mustafa Kamal to go and talk about Pakistan US relations? Grow up!….
    …beyond doubt we are not a nation, as nations have discipline sense and respect, we are just a crowd of senseless individuals…..


  6. altafbest on May 7th, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

    to give credit where credit is due, he has indeed done a lot for this city. but u have to remember a few points. first of all it was naimutallah khan who started massive amounts of work in karachi. perhaps even more so then mustafa kamal. and all the foreign diplomats also sang praises of him. alot of hardcore mqm supporters admitted that we have to show something now otherwise…

    second was the massive influx of money after 9-11 and vast resources given by the president to karachi, which was neglected before. again the nazim did show something for it. i know of places in the interior of the country where the nazims took 100% of the funds for themselves.

    also the mqm did show restraint after the elections when talk were breaking down. apart from a few dozen dead, tortured bodies of their opponents showing up, there wasn’t a major surge in violence.

    i am and will always be against the mqm and its leaders for a long time, till they prove themselves over time. mainly because of their past. and the few ‘trailers’ of their violent potential they have shown us over the past years (may 12 07).

    as for their more zealous supporters, i wont even try convincing them cause they are so brainwashed. but it is fun to put down their party and the swamp thing (pir sahib) and watch them stew.

  7. d0ct0r (d0ctor) on May 7th, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

    well calm down guys, last last year in May too MK was in USA attending Mayors conference as every one pointed out, while he was in USA,here on streets of karachi MQM’s terrorists planned orchestrated and staged 12th may Massacre.. time flies so fast,one year on,same terrorists are still at the helm of affairs ..

  8. d0ct0r (d0ctor) on May 7th, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

    U.S. continues to show double standards, on one hand it keeps of saying that it would not talk with dictators(Saddam Hussein/castro etc) on the other hand its in love with Pakistani Dictator and keeps of defending and backing him against the wishes of pakistani public.. similarly on one hand Americans reiterate that they won’t be dealing with (so called) terrorists organizations like Hamas/Hizbollah and Alqaeda(concocted imaginary organization) on the other hand it loves doing business with pir of london town and his brutal MQM which have blood thousands of karachiites on its hand (in the light of undeniable and irrefutable evidences)

    so there you have it, if it suits US then it won’t mind having cordial relations with a dictator and a proven terrorist organization and if it doesn’t suit US then it’ll declare a peaceful organization as Islamic terrorist organization and become hostile towards it..

  9. Syed Johny (johny) on May 7th, 2008 @ 9:14 pm

    I think Mustafa Kamal Made it clear that he was there for Karachi and all his meetings were related to the Investment and Promotion of Karachi,

    firstly he was there on Official invitation from the USA Govt., secondly he has openly denied that he had any political motives by mentioning that politics was out of his domain,

    "He said that the US State Department had helped arrange his meetings with the American business community and officials in various cities. He has already met the mayors of Chicago and Houston and the deputy mayor in Washington. In New York, he has a series of meetings with potential investors and is also meeting the board of directors of the world’s largest stock exchange."

    He also visited NYSE the biggest stock exchange of the world!

  10. faylasuf on May 8th, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

    Peace, appreciate what you said.

    MK is one of us, Mush, nawaz, BB… who knows what altafbest wud do if givn the resources and power unlimited

  11. shoaib on May 8th, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

    Hmm so the conspiracy theory has again started. Why dont we just think that he is representing out city and he is the elected Nazim of Karachi. Any problem with any one???

  12. shoaib on May 9th, 2008 @ 12:47 am

    City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mayor of Houston Bill White declaring Karachi and Houston as sister cities at city council Hall of Houston Texas on Thursday.

    The Mayor of Houston Bill White on this occasion said that as City Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa Kamal has great contribution in making Karachi a modern and well developed mega city which has also been appreciated internationally.

    Nazim Karachi Syed Mustafa on this occasion said the declaration of sister city for Karachi and Houston and the treatment I got in my visit to United States especially in Houston was an honor not only for me but for the citizens of Karachi.

    He hoped that the MoU would bring the citizens of both cities closer to each other and it would also help in understanding the problems faced by the two cities especially in the transfer of technology.

  13. faylasuf on May 9th, 2008 @ 2:43 pm

    thrz no post bout the mushaira in annu bhai park on 10th May

    hello hello wake up!

  14. بستنی (wasiq) on May 10th, 2008 @ 1:56 am

    The push comes to shove….i believe we all know for sure why…after watching the HONerable Her excellencies doing the digging for a new US consulate building near the …… mera piya ghar aaya…! they will need a lot of favors from the city gov and party chief…

    ps:author should have done a little research before posting this blog.thanks.

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