Altaf Hussain simply explained human biology. What was so vulgar about it?

Published: February 29, 2016

Let it be known that before he even brought up the subject, he asked if participants were uncomfortable, and if so, he would change the topic. PHOTO: APP

Once again, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) supporters were quick to criticise Altaf Hussain’s recent speech – mostly on social media. The outburst obviously made me curious about the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief’s seemingly offensive words. I managed to find the speech in question from February 16, 2016, which he made to workers and office bearers at his party headquarter, famously known as Nine Zero.

At about 9:30 minutes into the video, he began speaking about reproduction by quoting verse 13 of chapter 49, which is ‘Surah Hujurat’, of the Holy Quran.

But what could be considered the most important part of his speech was deliberately ignored and his explanation of human biology was taken out of context.

Let it be known that before he even brought up the subject, he asked if participants were uncomfortable, and if so, he would change the topic. Only after getting nods of approval from the audience did he start the discussion.

He went to explain the fusion of sperm cell from a male with an egg cell from a female as a result of copulation in biological terms about. This process takes place due to human biology inside a female body, which is called fertilisation. After fertilisation, a single Zygote is formed, which after multiple divisions of cells start the process of embryogenesis.

He further elaborated that the process from fertilisation to Organogenesis (formation of human organs) is coded in genetic materials called Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and Ribonucleic Acid (RNA).

He said that while a biology teacher could explain the topic, how many politicians or leaders in Pakistan could teach their workers and supporters such things? He was right.

I think a political leader should play a role in this regard and openly talk about every topic with his workers – with mutual consent, of course.

Altaf Hussain simply explained human biology. What was so vulgar about it? And what can be done about such narrow minds and mentality?

From grade nine to 11, our children, whether in segregated or co-education schools, study the reproductive system in detail. A perverted mind may get sexual gratification from a human anatomy atlas, but in actuality, it is a tool of education for medical students.

Throughout the sub-continent, especially Pakistan, most gynaecologists (medical specialists in female reproductive system) are female, as women are more comfortable discussing their issues with doctors of the same sex. Similarly, in Pakistan, most teachers of this subject are female as well. However, the subject isn’t just limited to female students and boys, too, are made to study this subject from the same teachers.

The MQM chief went on to question if everyone regardless of their class and ethnicity are a product of the same embryogenesis, why are they treated differently?

Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) stated that everyone is equal, regardless of their ethnic background in his last sermon.

The MQM chief simply inquired upon why, despite having common origins even in biological terms, muhajirs are being discriminated against, are faced with atrocities and are considered disdainful.

His speeches are always termed controversial by opponents or the establishment. They tried to control his speeches by establishing an unconstitutional media blackout and are now nit-picking his words and dispute him. But, in fact, he is the only one who has persistently raised his voice against extremism, the Taliban, oligarchies’ occupation on the system and the presence of the ISIS in Karachi. Some might find his reference to human biology controversial, but I don’t.

Kudos to him for bringing it up.


Farheen Rizvi

The author is a supporter of the MQM, has a Bachelors in business management from Iowa and a Masters degree in international management from the University of Maryland. She works for US based charities like IMHO and SUN while based in Virginia. She tweets @farririzvi (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • DevilHunterX

    Please don’t quit your day job.Recommend

  • Mohammad Salahuddin

    No, Kudos to You Madam!Recommend

  • Tanzeel Ahmad

    Thanks, Good and logical justification. Hope narrow minds understand this!Recommend

  • abdullah

    Nothing vulgar if you believe Human Anatomy has to be equally explicit… please no double speak!Recommend

  • Alter Ego

    Yes ,tell me which leader of Subcontinent openly discusses sex education on rallies?
    Do enlighten me.
    Even Modi, for all of his foolishness, has drawn the line there.Recommend

  • Aqib Ali Shah

    Here comes another Mqm follower justifying everything that is touted from their leader.Recommend

  • Sami Haider

    The Speaker is in UK while the Author of this article in US. Both trying to tell us that discussing Human Reproductive System in public is supposed to be a normal matter in Pakistani Culture!Recommend

  • Wajahat Shafi

    Either ur a mqm supporter or brain washed, there is no muhajirs in pak, can u plz tell me by which defination mqm supporters r muhajirs, to correct ur mind ,urdu speakers ruled Pak cfrm day one, all burecrates ,diplomates, PM .army chiefs were urdu speakers, as when india was divided they were only educated class, and for writers, is ur beloved ALTAF HUSSAIN is a biologist ,if he loves to talk abt biology i can offer him lecturer post in biology schoolRecommend

  • Sahir Palijo

    I agree that sex education is important, but there is a way of explaining certain things. In schools, where the writer points out young students are taught reproductive system, the teacher doesnt say and I quote “Mard k jism se ek kudrati cheez nikalti hai jo aurat k andar jaati hai.” Proper scientific terms are used instead of calling them ‘Andey’. This is not how you address such sensitive topics.
    By judging the expressions of the women in the front row I dont think they were enjoying the so-called lecture on human biology.
    The writer need to rethink her arguments.Recommend

  • Honest Opinion

    Would you mind explaining a little of your own “Human Biology” to us, Ms. Writer?Recommend

  • Ali

    Thank you for giving a shut up call to the narrow-minded critics.Recommend

  • JP

    Ahh,..there. Right on time. A hindu rears up, as expected.Recommend

  • Aizah

    Was this article satire? Highly confused #lolRecommend

  • Acorn Guts

    Nothing offensive I agree, but does this make any sense in context of ethnic segregation at all? No, because no one disputes process of creation. Altaf bhai is typically trying to create a dispute out of something for which there is no dispute to begin with.

    Ethnic segregation does not have roots in how babies are created we all agree on that, it’s how the babies are brought up and what moral values are imparted to them by their elders, that’s what counts and that’s what should have been the topic of speech instead of a lecture in biology and that’s why it’s a fail yet again.Recommend

  • Hassan

    Things become vulgar once repeated unnecessarily, i don’t know by which angle you think its not wrong, things in a class of medical students is altogether a different scenario whereas discussing the same where not only adults were present but children were there too in big numbers. you have your opinion but i tend to disagree.Recommend

  • S

    The same Govt that you are cursing restored peace in Karachi, So thank “Punjabis peon masses” for PML-N Govt. as you guys are incapable of handling your own city, let alone Sindh province.
    PS. PML-N doesn’t need to malign MQM. MQM leaders have themselves done this job admirably.Recommend

  • Rizoo

    People need to look at the brighter side of things. For everyone’s info perhaps AH himself does not want the ban on his speeches on media lifted, hence this piece of solid evidence for Pemra. It’s a no brainier that current Pemra chief will be within his rights to convert the current ban into a “life” ban after watching this one, once again thanks only and only to AH bhai. Alternately the writer of this article should try n get him a job at an educational institution in her country of residence so bhai can teach n spend rest of his productive days teaching the ignorant instead of fretting over losing his ability to educate others !!! Recommend

  • Asma

    Miss! There is a time and place for everything. He is not a biology teacher teaching students. He is addressing a public rally. What he said was not vulgar but inapproporiate.

    “His speeches are always termed controversial by opponents or the establishment. They tried to control his speeches by establishing an unconstitutional media blackout and are now nit-picking his words and dispute him.”
    His speeches are considered anti-state by a common Pakistani like me and I whole-heartedly support media blackout of this traitor. This leader openly asked for western interference in Pakistan, asked help from our enemies, talked against Pakistan and its institutions. He is an anarchist. Media ban is nothing. He deserves a lot more.Recommend

  • Mir Taqi

    To me, it was unwarranted, useless, irrelevant talk from a mindless so called “leader”. I wish you find a better avenue to use your time than trying to defend MQM goons.Recommend

  • RSK

    I will die before I see Altaf Hussain showing demo. Don’t put such ideas in his head. You will only regret :PRecommend

  • RSK

    But still India has one of the highest rape percentages. :)Recommend

  • annaz

    ‘His speeches are always termed controversial by opponents or the establishment. They tried to control his speeches by establishing an unconstitutional media blackout and are now nit-picking his words and dispute him.’ …Poor poor Altaf Bhai!!!! oh the atrocities hurled against him! u just made me cry….Recommend