The MQM has wisely decided to soften its confrontational stance towards the forces it feels under pressure from.
A statement issued by the party co-ordination committee recently said, “just as clemency is being announced for the estranged Baloch people, the establishment should also heal the wounds of Mohajirs by forgetting past bitterness.”
Focusing on the events of 1992, the committee sought to explain that following a military operation thousands of workers went abroad to save their lives, and that some of them went to India without informing the party, adding “the MQM has nothing to do with the training of the people who had gone to India. On the basis of these facts, the establishment should “stop isolating Mohajirs.”
The facts seen by others though are different. First of all, drawing an analogy with the “estranged Baloch” is not helpful to the MQM’s own case considering that those people have been engaged in an armed secessionist uprising against the State due to a long history of politico-economic grievances. The MQM is a mainstream party with a significant presence in the National Assembly.
Second, and more importantly, no one raked up the past until recently when the MQM chief made some provocative remarks involving appeals for help from this country’s main adversary, India. That though is only one aspect of the current controversies surrounding the party.
The ongoing security operation in Karachi is not about what happened in the past, but an increasing lawlessness during the last couple of years that made life difficult for law abiding citizens. People everywhere in the country came to associate targeted killings, extortion, and kidnapping for ransom with Karachi.
At one point, the Supreme Court taking suo motu notice held special hearings on the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi, and concluded that all parties, including those in the then ruling coalition – the PPP, MQM and ANP – as well as religious parties, patronised militant wings, and that they must disassociate from those elements.
The apex court’s recommendations too fell on deaf ears. Gradually, the situation became so bad that the MQM itself urged the ‘establishment’ to take action.
The fact is also that the ongoing operations are not MQM-specific. It may be recalled that the Rangers started their action with the Pakhtun-dominated areas, moving on to a crackdown on criminal elements in PPP’s support base, Lyari, before they came looking for alleged killers at the MQM headquarters.
The party could have made things easier by disassociating itself from the alleged criminals, but chose to adopt a confrontational posture with its supremo issuing provocative statements from London and the local leaders accusing the Rangers of unfairly targeting the party workers.
Although, the MQM had asked the Rangers for the list of wanted workers so it could help find them, it failed to respond when given such a list. Be that as it may, the MQM instead of asking the ‘establishment’ to review its policy and “stop isolating Mohajirs” needs to rethink its own policy. With its solid support base in urban Sindh and as a major player in the national politics, it cannot be isolated, even if anyone harbours such an aim.
For its part, the party needs to distance itself completely from violent elements, and its chief must also be careful in future while issuing aggressive statements from his London headquarters.
Source: Business Recorder