I have been thinking of writing this for some time. For some reason, my heart and mind were not connecting. It’s been almost many years since I have been writing these blogs. One of the reasons why I had to leave Pakistan. Sometimes I want to give up writing or speaking or highlighting the injustice. But then something happens, and I tell myself each time. “I can’t give up”. I am attempting to write again today. Don’t know the consequences of which? But sometimes perhaps its people like me who need to stand up and shout not just for us but for those who are not capable of. Yes, it’s not been easy. But Allah has been kind and gracious over the years and somehow, I have survived.
What happened on August 22nd, 2017, was not my choice? Yes, I was upset with the way my community’s people were being picked up and disappeared. Yes, I was upset that there were extra judicial killings. Yes, I was upset after sacrificing so much our community were considered secondary to the sons of the soil. Yes, I was upset even at our leadership for sucking us into this turmoil where our leader was not able to control his emotions and language in public. But much was out my control. The anti-Pakistan slogan which was initially thought as a spur of moment rant like the leader always did. Many like us thought this too shall be forgiven but that didn’t happen. It turned out later to my utmost dismay that this was not a rant as I got closer to realities. I am not a man who took dictations in life. I chose to oppose vehemently the “Leader” by choice not by force though was in exile and there was no hope to go back. Sadly , those who took a stand with their knowledge and guidance hijacked the party and saw everyone else as “Traitors”.
It’s difficult to live a life abroad when you have been disavowed by friends, by your country and even by your comrades but that gives you a lot of time to ponder on your mistakes, your friends and foes and the way ahead. As I tried to make sure that the kitchen kept running not a day passes by when the pain of my city and my people don’t haunt me. Sometimes, I feel so frustrated and dejected. Many tell me that you can’t change anything. This nation: this city has gone to bonkers, and you can’t do much about it. Take immigration and go abroad to Canada. But is that a solution? Being from Karachi its more painful as we suffer multi-pronged impact on our lives whilst we have a party like PPP stuck like “East India Company” to rule us. At the same time our leadership has divided. It’s very clear that this all by design and to keep the golden rule of any “Colonialist” of “Divide in Rule” in play. I am sure that the enemies of the city and the community would not need to do much to achieve their agenda they would always find sponsors amongst those they would want to colonialize.
If you have read history; you would remember how a few hundred thousand British soldiers conquered and ruled a population much bigger in size. First, they divided the population, then they installed their spies and then they bought the rest and one by one defeated all the strong rulers. What started with Siraj ud dullah ended with Tipu Sultan. History has its lessons for both in my opinion. For the oppressor and also for the oppressed. In my opinion the same is happening in Sindh where feudal class has taken over the Urban centers and even their own by following the same strategy as that of East India Company.
Can this be undone? This is the question which comes to my mind each day? I don’t have the answer for this now. But yes, there is one thing which is possible. To undo the very basis which gives such rulers that strength. Unify yourself whilst keep your own house clean. I know that including myself many now are of the view that there should be unity. But is it possible? Knowing some of the key players firsthand that the dream of a unified MQM in my opinion is gone. Even, if all the leadership which is on ground that is including of MQM-P, Mohajir Quomi Movement, PSP or Farooq Bhai’s ORC and those abroad that is Voice of Karachi led by Nadeem Nusrat even agree to unify. The Altaf factor would keep on haunting as the brand MQM and its symbol Kite would always been seen as his asset.
We know that there is a group of Muhajirs who think that parties like PSP stabbed them in the back without realizing that today they live a peaceful life with no extra judicial killings happening as well as most of those under custody are being released. They would also have to realize what has the past politics of incurring self-casualties achieved for them all these years. Not a single objective has been achieved. The fact is that the past decisions instead only embolden PPP and the consequence of which we face today, and no one is a winner.
Now, we all know that as I write that Mr. Altaf and his company of what is left of his party leadership continued on the anti-state trajectory all these years after multiple requests for pardons. But I think that the red line they crossed of dealing with a neighboring intelligence agency would be difficult to be pardoned. Many say that much worse have been said recently by leaders like Sharifs, Imran, Bhutto and Zai’s and in comparison, to what Altaf said on August 22nd its much resentful. But we must understand that it’s not what he said on August 22nd; it’s what he tries to conspire with the neighbors. Here, I must say that some in the system still are conspiring but perhaps since they have leverage of power or money they are being seen as essential to keep the system going and yes, I am talking about PPP. I would always have my doubts on them, and they never disappoint me as well by the way they sometimes purposefully run affairs as they want people to get disenfranchised of the state and the way the loot and plunder no patriot can do the same.
Coming back to alliance; my recommendation would be that like in the past there was PDM and IJI etc. etc. Urban Sindh base parties/groups should look for an umbrella platform and create an alliance under the same whilst retaining their strata political leaders of their respective parties as well as their ideologies. This is key as the ghost of Altaf’s MQM would never let this alliance formulate and people to unite under the same.
The alliance should have their own structure with equal representation as well as in the election tickets to be awarded to re-enfranchise people of Urban Sindh to vote as their voter turnout dips to single digits as we recently saw in NA 240 By-elections. This alliance can be guided by respected Educationists/Citizens who don’t want any direct involvement in politics. Any leader who has crossed a certain age should be in the advisory committee and should be kept away from the day-to-day decision makings.
The alliance should focus on grooming younger leadership and don’t just focus on politics but also raising business and educational opportunities. If the government don’t support; focus on private sector and get it started as our city is known for its big heart. I am sure people seeing them on one platform would be encouraged to contribute too.
How to deal with PPP then would be the quintessential question? If the alliance takes a strong position politically and on streets to ensure that the Census is done transparently as well as implementation of Article 140 A is done in line with Supreme Court instructions and form a unified position against PPP trying to derail it. I am sure this would give the “Leverage” which no one can ignore. I am sure anyone with sane mind would understand the consequence of depriving people of their rights in this day and age and that no parameter is non-penetrable.
If later, anyone who supports Altaf sees the light and want to contribute with oath to defend Pakistan should be given an opportunity to come back in the ranks and serve. Our “Muhajir” community and people of Urban Sindh inclusive of its Punjabis, Pashtuns, Baluchs, Sindhis, Seraikis and Kashmiris have a lot of talent but with right leadership and together under focused and honest leadership can increase Karachi’s GDP alone from roughly US$ 160 Bn to a US$ 1000 Bn in a few years.
But the first step has to be taken. Unity is key! Then only you would be able to fight the colonial element hijacking Sindh and especially its urban centers. The sad part is whilst the urban centers have been neglected the Rural centers have been worst hit though PPP has absolute authority and access to money since the passage of the 18th Amendment. Off the PKR 11,000 Bn they have been given under NFC; their spending of PKR 38 Bn in Karachi over last 10 years and I am sure not much in interior Sindh speaks a lot on their intention. The only development work which you would see is from the loans or grants but not from the monies they receive.
All of this can be handled if Unity prevails under an alliance. Remember, respect can’t be bought. It needs to be earned.
Disclaimer: This my personal opinion and doesn’t represent any party’s or individual’s views.