So much to say when it comes to Karachi . Everybody in the city or outside are interested to see that what is going to transpire as they see that original MQM of Altaf Hussein is down but doesn’t look out by miles. The continuous persecution of his supporters in name of patriotism has not been able to break the back of the resolve to support for Altaf Hussein. We saw that how life time leftist Prof Hassan Arif on coming out after almost six months being under detention to support Mr. Hussein stood by his position before he went into jail . There are many who you met will assure you support for Altaf Hussein but would request anonymity out of fear. The gap which is visible today in Karachi’s politics though under reign due to the presence of thousands of paramilitary forces. Looks ominous not only for Karachi’s politics it self but also for national politics.
Question is what makes people fearful of naming or showing support of Altaf Hussein openly. The options they face is simple . First strong probability that you would be arrested or not declared for months and months under the draconian laws existing in the country which were passed originally to avenge the death of 123 kids at APS Peshawar but turned into a political vendetta and that too strongly against MQM and its leadership. So people are picked and disappeared . Some are tortured to maximum that they give in to the policy of dismantellling MQM and are appeared at PSP’s office in Karachi’s posh district . Something which has defied many as to how this office is financed in the first place and why in this area ? Why not in more central part of Karachi . In some cases people are being harassed of their jobs . Their companies forced to reign them in or fire them for their support for Altaf Hussein. So people out of fear of life, safety, freedom and jobs are keeping quiet and waiting for the opportune moment to come out with their support . Does this mean that Altaf Hussein’s politics is history ? I never doubted it but recent weakness shown and the lack of ground support by the public for those who look like representing Karachi’s mandate makes me further belief that its far far from over for Altaf Hussein and his MQM in Karachi’s or Pakistan’s politics.
The question exists that why that is the case . What is eluding the ones conducting operation against MQM and Altaf Hussein’s supporters is that they have clearly done their homework this time and have covered the gaps they left behind in the state operation in the 90’s and this time they have gone for man on man strategy that they created at least two splinter groups within MQM so as to ensure that if one fails the second one falls in place unlike in the 90’s where they relied on one only and saw it getting fizzled out. Further, they have ensured to control parliamentary representation of MQM at least in the majority which they failed to do last time . Many of the leglislators out of fear of being singled out don’t resign as they know the consequences of that.
They know what would happen to them if picked up by LEA’s . So as narrated by one such worker who was let go after months of brutal torture says the following and perhaps make those many fear to come out of hearing such examples “ They will first keep you blind folded for days in a small make shift cage, you will only hear loud cries from far and close. This place looks like a big compound. The beatings and tortures will go on and on. Only to be paused to be broken by another stream of cries. They will make you eat and live in the small cage for days and not let you out and make you excrete there too. Than after few days when they think that they have broken your soul will take you out and hang you upside down and will hit the bottom of your feet . This will keep on going and would be asked obnoxious questions heralded by abuses about you, your family , your community and especially Altaf Hussein. They will threat your family and further consequences. Days and days of beating will make you accept anything . They did it couple of times with me that they took me to isolated places blind folded loaded a gun and asked me to recite Qalima . Thrice I felt I would die”. When they left him he could not walk properly perhaps for life. His kidney’s damaged . Trauma to other parts of body and not counting the mental trauma he would face all his life. A good example by all standards isn’t it so that common man remains shut and stay quiet out of fear of draconian laws and out of life and respect.
Simple choice is that you ignore your rights in a country which your forefathers built in the first place and accept to live as second grade citizens and expect the same for your posterity and if you dare do so you will be branded as a Traitor if not under Blasphemy or other such narratives given by Interior Ministry every now and then. People of Karachi are afraid as I explained above and have decided to keep quiet out of resentment not out of buying the theory sold to them by the media trials etc etc.
The concerning part is that MQM which was seen as a secular party perhaps the only one in Pakistan and is now being seen as a close proximity of being a religiously radicalized city. In a recent Newsweek Article informing that Al Qaeda second Ayman Al Zahwari may be now in Karachi at the behest of the best of the best (as claimed) . Since they being in control of the city sees this as a safe haven for their assets. Those assets who are simply terrorists. The eradication of MQM has created space for radicalization in the city who as I fear will fill the vacuum left like it was during Zia era and later before MQM stepped in under leadership of Altaf Hussein.
Karachi is a city with an estimated population of over 26 Million ; though a census ensues in the city. I feel that they will ensure to show this number lower with proportion of Muhajir population lower so that the mandate is weakened as per requirements of national narrative. But this city must realize that it inhabites all religions which exists in Pakistan like Hindu’s, Christians , Ahmedis, Parsis, various sects of Islam both Sunni, Shia’s & Ismailis etc. like Sufi’s . Some of these religions and places of worships are not acceptable by these radicals . Lately , there has been security alerts as per my information at least at a few worship sites of Aga Khani community in the city . Can the city afford to be in the realm of such radicals? The state unfortunately cant control their unleashed demon of radicalization and hence is afraid of confronting this in Punjab where the bulk of the army of the country comes from . So can you have a city like Karachi in the hands of radicalization which MQM ensured all these years with life and limb whatever you say. This Newsweek article should be enough to ring the alarm bells of upcoming days if not let under control .
Its clear that unfortunately no clear Muhajir leadership has emerged even by sidelining Altaf Hussein amongst its various factions with little or no public support. The biggest faction in it that is run out of PIB Colony Karachi has its workers confused that they may still in touch with Altaf Hussein and they are running a big under cover op. The loyalties of workers their still lay with Altaf Hussein and they are living with this narrative as I see it as a political critic of Karachi’s politics as they want to continue be in touch with public . Better than doing nothing at home. My interpretation given by some known journalists is that MQM exists in three forms . Those with ideology stand by Altaf Hussein as their leader. Those who want to do politics or do business with PIB and the radicals or as I say the Gutka eating brigade of the past are all parking with the infant variant PSP. Some say that they are all one . My heart want to belief the same but few things transpiring on ground makes me think about this theory. The question is that why was the need of this . As some say that there are a few in the establishment who want to hear no more “Muhajir” slogan and expects the community to fall in line with being Pakistanis without addressing the existing ethinic mindset of the country when it comes to calling yourself Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi and Baluch mainly in Pakistan. They don’t want Muhairs to call them as such and they support PSP. Than there are those who realize that the city needs MQM but don’t want any role of Altaf Hussein at all so the minus Altaf formula springs up forgetting that its his ideology which will drive any MQM whatever form it may be in . They tried or let me say trying to create a 5th faction so that Muhajir mandate is ever divided. I still belief that only Altaf Hussein is seen as a clear leader for the community and hence has been shut up by placing bans on his appearences in the media. Perhaps they want to see how they can make people start living their political day in Karachi and Sindh without him.
I feel clearly that such in the past “Chapters Closed” were about Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as well but without giving rights to the people and addressing their misgivings . This may never be achieved. The people of Karachi clearly see that their city is being treated as an Orphan where PPP its cronies are not developing the city, its mayor has been rendered powerless and those who want to sort out the political sphere of the city are not looking interested in developing the city but only Housing Schemes to earn off millions from the city’s dwellers.
So how is it all going to end. They in Karachi ask of each other and sometimes of me. My theory is that Pakistan and its politics is never independent . Everyone have their God fathers . With fast changing international political scene globally and Chinese growing foot print in this part of the world. It will not be far when Pakistan and especially Karachi may open a new proxy front with its strategic location. These God fathers will then play their cards and we all know how that works. We are seeing Syria, Libya and Iraq unfortunately suffering. We don’t want that . Do we? Yes, we are a Nuclear state and so does everyone else. But we must not forget that the fissures appear from our policies and only that . Continously blaming everyone else for our misgivings is just living in a state of denial and that’s it.
With every passing day I am forced to think that if our egos and personal and ethinic prejudices are above being Pakistani . They only expect the weaker to fall in line but continue doing so themselves. Is that how its going to be for a United Pakistan? Time will tell. Till then Pakistan Zindabad!