The thin end of the wedge?
Karachi which used to be a peaceful metropolitan city welcoming students, businessmen and labour from all over the country turned into a most violent place on account of Ziaul Haq’s political engineering. The shortsighted policy of promoting ethnic militancy to divide the post 1983 anti-Zia movement has continued to rack the urban Sindh ever since. When one violent group was out of control another one, equally pernicious, was created to discipline it. This led to the creation of organized torture centers, bodies found packed in bags, assassinations of political opponents and violent strikes as show of power that brought the industrial hub of the country to frequent standstills. Pervez Musharraf made use of the MQM to deal with political opponents causing further bloodshed, the 12th May 2007 killings being an outstanding example.
One had hoped that the offstage players had learnt from the mess they had created by interfering in the political process. The formation of the PSP which simply failed to strike roots, and the latest shot gun marriage between the PSP and MQM that was on the rocks hours after it was solemnized indicates that they have not. Mustafa Kamal has admitted that a meeting was arranged between the two at a safe house by the ‘establishment’. Farooq Sattar too has called into question the ongoing interference. Pervez Mushrraf was the only one to congratulate the two parties over the ‘alliance ‘ The subsequent announcement by the former military ruler of the formation of a grouping of 23 parties under him and an invitation to MQM-P and PSP to join it raises disturbing questions at this juncture.
At a time when the elections are scheduled to take place within months, the blatant interference in the political process by outsiders would be interpreted as an attempt to influence the outcome of the elections. This would strengthen the perception that the establishment is keen to have a replay of the flagrant rigging that took place in 2002 to replace the mainstream parties with its pawns. This would deliver a highly negative message at home and tarnish the image of the country abroad.