Trouble down south


Another MQM-PPP showdown


Nobody disagrees with MQM that extra-judicial killings of its members must be thoroughly investigated, with stiff punishment awarded to those found guilty. Indeed, with Ch Nisar and Nawaz Sharif taking notice and promising action, some nerves must be soothed down south. Yet the grieved party’s relationship with the ruling party in Sindh is still not on the mend. If Tuesday’s Assembly session is anything to go by, brewing tension between the two parties will come to the fore as soon as there is a fresh confrontation. And that is cause for concern.

Tuesday also showed why some former friends are not so close to the MQM anymore. Pressing legitimate demands is one thing, but making a habit out of creating an atmosphere of hostility is quite another. Not only did all the blaming, shouting, and eventually walking out further sour things with PPP, it also made arguing their own case that much more difficult. It was because of MQM’s own tactics that Qaim Ali Shah could instead direct attention towards the former’s aggressive tactics. Surrounding the CM house was clearly taken as an attack by the ruling party. And since it fell well short of acceptable democratic behaviour, there was credibility in some of Shah’s arguments.

MQM’s chief, too, did himself no favours by involving himself so quickly in the CPLC controversy. Again, if he was left with egg on his face, it was his own miscalculation and being too quick on the draw that got it there. Sindh’s politics is as complicated as it is important for the federation. And neither PPP nor MQM needs reminding of this fact. Both are also well aware that deteriorating law and order has made the province’s security and economic situation precarious. As such, both should exhibit political maturity and responsibility. Instead of disrespecting the Assembly, they are advised to turn to political and legal processes to have their issues addressed. Of course, there is no room for perpetrators of extra-judicial murders to be allowed to walk free. But there is a proper route to ensure justice is delivered. The state apparatus must now investigate the 36 MQM workers allegedly lost in extra-judicial killings, and expose those involved.