Sindh pays…

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… for a very costly ‘reconciliation’ policy

The attack on a peaceful march convened by Awami Tehrik and People’s Amn Committee in Karachi puts the MQM and its allies in the dock. There were some who had hoped that after the Mohajir Qaumi Movement rechristened itself to Muttahida Qaumi Movement, it would join mainstream politics and shun violence. They were proved wrong when the party again caused the May 12 bloodbath in Karachi in 2007. The barbarous killing of innocent people belonging to all provinces gave birth to a strong resentment against the party all over the country.

As WikiLeaks revealed, a diplomatic cable sent from Karachi to Washington on May 17, 2007 contained details of a 40-minute telephonic conversation between MQM leader Dr Sattar and Charge d’affaires US Consulate Peter Boday. During the conversation, Sattar admitted that certain members of his party were involved in the May 12 incident and the party should consider unarming its militant wing.

The PPP’s opportunism brought the MQM out of isolation once again. Its presence in the ruling alliance has failed to curb its violent tendencies. During over four years of the MQM being a part of the government, its name continued to figure high in cases of targeted killing and extortion. The report of the Joint Investigation Team formed by the Sindh Government revealed the gory details of the killings undertaken by a number of its party activists led by Ajmal Pahari.

On July 12, 2011, the media reported the overnight appearance of graffiti on the walls of Karachi demanding a bifurcation of Sindh. The wall chalking was conducted in areas of the city which were mostly MQM strongholds. This led to a strong reaction in Sindh. The issue popped up in the Sindh Assembly where a unanimous resolution was passed affirming support for the historical entity of Sindh. Significantly, the MQM MPAs declined to sign the resolution.

Towards the middle of 2012, there was yet another spurt of appearances of graffiti and circulation of pamphlets demanding a separate province in Sindh. These, again, did not carry the name of any sponsoring organisation. It was around this time when a number of former MQM ministers and parliamentarians held a press conference in New York demanding the division of Sindh.

On May 15, a few dozen women carrying placards marched all the way to the press club chanting slogans for a Mohajir province. “Cities for us, Jungles for them” was one of the slogans. The demonstration led to a prolonged traffic jam on I I Chundrigar Road after M R Kayani Road was closed down as it passed through the Red Zone unhindered.

It is interesting to hear how the MQM and PPP leaders have tried to explain away the firing on the march led by Awami Tehrik and PAC. Why did the marchers not take permission, they asked? Why were outsiders creating hatred in Karachi, they questioned? Why did the organisers not take into account that the city was passing through delicate circumstances? The pro-Mohajir Suba procession had taken no permission and nobody had fired at them despite Karachi facing the so-called delicate situation. Nobody had blamed the organisers nor cast doubts on their intentions. It was the duty of the administration to provide security to the marchers demanding the unity of Sindh as it had done to those demanding the carving out of a Mohajir province.

Rehman Malik sounds irrational when he maintains that anti-social elements had been brought from the interior of Sindh by the AT and PAC. Supposing this was the case, why did they choose to target their own people and spare the supporters of the Mohajir Suba? Instead of tracing out the culprits, Malik has advised the Sindh government to get a case registered against AT President Ayaz Latif Palijo.

The demand for a Mohajir province is unnatural. People belonging to a region left under-developed often demand a separate province. This explains the demand for a Seraiki Suba. But the opposite is the case in Sindh. While people in ignored districts of Sindh oppose the bifurcation of Sindh, a party claiming to represent the richest city of the country wants a separate province. Karachi is in no way deprived or under-developed. It is adequately, if not overly, represented in the civil service and the armed forces.

PPP’s policy of unprincipled reconciliation with all is responsible for the misrule and the bloodshed that has occurred in Sindh during the last four years. The policy is meant to keep the party in power irrespective of the cost for the people of Sindh. The PPP leadership allows the MQM to do whatever it wants in the province in return for support to the PPP government at the centre.

In Balochistan, the PPP has entered into a similar understanding with the security agencies which have been given a free hand. The result: forced disappearances, stories of torture and dead bodies thrown on the wayside.

That the phenomenon is being witnessed now in Sindh also should be highly worrisome for anyone who wants a united, stable and prosperous Pakistan.

HRCP has been able to verify at least 41 cases of forced disappearance in interior Sindh since November 2010. Out of these, 26 people have been traced or released, but another 14 remain missing. Fifteen of these missing individuals were mainly political activists from Badin, of which nine have been released and six remain missing. The body of Muzaffar Bhutto, secretary general of Jiye Sindh Muttahida Mahaz (JSMM), who went missing in February 2011, has been found near Hyderabad. Thanks to the PPP’s policy of reconciliation with all, Sindh lives under a double whammy now

The writer is a former academic and a political analyst.

5 COMMENTS

  1. An excellent analysis by the author of this report. I am very impressed with that.
    The policy of reconciliation followed by Monsieur Asif Zardari has proved to be a disaster for the people of Sindh.

    The government failed to provide security for the people who were in the procession which started from Lyari. It is beyond doubt that MQM murderers fired upon a peaceful procession and killed more that 8 innocent persons including women and children.

    MQM has become a Frankenstein's monster which was in a brief coma but thanks to Asif Zardari it has no reinvigorated itself and has become uncontrollable.

  2. Mr. Rehman Malik is questioning about the AT's rally, Why did not he investigate the sponsors of rally in support of separate province in Sindh, which was the main cause of bringing & creating hatred between old and new Sindhis. Well analyses. As I am Urdu speaking Sindhi I was very much shocked on listening talk shows in which both the sides painting very dangerous pictures against each other.

  3. Monsieur Rehman Malik est un imbécile et il est dépourvu d'intelligence, mais il est un opportuniste égoïste et un menteur

  4. M. Zardari est de jouer avec les sentiments des gens pauvres de Lyari. Traditionnellement les citoyens courageux de Lyari ont été des supporters solides de PPP en dépit d'être négligés dans tous les mandats de gouvernement du PPP.

    M. Zardari essaie de tromper les citoyens de Lyari en présidant une réunion cosmétique et montrant que l'on appelle «colère». Je pense que les dommages est fait est fait et il semble irréparable. La politique de M. Zardari de «réconciliation» est conçu pour apaiser les voyous du MQM.

    Les habitants de Lyari a beaucoup souffert entre les mains de M. Zardari et il aura à payer un prix très lourd pour cela. Altaf Hussain a voulu que, et il atteint son objectif.

  5. Monsieur Zardari is playing with the sentiments of poor people of Lyari. Traditionally brave citizens of Lyari have been solid supporters of PPP despite being neglected in all the tenures of PPP government.

    Monsieur Zardari is trying to fool citizens of Lyari by presiding a cosmetic meeting and showing so called 'anger'. I think damage done is done and it appears to irreparable. Zardari's policy of 'reconciliation' is designed to placate MQM thugs.

    The people of Lyari has suffered a lot at the hands of Monsieur Zardari and he will have to pay a very heavy price for that. Altaf Hussain wanted that and he achieved his objective.

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