Articles of the year 2007

An Eye for an Eye
Published on May 19th, 2007<

The horrendous events of Saturday have opened a new dimension in the politics of Pakistan. The expected repercussions are already being rumored to be on a scale greater than that of the 12th May.Karachi, the city of lights, that saw a working relationship between the MQM, and the Pathan groups emerge after many long years of an uneasy truce, is now being dragged back into no-go areas, once considered a relic of the bloody past. Just as Karachi was emerging as an investment friendly city, the hopes and dreams of the economic managers of Pakistan have been cruelly shattered.

The MQM leadership of Karachi should have realized the massive stakes that were involved, and should have planned accordingly, on a worst case scenario basis. As events unfolded the managers of Karachi should have immediately implemented plan B. Unfortunately there was no such plan. As I have said in my previous articles, the President is very short of thinkers. And as I have said before the stakes are high, and now ridiculously high. The President should realize, that, with the Pathan penchant for revenge, honed after hundreds of years of practice, living in Karachi for many years has not quite removed this genetic trait, he should have seen to it that even though the MQM did consider Karachi as their 'turf', they should not have been indiscriminate with their aim. The Pathan has taken the matter very personally, and is already looking for revenge. He does believe in a tooth for a tooth, and will consider it a betrayal of honour if he does not exact revenge. The Karachi miscreant may have thought it was a Saturday morning game, unfortunately the Pathans think otherwise.

Having settled in Karachi, they brought with them the 'revenge' code. This has been the ruin of many of their enemies, and the dead British soldiers buried in the NWFP bear mute testimony to this with their tombstones engraved with their names, rank and regiment. Enough of the History of the Pathans, was there any need to question their commitment to honour?The MQM with all the intelligence at its command, for they may be the most highly educated, with the highest literacy rate, but it seems in one 12 hour spell they threw away their entire future as a national party. The attack on the CJ procession was uncalled for, and when the shooting started the body count was horrific. The fallout was expected. The Frontier Government has closed all the MQM offices, while in the Punjab the Party itself has voluntarily shut shop.One had expected that the MQM over the last five years, had established for itself a reputation as doers, and builders, with people like Kamal Mustafa fixing the roads and infrastructure with much praise from the Karachiites that had been neglected for such a long time.

The Party had emerged as an effective partner in the coalition in Sindh. In the Centre they had the eloquent Farooq Sattar, and Babar Ghauri so it is not understandable why these two did not manage to prevail upon the President's coterie, and dissuade him from his disastrous course. In fact they should have made sure that events in Karachi were not allowed to spiral into a killing spree. As the senior partners in the coalition they should have anticipated their share in the blame, which was bound to come their way. All the other ethnic groups are delighted to apportion the blame directly on to them.If indeed the President is being misled by a handful of courtiers, surely the MQM members Babar Ghauri and Farooq Sattar are in constant touch with their party workers at the grass roots level, in a manner unlike any other Party. As a part of the Federal cabinet with their high IQ they could have prevailed upon the President and the Prime Minister to desist from any course that would lead to blood shed. The MQM is here for the long term, and will not vanish overnight. It is built on the hopes of a large ethnic minority which has at last found a voice. They are now huddled in fear. Awaiting the impending reprisals. They now have to quickly formulate a Peace Plan if they want to coexist in Sindh.