Daily Archives: August 5, 2010

MQM, Ethnicity and Politics of Violence

By Raza Habib Raja

At the onset I would like to acknowledge that I have very mixed feelings about MQM. At one hand, I like its relatively secular approach and its demonstrated commitment to denounce hardliners when everyone else was actually going for an appeasement policy which in reality would have merely strengthened them in the Northern part of Pakistan. I also endorse the view of some prominent journalists, albeit with reservations, that MQM is a necessary counterforce to thwart reemergence of Jamat-i-Islami in Karachi . I like and admire the fact that MQM is the only party whose leadership has risen from the grass root level to the top. Its ability to mobilize masses is brilliant and above all MQM has the ability to engage masses and encourage a culture of populism which often acts as strong canceling agent to political aspirations of the conservative religious forces.

However, no matter how hard I try I cannot turn a blind eye to the other and frankly at times ugly side of the MQM. The recent spree of target killings clearly indicate that all the political stakeholders are to be blamed. However, being the dominant political force and with a long history of violence, MQM has to take the major share of the blame. In fact it has become a pattern that whenever MQM wants to convey a message, it uses deliberate and cold blooded violence to do so. Moreover, the party deliberately uses its electoral strength   to blackmail every provincial government whether its PML(N), PML (Q) or PPP. The combination of electoral strength and violence to achieve its objectives is a regular pattern now.

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Filed under Pakistan

What Constitutes a Stable Society?

By Adnan Syed

Pakistan is passing through a vicious negative feedback loop that is beginning to gather momentum. The vicious circle is a result of country’s inability to provide for the basic individual rights of its citizens. Combine that with a burgeoning population, and the rampant nationalist tensions within the society that have been suppressed in the name of religious identity, Pakistan is staring at a nightmarish scenario in the coming decade. Pakistan needs to realize that the existential threat is coming from the failure of its society and not due to the external influences that consume majority of the resources of our nation. Unless we start spending on providing for the four basic rights to our citizens, the chaos will just feed on itself in the years to come.

This is the second part of the two part writeup that should be treated as a loud musing. I have stayed largely away from the religious vs. secularism debate as the immediate concern is to establish the rule of law and the secularism debate takes us away from the immediate objectives; provide for the protection of life, property and honour of each and every of the individuals. Needless to say that the demographic outlook for Pakistan, widening fault lines across the sub-nationalities and the vagueness about the role of religion in the affairs of the state is presenting a dire outlook for the state of Pakistan.


What Constitutes a Stable Society?

The ingredients of a stable society are not that complicated. Over the past century Europe, North America, East Asia, and Australia have managed to stabilize their societies by taking care of rather simple processes. Europe built its war shattered economy in a period of less than a decade, showing that good things beget good things, on a rather quick basis. The negative vicious circle can be replaced with a positive feedback loop. But the key is to avoid falling off the cliff. The key is to work with the present infrastructure and strengthen it to an extent that it becomes self sustaining. In that respect Pakistan is not starting from ground zero. It has a reasonably educated middle class that is finding it hard to channel its resources towards a prosperous society since it has to fend for its very survival on a daily basis. Pakistan has a semblance of democracy and the rule of law. Pakistan has the freedom of speech. The building blocks of a successful society are still there, though in a rapid state of neglect and decay.

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Filed under Democracy, human rights, Identity, India, Islamabad, Islamism, musings, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion, Rights, violence