I was watching a talk show on one of the international channels hosted by Mehdi Hasan on Al Jazeera news. The guest for the program was former ISI chief General Asad Durrani. The talk show was all about ISI’s actions in the last few decades. In the same program it was graced by on former Pakistan Bureau Chief of New York times Declan Walsh who was telling us about how he was one fine day before the 2013 elections was given a message a few days to leave Pakistan as part of the audience sitting there when asked to comment on the discussed topic.
Appalling it may look but there are various stories doing round on how Declan Walsh hit the wrong cord with the Pakistani intelligence agencies inclusive of his reports on several issues pertaining to Pakistan’s national security . One recent story blamed was attack on PAF Kamra where he pointed towards security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Declan Walsh has served in Pakistan for couple of years mainly out of Islamabad and was quiet known in the journalistic circles. So much so whenever a report is put together on the struggles faced by the Pakistani journalists. His name do appear. I am sure he added a lot of value for his employer from here in Pakistan.
He has written twice against the fourth largest party of Pakistan. Second largest of Sindh and the largest party dominating the city of Karachi which practically generates 70% of the revenue as being inhabited over 20 Million people. Both the times interestingly he has written with the intent of maligning the leadership of the party stopping short of accusations which we a normal Karachiite or Pakistani hear day in and day out for the last two decades but have not seen any evidence or proof apart from confessional statements which I am sure after severe torture is the easiest to obtain. The city of Karachi has been the center of a large power struggle in the country as time and again it has proved that chaos in Islamabad or in Lahore or in KPK has practically no bearing on Pakistan’s economy but one day of chaos in Karachi brings the economy to a screeching halt.
I wonder that whilst his sojourn in Pakistan I am sure he must be getting intelligence reports or debriefs but his many friends whose main bread and butter is by abusing and accusing MQM and its leader Altaf Hussein whole day. He has put in two pieces together making me wonder if at all I am reading a New York Times report or a prime time talk show summary which we Pakistanis have to bear every day. The latest piece published on April 14th 2015 trying to establish the fact that MQM has lost or is losing the grip on the city of Karachi and further that the city is known for its violence. Trust me I respect all kinds of opinion but makes me wonder that how come someone sitting thousands of miles away and someone who has been sued by the party in US courts would dwell on this opinion. I am sure his Pakistani counterpart Zia ur Rehman would have given words to it. Sorry to say it looks like that Mr. Walsh is anxious to come back to Pakistan a great country to work and enjoy the perks especially if you are well connected and no doubt Mr. Walsh was well connected .The plot shown by Mr. Walsh looks like is bearing the same objective pleasing those who showed him the door.
Now I am not sure whether this piece would reach the readers of New York times but I take it upon myself that records and history must be put in context. Some chronology must be applied to kind of prove that when Mr. Walsh was putting this piece together. He was in cohesion with the bigger drama being played in Karachi or let’s say one constituency i.e. NA 246. Now I am sure that Mr. Walsh would not take my assumptions as personal as he based his report on conjecture of the anti MQM forces in Pakistan. Mine would be a little closer to reality. I personally expect that as a journalist working for a renowned newspaper like New York times would do some journalistic spade work instead of just basing it on assumptions or conjecture as they say. Factual journalism would not have seen this story getting published.
First of all let me re-emphasize for the readers that MQM has been the party which has stood up for the rights of Pakistanis of all back ground . The only party in Pakistan which held a candle light vigil for Sep 11th attacks. The only party which has condemned religious terrorism and has been resisting it for the last 3 decades. The only party which has lost thousands of supporters and workers, hundreds of office bearers and at least 3 sitting member of parliament shot by the religious extremists . The same lot who killed a sitting governor in Punjab and a Minority minister (a Christian) in Islamabad . The only party which conducts religious festivities for all kind of religions existing in Pakistan from Eid to Holi to Christmas . The only party which stands for rights of everyone.
On the contrary the right wing element in Pakistan where you could see that the same element support the ruling party of Pakistan i.e. PMLN and Punjab. The so called largest opposition party i.e. PTI or Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf which is now a days been called as Pakistan Taliban Ittehad due to their proximity and support to Taliban and their agenda. Let it be protests against Drone Strikes or shipment of Nato supplies. So much so a few months ago PTI leadership was endorsed by Taliban leadership for leading Pakistan. Than I wonder Mr. Walsh that makes MQM an ally of the world who despise religious extremism . Why are you so vocal against them? Whose side you are on?
The above had to summarized that whilst Mr. Walsh and Mr. Zia declared that MQM , its leadership and its city of strength linked to violence he missed on mentioning the above which I am sure it’s difficult to state when you want to get a Visa back to Pakistan. The outcome would always be the same as published on April 14th 2015 with his name.
Anyways, let’s build the time line to show how come the conspiracy has been hatched and attempted to rip off MQM of its mandate and to hand over Karachi to an outside party to maybe keep someone like Taliban’s and their allies happy.
– Feb 24th Nabil Gabol the sitting MNA from MQM resigns after weeks of speculation and submitted the same with NA. Question of his resignation’s timing would show that why it was key that this was done at this time. Now NA 246 is the seat which houses 90 the head quarter of MQM . It was key to conduct political activity under the guise of the re-elections. Nabil who was inducted in the party a little less than two years ago in goodwill came in handy at this time.
– Mar 5th Nabil Gabol’s resignation gets accepted as parliament gathers for Senate elections. Now the question raised here is that PTI which submitted their elections in 2014 during their protests. Approx. 6 months ago were never received by the speakers of all the provincial assemblies and the National Assembly but I am sure the courier who carried Nabil’s resignation did his job more efficiently.
– Mar 9th Whilst MQM gets 8 seats in the Senate (concluded on Mar 6th ) a seat more than PTI’s 7 and become the 3rd largest party in the Senate was too much to digest for many . Of all the claims PTI loses to MQM its aspired 3rd spot in the Senate. In my view it was a good chance that MQM using the number of electorates would push for Deputy Chairman Senate . Shahbaz Sharif establishes contact with MQM’s leader Mr. Altaf Hussain in London to ask for support as they also fail to win majority in the Senate and offset PPP. The Chairmanship and the Senate majority was key as though PMLN may be in power in National Assembly . Senate’s control by PPP would deny them absolute power. Hence need for MQM to support them for Chairman Senate. MQM’s leader refuses on ground that he has given the word already to PPP and that they are late to contact. Till now politics in play. Healthy no issue.
– Mar 11th . Rangers wearing masks raid MQM’s Head Quarters in the early morning hours and claim to recover weapons in hundreds (numbers disputed as no formal receipts given when taken in custody) which were licensed. Some via media even reported that they have seen blankets or bags being brought in with the raiding party . Wonder what were in those bags ? Maybe exactly what was shown to media as recoveries. Humiliation of workers occur at the time with sledging and accusations . Some wanted were arrested in the surrounding areas of the head quarter ( accused but not proven) . A young MQM worker and a social media activist Waqas Shah gets shot in cold blood by Rangers in front of the whole world. Mr. Walsh failed to mention his name and this incident as its mentioned here. Important to get highlighted properly.
– Mar 15th . MQM goes in the elections of Chairman Senate with the stress of the plethora of accusations unleashed by the security forces and some elements in the media. In my view MQM misses an important milestone in their history as they start the fight for their survival.
– Mar 17th ECP announces elections for NA 246 to be conducted on April 23rd 2015. This quick response puts the citizens of Karachi in a quagmire as they awaited re-elections on vacated seats of PTI especially on NA 250 and the 3 provincial assembly seats.
– Mar 18th . Saulat Mirza who has been delisted from being an MQM worker decades ago. Gets his appeal rejected and is awaiting Capital Punishment at 3:00 am Pakistan time on Mar 19th . Suddenly appear on Televisions across the country showing him giving a confessional statement at practically 5 hours before his hanging. Leaving no doubts on the credibility of Pakistan agencies as someone who is in the death cell appears in front of the nation and I am sure though he mentions that he doesn’t want the hanging to be averted must be hoping so as his wife has been stating his innocence just a few days ago. This tosses the whole issue or attack on MQM to get them under pressure. At the same time PTI started to demand
– Mar 20th. Judicial commission formed to investigate rigging in 4 contested seats in Punjab. No contest on the issue highlighted in Karachi. Pressure increases on MQM on the ground as looks like Law Enforcement Agencies pave way to create room for PTI by force in NA 246. Looks like there are no issues in any other areas. Plot thickens!
– April 7th. Joint Session of Parliament called to deliberate on the issue of Yemen and the poor people of Pakistan finds out that the resignations given months ago never reached the speaker. The mockery of justice and dual standards continue . As the people of Karachi keep an eye on the daily soap unleashed against their beloved party in Karachi .
– April 9th . Probably as a gift for going back to parliament before the debate even ended. Imran Khan lands in Karachi and as rightly mentioned by Declan Walsh goes in the presence of at least 5000 security personal to visit MQM Headquarters only to be received with respect over there. The only failure for Imran, PTI and forces backing him was that only a thousand or so people turned up where PTI got 600k votes in 2013 elections. Mr. Walsh should have seen this angle as well.
– April 14th ; the date this discussed article got published is the day when MQM’s leader Mr. Altaf Hussein was called by Met Police in UK and interviewed for almost a day on accusations of Money Laundering and others (cases going on for the last 2 years at least driven by world’s best Scotland Yard) only to be released for the extended bail for the 3rd time in the last One year or so to the disappointment of many who were banging on Mr. Hussein being arrested . Some evidence provided by the Interior Minister of Pakistan looked to not to work though he denied it later. I am sure that the most respectable law enforcement agencies of UK do not operate on Pakistani model of coercion and deceit or political influence in establishing the case and their judgment.
– April 18th; the same party who Mr. Declan Walsh written off in his article on the April 14th gathers over a Million people at the city’s center and I am sure with the operation going on against them in Karachi . Any coercion by MQM is impossible. The people of Karachi rejects the assumption made by Mr. Walsh and his friends day in and day out on the media by turning in such a mammoth number.
– April 19th ; is the day when PTI after all the support and covert help would be getting a rally done in Karachi. The result of the turnout is significant of the fact that after all the hue and cry people of Karachi rejects PTI and the anti MQM sentiment.
You know why Mr. Walsh because MQM is the only party which has stood up for their rights as everyone else came to conquer the city . MQM was the only shoulder the people of Karachi could rely on. As a journalist it’s your duty not to become part of the propaganda against the only political party standing in line to defend the nation against Talibanization whilst others accommodate for their own survival . Also , I must highlight that other journalists grazing Pakistani media namely Mubasher Lucman, Moeed Pirzada , Najam Sethi, Talat Hussein, Kashif Abbasi etc etc. must learn to stop ridiculing political organizations only. I am sure there are reasons to ponder for debacles in Pakistan.
I am sure if you i.e. Mr Declan Walsh is so much interested in Karachi and Pakistan ; you would come out and speak for the rights of oppressed equally instead of making them look like villians . I am sure if you would report factually you would report on the thousands of this city’s sons and daughters who are lost to fighting as first line of defence against religious extremism over decades starting from 1986 Aligarh Massacre. I am sure if you report factually than you would raise voice for the thousands of workers and supporters MQM lost to defend the rights of 98% Pakistanis. I am sure you would let the world know about the extra judicial killings of political workers and oppressed continuing in Karachi and as well as Interior Sind and Baluchistan. I am sure you would like to stand with the oppressed not the oppressors. Iam sure you Mr Walsh would choose the right side beyond. But then the question is IF?