The fascist face of politics

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    Peace contingent on fighting ethnic, sectarian and religious terror

     

    The March 11 Rangers raid on the MQM headquarters in Karachi and the recovery of wanted criminals and a huge cache of arms including some prohibited items provides another concrete proof of the fascist face of a party that goes around as a debatable political concoction with electoral support.

    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote as part of another piece: “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”.

    A couple of weeks ago, I wrote as part of another piece: “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

    The fact that criminals, including one awarded the death sentence in absentia and another given twelve years in prison, were arrested from the MQM office provides irrefutable evidence of the allegation that the party sponsors terror in the country and uses heinous methods to advance its political interests. After the Rangers operation, practically all MQM representatives appearing on a host of television networks used the ethnic card in a flawed bid to refute their alleged involvement in criminal activities and sheltering convicts at their party stronghold. In this context, I am also reminded of the NAP resolve to ban the preaching of hate speech and the use of the ethnic and sectarian cards in the fight against terror. Will there be cases registered against those who publicly indulged in an effort to sow seeds of hatred and discontent?

    It is also alleged that some of the recovered weapons may have been stolen from the NATO containers — an accusation that the MQM had reacted to strongly when it was first made. Altaf Hussain’s late-afternoon somersault that the weapons were smuggled in blankets by the Rangers personnel is as ridiculous as any statement can conceivably be. So is also the assertion that criminals were only arrested from houses around the MQM headquarters area.

    As a matter of fact, his earlier admission of the presence of the convicts at nine-zero and the manner of his speech smacks of his clear penchant for tolerance of criminal activities. He said that, instead of taking shelter at the MQM headquarter, thus exposing the party to allegations of complicity, these criminals could have hidden anywhere else in the country. He cited his own example saying that, after all, he is also running the party sitting far away in London. There was no condemnation of either the criminals for having run away from law, or his party leaders who extended protection to them. Instead, there was justification for them looking for safe shelter, but that it should not have been at the MQM office.

    As a matter of fact, his earlier admission of the presence of the convicts at nine-zero and the manner of his speech smacks of his clear penchant for tolerance of criminal activities. He said that, instead of taking shelter at the MQM headquarter, thus exposing the party to allegations of complicity, these criminals could have hidden anywhere else in the country. He cited his own example saying that, after all, he is also running the party sitting far away in London. There was no condemnation of either the criminals for having run away from law, or his party leaders who extended protection to them. Instead, there was justification for them looking for safe shelter, but that it should not have been at the MQM office

    Now a word about the protest call that followed the raid, thus grinding the city of Karachi to a halt. If the raid had not resulted in the capture of wanted criminals and alleged target killers as well as a huge cache of banned arms and sophisticated weapons, one could have sympathised with the MQM call for a clamp-down in Karachi. But, when you are caught with your pants down, what is the justification for a call to protest? Are people supposed to agitate against MQM’s involvement in providing safe hideout to convicts and criminals? There was a similar outcry in the aftermath of the JIT report regarding the Baldia fire incident which resulted in the burning of over 250 people and which allegedly was ignited at the refusal of the owners of the factory to pay extortion money demanded by the MQM functionaries. This has become a routine pattern of the MQM protest. Whenever their involvement is alleged or established in a criminal activity, the axe of their anger and rancour always falls on the people of Karachi who have to suffer their violent and virulent protest at the cost of their lives.

    A couple of evenings ago, I was at a dinner with some other people and the question of the role of ethics and principles in politics cropped up. In fact, this has been a major dilemma behind the multifarious setbacks that we have encountered in the struggle for the advent of genuine democracy in the country. We have practised a brand of politics that appears to be completely shorn of the ethics and principles component. For example, those who are most vociferous for the need of democracy in the country are running their political parties as family oligarchies and there have never been free and transparent elections for various echelons of leadership. People are selected by the ‘owner’ of the party rather than elected by its members. Lacking in both empowerment and capacity, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has also not been able to assert its authority to force the parties to hold genuine intra-party elections. Instead, it accepts whatever is submitted by way of elections in these political parties which, inter alia, is nothing more than a farce and a cruel joke played with the need for holding a democratic exercise.

    The complicity of the leading political parties in further expanding the repertoire of terror and violence has also been confirmed by the contents of files recovered from the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. These files contain material revealing a nexus involving al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. As per contents of a letter written to bin Laden, it was alleged that Shahbaz Sharif “was ready to re-establish normal relations as long as the Pakistani Taliban do not conduct operation in Punjab”. Under the terms of the alleged proposal, attacks elsewhere in the country would be apparently acceptable

    Starting with abnegating this basic need, the political parties have virtually degenerated to becoming regressive family mafias ready to advance their financial interests by ravaging the state exchequer and employing extra-democratic means. The Supreme Court (SC), in an historic judgement, had pointed towards the presence of militant wings in political parties in Karachi and had urged the government to take measures for their abolition. No such thing has since been done for want of both political will and moral authority. Practically, all political parties are involved in the use of violence, one way or the other. As a matter of fact, the culture of violence has assumed epic proportions and no facet of governance is completely free of this scourge. With time, it has also assumed a predominant position impacting the lives of ordinary citizens who are subjected to its harrowing effects on a daily basis, its most virulent form being religious violence which is perpetrated from the pulpits and from the safe confines of the seminaries, without any let or hindrance. Also worrisome is the news that the government has opted not to address the nurseries of terror and, instead, focus only on eliminating its perpetrators by conducting security operations and lifting the moratorium placed on death penalty in the country.

    The complicity of the leading political parties in further expanding the repertoire of terror and violence has also been confirmed by the contents of files recovered from the compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. These files contain material revealing a nexus involving al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. As per contents of a letter written to bin Laden, it was alleged that Shahbaz Sharif “was ready to re-establish normal relations as long as the Pakistani Taliban do not conduct operation in Punjab”. Under the terms of the alleged proposal, attacks elsewhere in the country would be apparently acceptable. This news had also surfaced a number of years ago forcing the Punjab chief minister to go for an overkill in denying its contents. It has now come back with more verifiable evidence. Is there anyone taking notice? Is there anyone who would order a transparent enquiry into the allegation? After all, the person alleged to have made the offer is none other the sitting chief minister of the largest province of the country and one who also happens to be the brother of the incumbent prime minister!

    If Pakistan were ever to return to peace, it would be contingent on fighting ethnic, sectarian and religious terror and gagging their nurseries, be it of the MQM or Sharif brand. They sow seeds of degenerate indoctrination and are equally lethal in the use of criminal tactics to advance their political objectives. They symbolise the grave challenges that Pakistan need to comprehend, combat and eliminate

    The line separating those who follow the straight path and those who pursue nefarious activities involving crime, terror, killing orgies, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and such other gory indulgences is getting increasingly blurred. The writ of the state represented in the moral authority of the leaders has vanished. Practically everyone who is anyone in the multiple ruling hierarchies has a track record taking them back to the world of corruption, crime and terror. The denial mode is rampant. The MQM response in the aftermath of the raid on its office and the recovery of large consignments of weapons and criminals is typically symptomatic of the pattern: rich in grandiose polemics and raw emotion, but lacking in credible reasoning to effectively rebut the charges. There was a ludicrous proposal that came from the head honcho: if there were criminals at the MQM office, the Rangers should have informed them and they would have handed them over to the authorities. Now, what world are we living in? Yes, they should have been informed so that they could help the criminals escape and, instead, put the blame on the Rangers to have tried to falsely implicate them in criminal activities!

    The so-called electoral support that the MQM advocates never tire of parroting is only because of the gruesome fear syndrome that its goons have perpetrated on the city of Karachi. If only this fear factor were to be eliminated, the MQM is likely to be razed to a pedestrian as a political party which, by any definition, it never was. It was conceived as an ethnic outfit and, with the passage of time, and its deep involvement with the crime syndicate, it hardly finds any takers to accept it as a political entity.

    If Pakistan were ever to return to peace, it would be contingent on fighting ethnic, sectarian and religious terror and gagging their nurseries, be it of the MQM or Sharif brand. They sow seeds of degenerate indoctrination and are equally lethal in the use of criminal tactics to advance their political objectives. They symbolise the grave challenges that Pakistan need to comprehend, combat and eliminate.

    2 COMMENTS

    1. Does anyone need peace? I doubt if anyone really needs peace. Why? The conditions of achieving peace is for the people to come together to rally round no one but the Lord, Lord Creator. To become Muslims, people will need to change their habits. Change bad habits for good habits.
      Among the good habits, "Justice" must be in the thoughts, words and deeds of every Muslim or else one is not a Muslim. To practice justice is to obey the Lord, Lord Almighty. Why? The uppermost concern in the mind of a Muslim has to be, answerable on the day of Judgement.
      How many of such people do we comes across in our every day life? How many Muslims, do we come across every day? Not many. True?
      Peace and Pakistan will never come to those who will not become Muslims as above.

    2. The politics in general in Pakistan shows the same configuration.Any departure from this is not evident apparently but only through analysis. This analysis is even mostly party interest oriented. Individual accounts are usually not touched to save one's own neck in the line. Permit me to say that there is no direct link between Shame and politics. Every criminal has a justification available to his crime. And there are supporters too,readily available to the criminal.

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