MQM protests too much


Wearing victimhood on its sleeve, always looking for special treatment

The law and order situation in Karachi was going out of control by the end of August. The MQM Senator Nareen Jalil had in a letter called on the apex court to do something to stop the deterioration in the city. When the issue landed up in the NA, the MQM demanded handing over the megapolis to the army, a proposal no other party was willing to support. Finally a consensus emerged among the parliamentarians for an across the board targeted operation in Karachi conducted by the police and the Rangers. When the crackdown started on September 8, most criminals had already left the city. This led the agencies to go after them in other provinces. A number of them were arrested from various places in the Punjab. The Karachi Rangers and Police are now extending the dragnet to the interior Sindh, starting from Hyderabad. The operation in Karachi is generally considered to be evenhanded. A number of alleged target killers and extortionists who were hiding in Punjab belonged to a religious organisation based in Karachi. Others were connected with the Lyari gangs or the former Aman Committee. A few belonged to the banned organizations.

During the five year tenure of the PPP led coalition the three partners accused one another of patronizing criminal elements involved in target-killings, land-grabbing and extortion. It was widely expected that during the ongoing targeted operation criminals affiliated with these parties will also be brought to justice. The PPP didn’t protest when one of its sitting MNAs from Lyari was arrested. The ANP has urged a vigorous action against the criminals irrespective of their party affiliations. The MQM on the other hand invariably protested whenever action was taken against anyone having connections with it, forgetting that all are equal before law. The party takes the unreasonable stand that since it enjoys the ‘mandate’ in Karachi, any action against its members is unacceptable.

The arrest of an MQM activist on a murder charge and alleged recovery of weapons from a party office have again elicited a strong reaction from it. Instead of proving its innocence in the court where the matter will soon land up, the MQM maintains that a conspiracy is afoot against it and the ongoing ‘media trial’ is a part of it. While the police and the Rangers were within their right to conduct the raid on the MQM office, it was indiscreet on the part of their officials to hold a press conference regarding this particular case when they had scrupulously avoided naming the parties of the suspects arrested earlier. This would remind some of DG Karachi Rangers’ statement about the missing containers carrying weapons and then going back on the claim. What the agencies need to do leave the media spotlight to the politicians and concentrate on preparing watertight cases so that the criminals regardless of political affiliation are brought to justice. And that they scarcely ever do.