When I was leaving Pakistan . I thought at that time that it could not be worse of than what I am seeing but approx eight years later . I see things going from bad to worst. The frustration just grows unabated sadly. My children grow with something missing in their innocent lives. I grow older. A few years ago I promised that when I go back I am going back to a changed Pakistan. I wonder if that would happen? Life has no guarantees. But till I live. I live with the hope.
First of all before I am critical of what are the facts . Let me reassure for the purpose of record that I am a true patriot and I love my country. But I also believe that unless one do not do self actualization or self correction. You may never be able to address the core of the problem.
Karachi my city is the real back bone of the country. It is the Center of Gravity of our country. Any one knowing a bit of physics would realize that if the Centre of Gravity is un settled . You may never find any kind of stability. Anyone who would like to destabilize Pakistan would like this city to be ever destabilized. Meaning only one thing that Pakistan remains decentralized. Simple!
Today many blame MQM for the ills of Karachi . Many blame that they have created the mess. They blame that they brought violence to the city. Label them as part of the problem. I have written this in the past that being a patriot if I felt that had this been the case. I would have been the first to ask for cessation of the activities of MQM . But than I see the facts. Facts which I grew with. Lived with. Not sitting in Lahore or Islamabad. Not with an option to go back to northern Pakistan if it happens for the worse. With no option to leave abroad. I have breathed Karachi through out my youth till i left. I have seen the city smile. I have seen the city cry. I have seen the city bleed. I have smiled with it , I have cried with it and I have bled with it.
The city graciously accepted millions of people who left India for their dreams to Pakistan in 1947 onwards. Only to find themselves challenged or confused as to what to call themselves. Pakistanis or Urdu Speaking or Hindustani or Mohajirs. Irrespective of what they chose to call themselves. The result was the same. Survival!
I remember growing in the days of fear that someone would kill me or attack me for being one of the above as my school was next to one such locality. One day when my grand dad came to pick me during those times of fear. I remember asking him. ” Why they want to kill us?” he looked back at me with his deep barren eyes and told me that this would one day go away. My Grand dad died a lonely man. Till now I could not understand why he was always disgruntled with his life. Now as age is upon me I realize that he was like this because he was lonely. As he left all back in India. His wealth, his family, his friends and his memories. He chose to come to Pakistan for the dream of Islam leaving all behind as some or most of his family chose to stay back. He chose to come to live his dream. Only his grand son asking him as he ages that why others who are also Muslims trying to kill him and many like him . His deep barren response I would never forget.
As I grew up and I tried to experience the real life. Let it be applying in the college or in the Army. My not being the son of the soil haunted me. Every day was a struggle ; a matter of survival. As I saw my dad speeding away his car fearing that someone from the opposite community are coming to kill us . Those sleepless nights knowing that your area may be attacked tonight. No I was not living in Kashmir or Gaza . I was living in Karachi. Many thousands have died or maimed. Till now not a single commission or enquiry got formed. Everyday I live asking this question.
When I decided to become a political worker or join APMSO in 1993 . No one made me do it at gun point . I did it as I saw what happened to me though I still came from middle class and wondered what would be happening to the poor of the same community. Seen all these persecution, victimization, allegations and trauma. Not a single . I would repeat not a single instance in the history where some one came and said Sorry!
I know I may have suffered for my political belief in my college life, my relationships, my professional life and may be I would suffer more but I would continue to struggle till the time someone would step up and tell me that what my Grand Dad did in 1947 was not a mistake. I sometimes ask my self is it just restricted to the ethnic mindedness or is it a beyond mentality where the 98% suffer.
I have ignored them . I forgive them . I may be the revolting Bengali. I may be the disgruntled Baluch. I may be the goon like Taliban fighting the state. But I love Pakistan I forgive them as I dont want to dis enchant my self and my posterity . I dont want to prove that my Grand Dad made a wrong decision. I would prove those wrong who persecute me.
My message to MQM is simple. Your struggle is inspiring . But please find a way to build my city please. Many sons have died, many brothers taken away, many orphaned and many widowed. Please move heaven and earth in line with the teachings of Holy Quran , our Holy Prophet PBUH and our Quaid e Azam where all gave a message that being oppressed is a bigger sin. Lets make Karachi so strong that not only it remains as the backbone of Pakistan but its heart and soul. I know that you have been challenged every day with life and limb. But time has come maybe to put a stop to it. How ? I am sure the brains amongst you know. But with unity.
My message to establishment is simple . Stop trying to conquer Karachi . Stop treating it as a colony. We are equally your sons. We need justice equally for the murder, pillage and rape of ours. The solution lies with our beloved Pakistan Army who are forced to support Islamic radicals as they want to conquer Kashmir and Afghanistan but forget that their own sons and daughters cry for their help. Give me one example where the murderers accused of killing thousands or planning it have been highlighted and persecuted. Alas all the blame comes on MQM. No one dare to ask the question that if MQM at some point resisted. Why? Own us Gen Raheel Sharif. We are equally patriots . We are equally your countrymen. We may not be the ASWJ or SSP or LeT who can be used to kill and destroy our enemy but we present to you an equal opportunity to fight of our enemies with the brains which makes us similar. Sorry for being harsh . But if the facts of the time show that how is that my fault to point it out. These are not new identifications but reminiscent of East Pakistan and what happens in Baluchistan. Give us justice. Develop us. Recruit us . Let us also live. I feel Karachiites are tired of fighting establishment, fighting goons and fighting Talibans. They need your support , your affection, your consideration and your action to stop it bleeding further. They want to stop burying their sons every day.
I want that before I die or I return . My Grand Dad’s dream is not tarnished. My posterity are not treated as second grade citizens in their own country. I belong to a stronger Pakistan which is known for its production, for its talent and for its achievements. Not because of Mullah Omars, Mullah Aziz or Mullah XYZ . I dont say that dump our ideology . But use the ideology to grow Pakistan like used by Hazrat Abu Bakar R.A. , Hazrat Umar R.A. , Hazrat Usman R.A. and Hazrat Ali to grow Islam across the region.
Whilst today our neighbors break records one after another, have become the center of excellence, have become a financial hub . We need to try to attempt to reach that progressively. Not destructively by allowing extremism to take over for a few billion dollars from some friendly nations. We ourselves present such resources that we can grow united without prejudice on merit. But i wish that happens soon than before its late and we miss the golden opportunity today. Pakistan Zindabad!