Someone once asked me that how will I want the world to remember me after I am gone. “As Danish Kazi I guess” I replied . “ Wrong Answer!” said he who motivated me to step up. I will prefer not naming him today. But someday perhaps at the right time. “ You must leave a legacy if you want to be remembered otherwise you will just be a mere mortal. Everyone lives for themselves. But few live for others. These are the kinds who are remembered” said my mentor. That day not very long ago reignited the flame in me which got died down years later after I joined student politics as a sign of protest in 1994 (in the midst of a Military operation in Karachi) with APMSO when I was reminded that I was a son and a grandson of a Muhajir as I applied to join Pakistan Army. That moment after I withdrew my form; I promised that either I will change this thought or will live trying. Yes, being an activist and that too a Muhajir Activist there is a third possibility too a very Dead Possibility. But then again , having passed out of IBA Karachi and entering into a Corporate Sector ; getting married and becoming father of two kids I buried the flame in me to live and forget.That day when I left . My mind was confused and enlightened at the same time. Confused that if I raise my voice in Pakistan against radicalization and for my rights. I may end up being in personal agony . Can I take it all having a decent professional corporate career? Enlighthened that truthfully, if God has given me the capacity than if I still do not contribute . I do injustice not only to myself. But also to the promise I made to my dying mother (of the 3 promises or vows she took last time before she lost the battle to Cancer) that I will make her proud of me and after she is gone ; the world will remember me as her son. Enlightened ; I chose not to ignore the wrongdoings and misgivings faced by Pakistan and my community today.
But what do I do as time passes by & you see circumstances around you compelling you to stand tall in this time of need. Difficult time indeed; we face today as Pakistan. A war against radicalization ensues but at the same time certain elements in the country are trying their best to equate Muhajir struggle with that of Global Islamic terrorism stemming out of Pakistan in order to create distractions domestically and to hide behind anti Muhajir sentiment prevailing sadly in the majority of the country.
Earlier, I felt that the security agencies are sincere in their effort after the APS School attack in Peshawar. But sadly when I see that the same elements who have thrived on the issue in Pakistan are still living scot free and even continue appearing on media at the time when a Political struggle called MQM is being marginalized . It makes me lose more and more hope in the impartiality of or agencies. More and more my belief that the current impetus on the system for identifying the right from wrong in lines with the vision of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is over bearing and infact do not exist as the nucleus of the same system is corrupted to the core by the filth of corruption , ethinicity and racism. Such system may not get auto cleansed but forcefully cleansed . I do not need to remind what is done when your body part becomes useless.
You may feel that as I write this piece ; I may sound emotional and angry. Yes; I am . I am not happy today when in the same nation where all are supposed to be equal in terms of the constitution of the country . Muhajirs and their leadership are being harked by a different stick or racism. When Imran Khan challenges the Army and intelligence Agency of Pakistan whilst sitting abroad or in India . He is celebrated as a Hero . But when Altaf Hussein ; the leader of MQM does the same in line with his constitutional rights and that too speaking in Pakistan as not being allowed to return to his homeland. He is chided as a Traitor. The difference left between being a Hero and a Traitor in Pakistan is simple. It’s the fact whether you or your ancestors were born on which side of the border during partition. Every day the question at the recruitment center put up with me; reinforces the fact that the nation ‘has unfortunately drawn a line between those may or may have not struggled for Pakistan but were on the Western side of the border on August 15th 1947 (Actual date of independence in my view) & those who struggled and laid lives for Pakistan but originated on the Eastern side of the border.
Tell me I am wrong. I am disenchanted . As if you will . I will remind you the atrocities meted out to Bengalis in 1970-71 where they were also branded as Traitors; were later persecuted, raped and killed before they revolted. The same fate is facing the Muhajir community and its leadership four decades on since the fall of Dhaka. The nation may never learn . Mr. Altaf Hussein is currently banned from media and being persecuted for challenging the holy cows of the nation. His fault speaking the truth. The flame of this search for truth in me was ignited by Mr. Hussein as a child and when it got reinvigorated by the same person I mentioned in the opening lines (though he is not at all MQM supporter or Muhajir) ; I naturally reverted to the cause which I dumped due to the worldly affairs.
Two questions which is asked of me every now and then. Why do I call myself Muhajir ? . If my above recruitment story was not enough . Let me tell you another story. I visited my Bank two to three years ago ( I will not name the Bank). My relationship Manager starts telling me as I waited for a transaction to conclude that there are many Hindustanis who have accounts in their Branch (the lady was not Muhajir and obviously she realized that I as I spoke fluent Urdu with my Dad accompanying me looked like one). Trust me neither I mentioned that I am Muhajir neither I stated anywhere I was. Looking surprised I asked her without understanding what she meant Muhajirs as Hindustanis. “ How come Hindustanis have accounts in your Branch and that too in heart of Karachi?” . She said there are hundreds of them as many like “ you” (she pointed at me) open their accounts with this bank. Suddenly I recalled that yes before the full time branding of Muhajirs ; we were known as Hindustanis. Nostalgic though but true I guess. My response to her was “ Werent we all at one time?”. I stopped using this Bank as I saw that slowly none of the staff there were Muhajirs and were slowly replaced by non Muhajirs. Well the people of other parts of the country do have rights to work but in a city where already the government jobs are impossible for Muhajirs. The private sector also is shutting down on Muhajirs who are in a significant majority in the city was and is concerning. Many more examples of my life exist and of those out there. But I have tried to put softly why I am proud to be Muhajir now . Earlier it was a choice by force . Today ; it’s a choice by choice.
As I write this piece . MQM and its workers and supporters have concluded protests infront of Downing Street, United Nations , White House and Amnesty International offices asking for rights and justice for their missing workers and those already killed in extra judicial killings in the last few months (& years for the last 2 decades) since the operation has commenced under guise of operation against Talibans switched to hitting on MQM, ALtaf Hussein and Muhajirs. Some say why not these protests done domestically but at these forums. I must ask those suffering from dementia that whilst right to strike and protest in Pakistan is being quelled in addition to the cessation of the democratic rights where neither Mr. Altaf Hussein is allowed to come on media, neither MQM leadership is allowed to operate in Karachi and neither MQM workers are allowed to open offices and work and neither supporters are allowed to support MQM openly. Infact being threatened. One is left with no choice but to knock on the doors of the international powers.
MQM is riding the same boat as other Pakistanis from other religions are facing across the country like Christians, Hindus, Ahmedis, Sikhs and other smaller Muslim sects. Add to this Baluchs and poor Sindhis. The situation becomes complex. Only since MQM has risen for their rights under leadership of Mr. Altaf Hussein. Second community to do so after Bengalis whom we all know now what they faced and the results known to everyone.
A few days ago ; as I was flying back from Zurich recently. The cab I took had US flag posted on the cab’s dashboard. I asked him from where he was. He was from Kosovo. I asked him why a US flag living in Switzerland . He said that whilst the whole world looked the other way . It was US who stood for them. Agreed fully that US is a leading bearer of Human rights in the world . The world must not forget when MQM chose to protest against the Sep 11 attacks in 2001 in Karachi (being the only party in Pakistan) and continue to fight against radicalization and their apologists in Pakistan . One half of the reason MQM is paying the price for being a moderate and a secular party in a radicalized Pakistan. If MQM goes and protest infront of UN (which is in USA) and White House reminding the world the cost they are paying for the right choices they have made . There is nothing wrong in my view. Lets not forget Baluchs were also protesting at the same time. If the status quo remains the same. The queue of protestors may only increase. United States; I belief will and should use their influence to force elements in Pakistan to avoid another 71 like situation as there are not many cards left to lose up there sleeves. Also, will ask Pakistan to do a proper operation against radicalization as LeT and Jud elements are openly operating in Pakistan. The moderate mindset and parties like MQM must not be pushed to wall as rightwing parties like PMLN, PTI and JI take over the country both in the government and in the opposition as the left is practically obliterated.
I am sure the consequences of speaking the truth is heavy as many remind me; inform me or otherwise. Problem is that being a Muslim I belief in righteousnouss of Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. . The steadfastness of Imam Hussein R.A. in the eyes of enemy and rightness of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and lastly preseverence of Mr. Altaf Hussein though being discriminated and victimized for the last 2 decades. I feel if you cannot say the truth than you have no right to protest. I learned this during the talk that hiding from the truth will not leave you the legacy but saying the truth will. My only desire is that Pakistan of Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah remains in existence for eternity. By speaking the truth and striving to highlight and correcting the flaws will only ensure the same as I belief; charity begins at home for me. Pakistan Zindabad!