An exercise in firefighting


MQM and PPP are at it again


As a result of the lack of coordination between Sindh government and Islamabad, the Karachi Operation has failed to achieve its stated aims. Despite a minor reduction in crime, lawlessness in general could not be brought under control. Meanwhile the continuous rift between the PPP and MQM has added a new dimension to internal security. Taking note of the escalation of the tensions in Karachi the Prime Minister contacted the MQM leadership in the port city. As Altaf Hussain warned to lock Karachi every time a party activist was killed, Nawaz Sharif decided to visit the port with two senior federal ministers.

The MQM which was a part of the ruling coalition in Sindh resigned on account of certain observations made by by Bilawal Bhutto. A war of words has since been going on between the two parties. Initially the MQM had complained that law enforcement agencies had picked up and killed its activists. As more dead bodies were received by it, the party accused PPP leaders to be involved in the affair. The MQM then took recourse to its most potent weapon, the closing down of Karachi. As this too failed to work, Altaf Hussain issued the new threat.

After a long time the MQM is out of power both in Sindh and in the centre. This has caused a deep sense of isolation in the party. The Prime Minister held a meeting with the CM and Governor and another one with provincial government leaders and security officials. He also met the MQM leadership and the families of some of the MQM activists avowedly killed in staged encounters. The aim was to understand the situation on the ground and to remove the sense of isolation in the MQM. He has ordered the constitution of a judicial commission as demanded by the party.

The visit should provide confidence to the MQM that in the presence of a neutral centre no injustice would be done to it. It remains to be seen if this is enough to satisfy the party.