EU for all talk, no action


Pressing for political dialogue among the major stakeholders in Karachi, the European Union (EU) has held several meetings with different personalities and opposed the ongoing administrative actions against anti-social elements in the past few days.
The EU delegation led by Ambassador Lars Gunnar Wigemark on Saturday visited the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) headquarters Nine Zero and the Mardan House, residence of Awami National Party (ANP) Sindh President Shahi Syed. The delegation discussed about the ongoing operations in the city and the possibilities of durable peace with the leaders of the two parties.
In the morning, the EU delegation had also held a meeting with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad at the Governor’s House and then went on to meet Sindh Inspector General of Police Wajid Durrani. Afterwards, the EU team contacted the ANP Sindh leadership expressing their interest to hold a meeting. The delegation arrived at the Mardan House and held a closed-door meeting with Syed.
After the meeting, the EU representatives told the media that the union strives for peace in the region and is working against terrorism. “The EU is concerned about the worsening law and order situation in Karachi as the city is a business hub. We want every issue to be settled down through dialogues and negotiations.” They also said that after the complete restoration of peace in the city, the EU will even grant access to their markets for Pakistani commodities.
On questions as to why the EU was involved in an internal issue and why was it against administrative action, they were of the view that violence begets violence. “We are only giving a suggestion, not interfering in the internal affairs.” However, the delegation did not respond to many other queries from the reporters.
In a statement, ANP spokesman Qadir Khan stated that his party leadership was firm on across the board action against criminals, who may belong to any political party, ethnicity, religion or sect. Then the EU delegation went to Nine Zero for a meeting with the MQM leaders. EU ambassador Wigemark was accompanied by political attaché Ms Louise Kornung. The guests were received at the MQM headquarters by MPA Faisal Subzwari and Coordination Committee members Nasreen Jalil, Raza Haroon, Dr Saghir Ahmed and Kunwar Khalid Yunus.
After briefing the visitors about the current political situation, with particular reference to Karachi, the MQM leaders informed the EU delegation about their perspective on national and international affairs. Their meeting lasted for over one hour. Three days ago, the EU delegation had also met Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan.
Insiders told Pakistan Today that the representatives had softly opposed administrative actions in Karachi and pressed for political dialogue. The Sindh government with support from federal government had started surgical operations in different areas of the city against alleged target killers, extortionists and other criminals.
The EU stand has surprised many quarters and independent observers have expressed concern about its activities in Karachi. They say that the EU demand for dialogue between political parties is very positive but their opposition to administrative action is beyond comprehension.