Politics of Violence in Karachi and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf

By Akhtar Malik

17 April 2013

karachi_violenceThe political party that introduced the culture of violence in Pakistan was probably Jamat e Islami. With its baton – carrying (Danad bardar) youth Jamat e Islami would raid any social gathering like new year festival or a fashion show that was perceived to be ‘un-Islamic’ by them. The baton was probably not that lethal a weapon when compared with the Kalashnikov, which was introduced in the politics by MQM which stated taking routes in Karachi in 1985. There is no doubt that MQM was the pioneer of politics of violence in Karachi. All the political parties in Karachi now have a militant wing of their own. It is sad that these parties still deny it, despite of the fact that Supreme Court has also given their verdict on this issue. When the representatives of these parties come in the talk shows on media, they claim that they do not harbor any terrorist and that any operation against the terrorists should be carried out across the board. But when the criminals related to any political party are arrested the same leaders then put pressure on the government from behind the curtains, to get their criminals released.

This is what has been happening in Karachi for the past two decades. Whenever the activities of any group, particularly the MQM, would go beyond limits, the establishment of those times, in collaboration with the sitting political government, would start a cleanup operation in the city. This happened in 1992 and 1995. Military operation is never an appropriate solution to the actual problem. As a result MQM always staged a successful comeback through elections, declaring their party as an innocent and a victim of the state coercion. There is no denying the fact that political problems always need political solutions. Use of force is just a temporary and short term measure.

This government of PPP from 2008 to 2013 did not have the courage and political will to cleanse Karachi from the terrorists just because it depended heavily on the support of MQM. Without MQM the government of PPP would have collapsed in Islamabad. This was the bitter fruit of their notorious policy of reconciliation. As a result the Supreme Court had to take Suo Moto notice but the decision of the Court to disarm the militant wings of political parties and to finish ‘no -go’ areas, were never implemented by the government. Even now the caretaker government is just passing its time and is not serious on enforcing the writ of the state and rule of law.

The policies of violence, coercion and blackmail adopted by MQM, ANP and PPP have been well exposed before the public. With unfolding of the current events, even the supporters of MQM in Karachi and urban Sindh have been baffled. The political parties formed on the basis of race, language and sect always try to keep their vote bank intact through the barrel of the gun and by inculcating fear of being eliminated by other rival groups. The citizens of Karachi are not finding any way out to liberate themselves from the cruel clutches of these racial and linguist groups. As and when they are able to find any alternative with the assurance of protection of their lives, they will not hesitate to change their loyalties in favor a national level party.

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) leadership has done an excellent job to adopt a policy of nonviolence. This policy though a slow-moving and enduring one, is showing its results. Apart from the general public even the media persons, journalists, human rights activists and the civil society campaigners are now all out to appreciate the party for its serenity, resilience, persistence and fortitude. These are the virtues that are hardly visible in any political party. These are the qualities that are going to further attract the masses. Some hawks in PTI may be impulsive to do something matching with the mood of the people and political culture in the country but the party is successfully towing its line of nonviolence. The mammoth Jalsa of 25 December 2011 in Karachi marked an important milestone in the political progression of PTI. The party was thus seen as a good substitute for MQM, ANP and PPP in Karachi, who had given nothing to this metropolis except for terrorism, target killings, kidnapping for ransom, ‘Bhatta Khori’ and land mafias. If the people of Karachi want to change their life and destiny for the better there is no other option than to refrain from casting their votes in favor of MQM, ANP and PPP. Obviously PTI is the only suitable choice for the people of Karachi. If they are tempted to vote for PML-N as alternative to PPP, they are going to repent it soon. PML-N after coming to power will again form an alliance with MQM exactly as PP did in order to ‘facilitate’ their governance. The results will not be different from what happened during 2008-13.

(The author can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com)

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