Fossilised brains and deceitful intentions

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    The looming spectre of a regressive theocratic state

     

     

    The last few days have been extremely disturbing seeing politics sliding into an irretrievably degenerative labyrinth. Increasingly, it is dawning upon people that there is no quick cure to the deep malaise that political mafias suffer from and which, with time, is only likely to get worse.

    The odious and revolting language used by the MQM chief about women drew instant reaction from people who joined in a unanimous and vociferous condemnation of the nauseating verbal attack. The uncalled-for assault plunged the MQM and PTI into an abusive and no-holds-barred acrimonious war with protests staged by both parties against the other.

    Altaf Hussain’s tactics are sickeningly repetitive. Whenever he senses a challenge to his criminal hold over the city, he lashes across with unmitigated venom from the comfort of his home in London. If any level of protest ensues, he does not feel shame in apologising. He has repeated the act ad nauseam. What does this signify? Only that he’ll do it again!

    Though PTI ladies were the principal target of his repugnant harangue, it rightfully angered people from across all divides. The intensity of reaction forced Altaf Hussain to withdraw his foul words and also apologise to the lady that he had specifically targeted in his outburst. That cooled things off a bit, but the PTI has reiterated its commitment to move all concerned authorities including the Scotland Yard for initiating action against the MQM leader for using the British soil for inciting violence in Pakistan – a charge that has already been levelled against him in the past and, in all probability, is still pending investigation with the London police.

    Altaf Hussain’s vituperative tirade followed the release of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Report regarding the Baldia Town inferno which claimed the lives of over 250 people. Based on the information disclosed by a suspect, the report alleges that a well-known office-bearer of the MQM demanded extortion money amounting to Rs200 million from the factory owners through his front-man. When the factory owners refused to pay it, the MQM people set the factory on fire by spraying it with chemical substances. The JIT Report also contains information about the involvement of MQM members in several other criminal cases.

    Altaf Hussain’s tactics are sickeningly repetitive. Whenever he senses a challenge to his criminal hold over the city, he lashes across with unmitigated venom from the comfort of his home in London. If any level of protest ensues, he does not feel shame in apologising. He has repeated the act ad nauseam. What does this signify? Only that he’ll do it again!

    Then something happened in 1984 and the smiles were wiped off the face of Karachi: MQM was born. Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz, by its very inception, was a party based on ethnic divide – a feature which is deeply ingrained into its psyche and which has been criminally manipulated by its leaders over time. To confront the growing negative perception, the name was changed to Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997, but it brought little change so far as the key policies and approach of the party were concerned. MQM has continued to exploit the ethnic divide to win votes. But that has been the least of the crimes attributed to the party. It has been singularly responsible for creating the fear syndrome which hangs perpetually over Karachi and which has rendered the city virtually unliveable”

    The same shamelessness is built into his walking out and walking back into various coalition governments in the province and at the centre. This Machiavellian tactic is employed to force his evil way with other political parties manoeuvred with a simultaneous threat of bringing the city to a halt using its brute and criminal gangs.

    Let’s go back a few years. Karachi used to be called the city of lights. It was the principal hub of Pakistan’s industrial activity and the sole access to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. It was the only genuine cosmopolitan city of the country where hundreds-of-thousands of people from across religious, cultural, social and ethnic divides lived peacefully together. There was not a hint of trouble among them and the city lived as much by the night as by the day.

    Then something happened in 1984 and the smiles were wiped off the face of Karachi: MQM was born. Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz, by its very inception, was a party based on ethnic divide – a feature which is deeply ingrained into its psyche and which has been criminally manipulated by its leaders over time. To confront the growing negative perception, the name was changed to Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997, but it brought little change so far as the key policies and approach of the party were concerned. MQM has continued to exploit the ethnic divide to win votes. But that has been the least of the crimes attributed to the party. It has been singularly responsible for creating the fear syndrome which hangs perpetually over Karachi and which has rendered the city virtually unliveable. Other players joined in the act later. There is not a soul that may have escaped the criminal indulgences of the MQM, be it extortion of money, kidnapping for ransom, rape, murder, or just about any other crime that would fill their coffers, advance their political interests and drive fear in the hearts of people. Locating badly tortured and disfigured dead bodies in gunny bags, at times cut into tiny pieces, has been a sickening daily happening. Few families, if at all, have escaped the horrendous ordeal.

    The Karachi scene fits perfectly in the vortex of virtual liquidation of governance in the country that, on the one hand, reflects an abominable paucity of understanding and capacity on the part of the rulers and, on the other hand, it also symbolises the unease in the face of the tenuous civil-military relations. While the former may be a permanent feature among the political rulers of the country, the latter is what restrains them from taking any decisive action against the criminal mafias for fear of the fall of their own decrepit and tottering empires. Consequently, the country suffers, the people suffer”

    According to a Supreme Court judgement, MQM is one of those political parties which maintain their militant wings involved in unlawful activities in the city. The same SC judgement strongly recommended the disbanding of these militant wings and initiation of effective steps so that peace could be restored to the city. That, of course, has not happened mainly because of the criminally complicit role that political parties have played to guard their petty interests. The prospect of a bloodbath in the city at the hands of the MQM is the other key factor that has hindered the initiation of action against the criminal outfits. So, they roam the streets with impunity, brandishing their weapons, kidnapping people at random and the city remains deeply entrenched in the tentacles of fear and death.

    The Karachi scene fits perfectly in the vortex of virtual liquidation of governance in the country that, on the one hand, reflects an abominable paucity of understanding and capacity on the part of the rulers and, on the other hand, it also symbolises the unease in the face of the tenuous civil-military relations. While the former may be a permanent feature among the political rulers of the country, the latter is what restrains them from taking any decisive action against the criminal mafias for fear of the fall of their own decrepit and tottering empires. Consequently, the country suffers, the people suffer.

    When all this is happening in Karachi on a daily basis, the rulers in Islamabad remain busy making highly-publicised, on-camera enquiries about the prices of basic commodities in the market with their policies bringing little relief to the people. There would have been no action against the terrorists but for the military’s insistence. Even after it has been initiated under unrelenting pressure from the GHQ, it is being sabotaged in a number of ways. Other than the operations conducted by the military, the National Action Programme (NAP) has been reduced to holding meaningless meetings and repeating the government ‘resolve’ to eliminate terror from the country. On the practical side, the political leadership has so far not even been able to impose its writ on the seminaries and force them to reveal their sources of funding. Fully backed by the regressive religious clergy and some political parties, the vast network of seminaries dispensing jihadist invocations to the impressionable minds remains adamant in non-compliance. So the war against terror has been virtually reduced to the launching of air raids against terrorist strongholds in the FATA and a few other places and the hanging of some convicted criminals. That is hardly the right remedy for controlling the scourge of terror which emanates from multiple sources and causes. There is also a horrific underbelly to the ongoing exercise. In the event it fails to control and completely eliminate the culture and sources of terror, It’ll come back to haunt us and there will then be no way to drive the looming spectre of a regressive theocratic state away. We’ll all be its unwitting victims.

    So the war against terror has been virtually reduced to the launching of air raids against terrorist strongholds in the FATA and a few other places and the hanging of some convicted criminals. That is hardly the right remedy for controlling the scourge of terror which emanates from multiple sources and causes. There is also a horrific underbelly to the ongoing exercise. In the event it fails to control and completely eliminate the culture and sources of terror, It’ll come back to haunt us and there will then be no way to drive the looming spectre of a regressive theocratic state away. We’ll all be its unwitting victims”

    Not that the rest of the country is completely free of the malaise, but the frequent upsurge of street violence in Karachi is a major reflection of the terrorist mindset that is responsible for the spread of the menace in the country. If terror is to be eliminated, all its manifestations and sources have to be dealt with indiscriminately including its political extensions. There is no margin for making compromise with what may be construed as lesser evil under the guise of dealing with the more dangerous symptoms and projections first.

    We are losing this battle by not going full throttle. We are bending over backwards to let deeply contentious political compromises work, be these in Sindh, or in Punjab or elsewhere. Corruption and abdication of governance remain endemic as people crumble under the weight of multiple sufferings. Peace is Karachi is the key to Pakistan’s economic growth, but each day it is bathed in blood with no one to approach for remedy. The provincial government is trying for a compromise to save its depleting political future in Sindh and the federal government refuses to hand over the two witnesses to Scotland Yard in the case of the murder of Imran Farooq. The criminal architect of demeaning deals with the tyrant in London, who held the reins of the federal interior ministry, remains busy patching things up for facilitating the senate elections while his party is rocked with serious dissensions from within.

    What is needed is a decisive and indiscriminate action against all outfits that fit the description of crime in all its hues and shades. An inability to understand the problem in its entirety together with lack of ability, capacity and resolve to deal with it are the stumbling blocks. This may likely precipitate an unwelcome and irremediable situation.

    4 COMMENTS

    1. sir you showed real dare writing this article and hit nail on the head and credit also goes to Pakistan today for publishing it. PTI, Zehra shahid,s gory and merciless murder is also on the shoulder of MQM. Pakistan is besieged and entrapped by religious extremists as well as ethnicity expoliters

    2. Very true and very daring sir. I just wish that our political and military leadership shows the same resolve and bravery and put these criminals to justice and restore the smile on the face of my Karachi….

    3. What we are witnessing today are the result of follies made by Gen Zia…before that there was only Shia Sunni & that too we were living very peacefully, since Gen came there started " firkas " formed PPI ( Punjabi Pathan Itehad ) & many others just to counter different PPP & formed other sects…no one blames him but Gen M..why ?

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