03 December 2011

Unsuccessful Search for Peace

was the capital of Pakistan till 1959. Karachi is also known as city of lights and it’s the commercial and industrial capital of the country. People belonging from every ethnicity live in Karachi that’s why it is also known as Mini-Pakistan. It contains the biggest seaport of the country and serves as the gateway of Pakistan. More that 60 percent of federal government revenue comes from Karachi, due to its huge population and the headquarters of most of companies being located here.

In 1980’s the notorious dictator of Pakistan, General Zia gifted Kalashnikov culture to Karachi just like it gifted to rest of Pakistan. During 1970’s the ethnic discrimination of Urdu speaking people began in Karachi. This led to the creation of All Pakistan Muhajir Students organization (APMSO) in 1978, led by Altaf Hussain. In 1984 General Zia patronized APMSO and helped the creation of Muhajir Quami Movement (MQM) under the leadership of Altaf Hussain. The motive behind creating MQM was to divide the support of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in Sindh. Politically MQM took over Karachi and it was a big blow for PPP. It deprived PPP of its support from urban Sindh. Later on military establishment created tensions between MQM and Pakhtoons in Karachi. This led to bloodshed and massacres in 1980s.

In 1992 a military operation was launched against MQM which was taken over by Rangers in 1993 and by Police in 1994. This operation ended at the end of 1996 when PPP government was dismissed. MQM claims that during this operation, fifteen thousand of its supporters were killed. Again a small scale operation was launched against MQM in 1998-99 after the alleged assassination of Hakim Mohammad Saeed by MQM activists. Throughout 1990’s Karachi suffered because of security forces operations and terrorism. Karachi was the most dangerous and tense place in Pakistan at that time. After the military take over of the country by Musharraf, situation became better as Musharraf supported MQM in Karachi. In return MQM gave Musharraf the required political support.

PPP assumed power after 2008 elections. It formed coalition government with MQM in Sindh. Till the end of 2010 situation was under control by and large. Even during this time there were some bloody weeks in which dozens of people lost their lives. From July 2011 till to date, Karachi has not seen peace. MQM quit government in June 2011 but a month later their governor resumed his role and now they are supporting the government. After all these political up and downs, peace has been an unknown commodity in Karachi. After 15th July till to date everyday fifteen to twenty people lose their lives. This bloodshed and reign of terror has riddled the economy of entire country. PPP, MQM and ANP all three parties are taking steps to bring peace in Karachi but all in vain.

The hurting fact is that still it is not known clearly that who is behind this tension and responsible for targeted killings. People can only speculate about who is involved. No one has any solid proof to substantiate their claims. Rehman Malik in his answer to this question rather made a funny and senseless comment. He said that 70% of these killings occur due to personal feuds and mostly carried out on orders of wives and girl friends of those killed. One can only laugh on such statement. This shows lack of seriousness to this issue on part of federal government.

There is one other answer for this question. Many people believe that land mafia, drug mafia and weapon mafia is involved. All these killings are a result of battle for territory, according to them. These all mafias are supported by three main political parties of Karachi, which are in power, that’s why no action is taken against these mafias. In fact, activists of all three political parties are victims of ruthless target killings in Karachi. Government has given policing powers to rangers and Frontier Corps in the areas where situation is tense. Despite all that Karachi is still no way near peace.

Death toll is increasing with the passage of everyday. Just like a disease can’t be treated before diagnosis, similarly this problem can’t be solved without establishing what the root cause of all tension in Karachi is. This can be done by sending a fact finding mission to the hostile areas of the Karachi. This fact finding mission should submit its report without any pressure from anyone and the report should be made Public. Only then there can be a hope to bring peace in Karachi. If the current situation prevailed then unsuccessful search for peace in Karachi will haunt Karachi and Pakistan in days to come.

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