The city of Karachi which has been practically wobbling on its foundation for the last couple of years or must say decade needed a serious operation. For the last many years the city’s inhabitants looked upon the political organizations and the state machinery to bring upon a long term peaceful solution in the city. The various stakeholders of the city sat together for many a times by use of conviction or coercion until December last year 2014 when the Army Public School was attacked . The nation united and resolved that its about time that Pakistan would be cleansed of the elements which are destroying the foundation of the country.
Some of the political parties like PTI wanted to keep the issue of Karachi and especially the operation against MQM the party comprising of mainly Urdu Speaking Community mainly from the Middle and Poor class or also known as Mohajirs who migrated from India after partition in 1947. Now ironically the parties like PTI and Jamaat e Islami has never been heard denouncing Talibans so much so PTI and its leader Imran Khan stopped short of denouncing Talibans though the attack happened in a city which is the capital of the province of KPK where his government rules. Now interestingly , all the actions let it be stoppage of Nato Supplies or against Drones . The two parties of JI and PTI have been always seen by the majority of Pakistanis as the political wing of Talibans or their likes in the country.
The recent concluded elections in Kashmir saw PTI’s getting allied with an far right anti Shia party called ASWJ. There are rumors that there might be a bigger unison of right wing parties who represent Talibans and their likes on one platform and participate in the political process in the country. Nothing wrong with being part of the political process but the suggestions of letting a terrorist party open offices and no hint of any denouncement makes me fear that is there an effort by certain segment of the establishment to push country in hands of Taliban minded elements under the guise of political activism led by parties like PTI .
Now since the operation picked up speed in KPK and the threat of Daesh and their likes increase in the rest of the country. The operation spread to Karachi. Some segments who are doing back door negotiations to keep Talibans at bay as per reports have come back with certain demands from these groups in return of peace which includes mainly re-engagement in Kashmir and obliteration or marginalization of MQM in Southern Sind city of Karachi and Hyderabad . There are reports that parties like PTI have insisted that if the government wants them to return to the assemblies they not only form judicial commission but also create room for them in Karachi . Some say this deal of commitment has been endorsed by some in establishment to get them to terms at the cost of MQM or the condition that whilst PMLN would keep control in Lahore . PTI would be slide into Karachi . Both parties having one major metropolitan under their control as PMLN do not want to loose control of Lahore.
Now based on this the following sequence of things happen :
– Re-engagement of talks on Judicial commission between PTI and PMLN though the charter or the ordinance would influence even smaller provinces where neither of them in power . Why?
– The resignations submitted by PTI in the National Assembly and the provincial assemblies of Punjab and Sindh are submitted. Whilst the ones in Punjab remain to be accepted inclusive of National Assembly on technical grounds. The resignations are accepted in Sindh .
– Senate elections see MQM emerge as the third largest party ahead of PTI with 8 seats . There was a possibility that MQM wanted a bigger role in Senate like Deputy Chairman Senate but instead just a day or two before Senate elections as MQM decides to vote for PPP. 90 the head quarter of MQM is raided.
– Just before Senate elections . Nabil Gabol the MNA from the NA 246 the constituency where the head quarter of MQM i.e. 90 is situated surprisingly resigns just before the elections are concluded.
– Surprisingly, the resignation is accepted and in no time By-Election announced whilst the city still awaited notification on the NA 250 and three Provincial Assembly seats . Whilst National Assembly resignation is pending approval by Speaker National assembly on based of a lacuna. The Provincial assembly By elections are selectively ignored in Karachi.
– The operation which started on ground of bringing in Law and order in the city as the government in my opinion and of many did not want to let Pashtuns isolated commence and choose to take out MQM as first step.
– Though many arrests and encounters happen of non MQM related criminals and terrorists belonging to Taliban, JI , PTI , PPP and ANP. Suddenly video confessions start appearing only against MQM only.
– A week later after operation commenced officially against MQM preceded by at least a dozen extra judicial killings of its workers. The operation was followed by a Video confession by Saulat Mirza hours before his scheduled hanging.
– The main force of Rangers leading the operation confronted MQM via media. Followed by some media houses creating Propaganda attack day in and day out.
Now keeping this in view. I decided to do an online survey encompassing the same issue and to see the sentiment of the people of Pakistan on what do they think about the commenced operation in Karachi . The sample questions were accessible by anyone and was extended to all the groups reachable on Social Media. Now the question may arise that some may not use Social Media now a days especially our poor class. The advent of cheap Telecom in Pakistan makes this point a little blur but at the same time it also should be kept in mind that such surveys do give you impetus of targeting specifically the opinion makers on the various medias. Though the survey is still open as I file this survey blog. I have received approx 500 responses over a 7 day period. Following are the results of the ten key questions asked :
The first question was “ Do you feel that the government is doing an unbiased operation in Karachi ?” The responders were given three options of choosing between a Yes, a No and a Don’t know. 75% of the responders belief that the operation is not unbiased means they feel its directed towards a certain agenda means they have less confidence in the same. Whilst 23 % belief in its neutrality . 2 % seemed to be unsure.
The second question was “ Who is the main target of the operation?”. Of the 5 given options. The majority i.e. 83% felt that the target of the operation are Political workers. Whilst 18% felt that it is targeted towards Gang war. Only 6% responded that they feel the operation is targeting religious extremism and 5% felt that its targeting Land Mafia. 7 % of the responded that it is equally targeting all the above. Now this response is confusing since the Constitutional Amendment 21 was targeting mainly Religious extremism and the cry was always that Gang War is the second most problematic issue in Karachi followed by Land Mafia. But strangely the perception amongst the masses is that less than 30% belief that the operation is targeting these three. As majority feel that the operation is now becoming political. A big lack of confidence unless that was the plan from the point go. Strangely Religious Extremism is the key issue in the country seem to attract the due attention in the minds of the people.
The third question was focusing on the role of media “Do you think media has played an adequate role during this operation?” . Of the 3 options given. 84% has shown their non confidence in media or felt that media has been biased since the beginning of the operation. Only 11% felt that Media has been un biased or independent . Whilst another 7% responded that media has not done the role that they should do at all.
The fourth question was “Are you satisfied with the approach of LEA’s confronting critics directly instead of the government spokesperson?” . The question targeted at the fact that neither provincial or the federal government look to back up the LEA’s operation in Karachi though some say that they are captaining the operation. In some cases LEA’s like Rangers have gone direct or used some media houses to do their job. 74% of the respondents have shown non confidence or responded as “No” towards the approach of the LEA’s . Whilst only 20% showed their confidence on the approach of the LEA’s . 6% were not sure. Clearly an indication that the LEA’s either force government spokesperson not to sit on the sidelines and do their job. Or change their strategy as its clearly not working out.
The fifth most interesting question asked the responders “Who do you think should be mainly targeted in this operation in the National Interest ?” Of the 4 options. 65% want the operation against Religious Extremism whilst the real perception of 6% in Qs 2 shows the wide gap of approx. 59% ; in this expectation of the majority of Pakistanis and respondents. 59% of the respondents want an operation against Gang War whilst as per Qs 2 shows 18% perceived value a gap of approx. 41% . 47% of the respondents want operation against Political parties showing a gap of 36% as per comparison between Qs 2 and Qs 5 . 46% of the respondents want operation against Land Mafia which presents a gap of 41% with the perceived value of Qs 2 where only 5% voted that the ongoing operation is actually targeting Land Mafia. This question gave option to respondents to choose as many option as possible.
For the Sixth Question. 39% felt that all three that the Federal Govt , Pakistan Army and Provincial Government are combined together in calling the shots in the current operation. 38% felt that it is only the Federal Government and the Pakistan Army. Whilst 26% felt that its solely Pakistan Army driving the operation. More than 50% of the respondents or 64% of the respondents felt that the Provincial government has no control. This is concerning since the Chief Minister is said to be the Captain of the operation. But the perception is otherwise. The question was “Who do you think is calling the shots in the current operation? “
The 7th question asked the respondents “Are the claims by MQM and its leadership that it is being targeted only in this operation ?” Of the 5 options tiered. 63% felt that this claim is entirely correct and 23% felt its correct but were not entirely sure about this. But the fact its that more than 50% respondents or 86% of the respondents felt MQM is the target which is a Political Party and not the only one named in Supreme Court judgment a couple of years ago and whilst more than 65% of the people want to see Religious Extremism countered. 11% don’t agree with MQM’s claim and 5% were not sure of MQM’s allegations.
The next question or the 8th Question is more to do with the first half of the survey blog or the recent developments in the city of Karachi since By- Election campaign has commenced in NA 246. The anxiety of the people seemed to be backed by Question 8th which is “Do you think that the current operation is to create room for a new political party in Karachi and Sindh?” . 67% are 100% sure that the current operation is a political and targeted to just create room for parties like PTI in Karachi . Another 17% though not entirely sure but also believes that the intention is the same to create room for PTI in Karachi. Only 10% believe otherwise. The 84% perception that this operation is to create room for a political party is ironic as we would like to see our Pakistan Army or Pakistan Rangers to be impartial being a national institution. I am sure they do not want this perception to embolden expanding the currently faced problem where a new strife commences in this city like the one in Baluchistan or happened in 1971 in East Pakistan. I strongly feel that the Army should not be a party to any political game whilst national security should be the first and only objective without becoming controversial.
58% of the respondents feel that Karachi operation would never see the logical conclusion when asked as Question 9 “How long do you think Karachi Operation would take before reaching its logical conclusion ?” . 9% felt that it would be over in 3 months. 18% felt that it should see its end in 6 months. 9% felt that it would take One year. Means almost 36% feel it would be over in One year or less. 8% felt that it would take 2 years and there were 4% who thought that it would take 3 years to conclude. But the fact that 58% do not see a logical conclusion is paramount of the fact that the government and the LEA’s should relook the strategy of conducting the operation in Karachi . I feel that without addressing the reasons behind strife the conclusion may never be achieved. My recent or last two blogs speak in details on the same and can be referred to it.
48% of the respondents are 100% sure and 24% are little lesser . Means about 72% of the respondents don’t think that the way the operation is being conducted is in the National Interest. The 10th Question being “Do you thing the way the operation is being currently handled by all parties is in National Interest ?” . This again is an ominous perception and rightly so if the LEA’s or the executioners have diverged from the original plan as per Constitutional Amendment 21 or the incident of Army Public School where the nation stood united. The current operation seem to divide or polarize the nation more where it should have been the other way around. Unfortunate but seems to be the perception. 7% feel that it is Definitely in the National Interest the way its being handled. And 12 % feel lesser but confident of the fact that the operation is in line. 11% responded as Not sure.
Based on the above feedback. The law enforcement agencies , the Army Leadership , the political leadership and establishment must think Pakistan First! to deliver the expected and promised reason why the nation united for PPO and CA 21 . The above responses are unfortunately showing that it’s a biased operation against MQM only in Karachi backed Media onslaught and the LEA’s are not looking neutral which must not be the case. Further the feedback is that the current operation if continued in the same spirit does not look too good for our National Unity and would fail as the real enemy which is the Religious Extremism is not being addressed in the largest Metropolitan of Pakistan where thousands of these religious extremists reside in pockets of certain communities. People have begun to ask that deference of the action against these extremists is either because of prejudice, is it because of ethnic reasons or because of political reasons or because of lack of will. Also the perception of the operation creating room for a political party just dis-credits more the operation and sadly the Pakistan Rangers which is an institution which should be seen as neutral and is currently not looking like one.
I am sure that the readers would take the feedback positively and spirit as people have spoken out and the feedback would be adhered to. I would encourage if a bigger survey is conducted if there is a feel of non confidence in this one. But till that time the feedback of this survey must be respected being in democratic times in Pakistan. Unless we have been quietly been put under a Martial Law yet again. I am sure truth and the will of the people would prevail. Pakistan Zindabad!