By: Amjad Malik
April was a month to celebrate the birthday of our national poet Sir Allama Mohammad Iqbal who with his visionary poetry tried to wake our long slept nation as well as ummah and declared our youth ‘eagles’ who with their strong character, will and intelligence will earn repute for their country in the community of nation. However those eagles were burning people alive in the chambers of Tahir Plaza on the sad day and Karachites saw the vivid reminder of them all of the 12th May massacre when Chief Justice was returned from airport and his colleagues were expelled, dead bodies were lying in the streets and goons were operating for good 6 hours shutting down all accesses to justice and by silencing the voice of channels through bullets. The answers to unsolved mystery are yet to be answered by a high powered commission.
England too saw northern Ireland conflict where people of Ireland fought for their rights and struggled with their political faction (Sin Fein) and advanced their argument with violence wherever they thought through IRA (Irish Republican Army), however in the end to get accepted nobly they had to lay their weapons to sit with the loyalists of the country to make a strong political argument.
I believe that drive of MQM to canvass nationally for elections was a way forward to get accepted nationally that they have a role to play in national politics and it would have been a service to the country if that had happened. However 12th May was a day which badly damaged their national role and all thanks to the policy of one man. If on that day the party had refused to do dirty what Choudharies already rejected on 5th May in Lahore, Mutaheda would have secured reputation as well as some stance that they have an independent position in the ranking. However, rather than renouncing violence, arson, blackmailing, harassment and subjugating the will of free people, they have failed to protect the public on the 9th of April 2008 and people witnessed the worst of its kinds atrocities in the form of burring law chambers as well as burning human beings alive.
Whatever the argument for or against operations against a political party, it was a wrong one, political matters are best to be dealt with politically on negotiation tables. However, when one tries to solve problems with might, it always backfires and same applies to Karachi. People of Karachi are under siege devoid of free will and a voice as their voice is nipped and they are portrayed as victims. This internationally renowned city has a lot to offer to the country in its national development. All the commercial business as well as the main port for transportation of goods is situated in the city. Quaid e Azam international airport is one of the biggest of the country and its time that the people of the city are served the way they truly deserves.
People of Karachi despite having talent, skill and intelligence have housing as well as employment issues. Multi story flats are housing millions without proper care and national service facilities despite the fact that Altaf Hussain have read the blue print of UK public service system where in 6 minutes police, ambulance and fire brigade come at the door of a person who dials 999 and hospital treatment, education and most of the services are free. Why similar treatment is not offered to the people of Karachi in last 9 years is questionable. The estate of the art development which is offered in last nine years falls a victim to the atrocities or riots at the hands of one or the other political rivalries and rather than youth competing with Indian counterparts in contributing national development, art, science, and IT they have guns ion their hands and mask on their faces fighting politics of lost cause.
MQM is a political reality in Pakistan and has a lot to offer. Time has come to learn from the mistakes and experiments in the west where no one could win the struggles of their rights by using might or weapons example of Sin Fein in Ireland, and role of Nelson Mandela in apartheid is a clear path to follow if people of veteran Altaf Hussain truly wishes to translate his majority into achieving physical objectives. National reconciliation is not a box of chocolates limited for ruling elites it applies to MQM, BNP,ANP and all others who have nationalist instincts the only condition is that time has come to abandon militant outfits of the political party as Pakistan does not afford any confrontation. In this light, MQM’s decision to sit in opposition will promote democratic spirit and their role must be accepted and protected too.
Quaid e Azam in his tomb must be seeking answers to the very question that if he has not achieved independence, at least it would not be Muslims who would burn each other in Karachi as the blame would have gone to opposition like in Gujarat riots. Is it not time that we all transform this country into Quaid’s Pakistan and policy of live and let live is followed in its true spirit. At this twilight a decision needs to be made that Karachi will talk of national politics but not through bullets, and that’s what people desires from public representatives to protect and represent the people.
Amjad Malik is a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and a political analyst based in UK
14 April 2008