Karachi: Time to call spade, a spade

We are posting this article by Rashid Aurakzai to kickstart a debate on Karachi’s recent mayhem. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of PTH and we would welcome other points of view. RR

Another tide of innocents’ blood-shed in Karachi. Count crosses 800 mark for this year with still two months to go. We too shall soon forget. For justice, they have to wait till doomsday. We torch, stone and rally when it happens in Gaza, Bosnia, Kashmir or Iraq but don’t bother when it comes to our own land. Hardly, are we moved or shocked as long as it happens to ‘others’. Exposed to frequent violence at home, we are deaf and dumb to our home-made vices, a part from blindness. Massacres no more take our breath. Like a Mexico or Bombay depicting movie, Amigos and ‘Bhai-Logs’ spraying bullets, police absent, shopkeepers pulling shutters down and women holding their children behind closed doors and windows. Another closure, 144 imposed, city lifeless and motionless. We in front of TV sets or monitors, enjoying an off-day in free. A day past and our memories formatted.

The very few countable, sensitive but helpless souls can only condemn their birth here. Some in Lahore broke the silence and dared to highlight the issue. All the rest, ate, shitted and watched jingo media. Perhaps majority of us are as callous as the terrorists. Our dictionary has a deleted entry at ‘Empathy’ along with all its synonyms. Never have we imagined that the bullet-perforated bodies in blood-stained Eidhi’s Cottons, could-be ours. What if we are next and that too, for nothing? What about our widow, orphans and parents specially mother? These bodies too were among us and slept well, the night before, with dreams of tomorrow, problems to solve, love to express, moments to celebrate, bellies to fill, loans to repay, foes to beat, kids to educate and ills to medicate.

Why? What crime? And how long shall we be preyed upon by Al-Capones and Godfathers, in our only metropolitan city, Karachi? How more shall we blame and malign God by our ‘His-Will’ approach to life and relieve ourselves of our human responsibilities. We never were a nation but have now shunned even of what little humanity we had. A dead herd, paranoid by foreign occupation, over-religious, contradictory ultra-nationalists and thoroughly confused, we offer no resistance and surrender to whosoever wants our control. We fast pace home while women are raped and boys lynched. Evil succeeds and we watch. Our only aim; is a smiling nuclear family as that of TV commercials. That’s what we struggle for and that’s what we end up. With a two room flat and Suzuki car we enjoy spectator’s role in our national theater. Stage is occupied and show run by villains with in goodness to be seen. A few progressing, individually while most and nationally falling into the abyss with no bottom to hit.

Stage Karachi is being run by a mafia for the last three decades. Those, having dwelled in this beautiful coastal Metropolitan, know how ‘they’ have held it hostage in the name of politics. Only that happens, what they want. One cannot even donate sacrificial hides on Eid without their consent. Disloyalty is Death, be the renegade in London, Lyari or Lasbela.

They neither let you live in poverty nor in riches. Started ethnic cleansing of Pakhtoons in eighties, followed by that of Sindhis, Balochies and Panjabis; it has completed full circle and once again turned their TT’s against their arch enemy. They cannot bear multicultural Karachi, though their leaders prefer multicultural and civilised environments to live in.

Journalists, philanthropists, builders or industrialists, they have spared none to be threatened, abducted, tortured, murdered or extorted. Nobody dares to speak against them. The hydra serves mafia-interest at any cost. Sans ideology, glamorized terror is the only attraction of the party. It’s lucrative and short-cut to power, in a sea of 150 million people.  They can write political bestsellers like ‘How to arm-twist and milk your coalition partner’. Now fearing demographic changes by arriving IDPs from battle ridden KP, turned into junkyard by State for its interest, ‘they’ are acting no less than Serbs of South Asia forgetting that they too were once IDPs at this city gates. Sixty three years and haven’t learned the ethics and morality to treat their host ethnicities.

The ‘conscience-driven’ Iftikhar Chaudry was presented with a bouquet of 42 slain, daring to stand for his reinstatement. Perhaps our people have been let down too often by their leaders, now to stand for a cause. Confound your selective ego and conscience, My Lord: If only you had taken up the May12 massacre, ‘target killings’ wouldn’t have taken this much of us. If only we can recall an October day, the same year when Karachi City courts were infested and terrorizes by their mob, like in a typical Bollywood’s gangster movie. Why should SC waste time with such ‘common-place’ killings or announce the reserved judgment in Asghar Khan Vs State case, when it is seriously important to avenge Zardari for delaying reinstatement of Musharaf-deposed judiciary. Anyway, those living in Karachi know how Jinnah’s City has been made a den by a gang and needs no evidence accuse them. The only thing they can do is to keep calling Yazid, a tyrant.

‘Target-Killing’ and ‘Mafia-Wars’ are other misleading terms coined by the cowed and self-serving media. Attack on Aaj TV studios, murders of Takbeer’s Editor and Nisar Baloch are enough to scare commoners from rising against the fascists. Even the Saintly Hakeem Saeed is believed to have been a prey of the same hunter. But then, we all shall die no earlier than the time. Why then die every day? Why fear? Why not say it in the their face? Are we scared of ‘Man’? Remember ML King’s saying ‘There comes a time when silence becomes a crime’. Let’s learn to say no to every Yazid. We mourn in Moharram but never learn the lesson of Karbala.

Had they targeted ANP office bearers alone or the land grabbers, this war would’ve been over and won. Irony being 99% punished this year had nothing do with either ANP or Land Grabbers. Raza Haider was avenged, later to declare it a sectarian motive. Why then deprive 120 families of their bread winners? All were poor daily wagers, bus and rickshaw drivers, boot-polishers, groceries cart owners, shopkeeper and ‘unfortunately’ Pakhtoons. Their only crime was their ethnicity. What else then we call Genocide and Ethnic cleansing?

No amount of articulation and over smartness can hide their crimes against humanity. They have to choose between politics and terrorism.  They must find ideology and issues to pursue their careers, rather than terror. They must learn to accept plurality and play by rules. If not, must be banned and declared an equivalent of Al Qaeda and TTP in the interest of peaceful Pakistan. Let’s differentiate between political entities and terrorist organizations, peaceful struggle and mafia tactics, leadership and demagoguery, nationalism and racism, argument and noise. Let’s call spade, a spade.

23 Comments

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23 responses to “Karachi: Time to call spade, a spade

  1. Mustafa

    Very important article, who wrote it?

  2. Nadia

    Brave article, and if the author resides in Karachi then this is an exceptionally brave article.

    Unfortunately given the present polictial scenario, I doubt PPP government will make any serious efforts to reign in the MQM mafia. And its not just PPP, whoever will get power in Islamabad, will have no choice but to bow down under MQM pressure.

    One possible strategy is to build local leadership of PPP which belong to mohajir ethinicity. But this is a long term strategy and it is too much to expect from the present leaders of the party.

  3. Raza Raja

    Well done Rashid…
    Lets all speak the truth…and it is only the truth which you have articulated

  4. I think that the ‘spade’has been called just that by many before. Some of these have been threatened, beaten or worse still, murdered. The point is that everyone knows the spade but is rightly scared for themselves and their family. What Karachi, like the rest of the nation lacks is a strong civil society response that transcends all divisions of sect and ethnicity and is able to throw up a strong honest leadership that is able to take up and deal with the mess that Karachi and the nation finds itself in.

  5. Ali Abbas

    I would like to see civil society go after this in the same manner as they did with the PPP protestors against Sherry Rehman.

  6. Raza Raja

    @ ali abbas

    They will not go like that not out of hypocricy..but because they dont want to be killed..Come on Ali no one wants to be be killed

  7. Raza Raja

    We all know the problem…with MQM but we are all afraid to be killed…PPP no matter what ever its flaws are…is not a killer party

  8. D Asghar

    @Raza Bhai, You are so right. Barrister Ali Chisti is our great friend and I am sincerely hoping that he comes back with some of the answers, that the article raises.

    @Barrister Bhai, if you are reading this love you brother, but remember I told you it is not the “bahir baitha”, D. Asghar yakking. You know why, because D. Asghar loves Karachi much like you!!

  9. PMA

    Ethnic politics and ethnic nationalism is a curse for Pakistan. Unfortunate for Pakistan, the Afghan and Indian Mahajareen have further complicated the fragile ethnic balance of Karachi. Now it is an open ethnic war.

  10. Tilsim

    It’s also true that Karachi was relatively way more peaceful between 2000-2008. I don’t think all the blame can be put on one party whether it is PPP, MQM or ANP. To understand the situation, we need to see how the tectonic plates of power and interest have been shifting like they were in the 1990s.

    All the political parties have their goon wings and they are using them liberally when it suits them or they are forced to.

    I remember the night that BB was killed. Within half an hour, gangs were roaming the streets with dandas setting fires and breaking cars with dandas. My own kids and father in law escaped very narrowly. Someone gave the orders, it was too well orchestrated.

  11. D. Asghar

    @Tilsim Bhai,

    “It’s also true that Karachi was relatively way more peaceful between 2000-2008. ”

    Is this a mystery? MQM was in favor of Mush Sahib…Plain and simple.

  12. Tilsim

    @ D Asghar

    The question I guess one needs to ask is why is this occurring post 2008? MQM and PPP are outwardly in a coalition so the framework for a workable political arrangement is there.

    Is n’t the violence just happening because the PPP and ANP are actively prodding MQM for their share of the loot khasoot through their criminal underwings and the MQM is panicking about the influx of refugees that may impact it’s hold? Somewhere in all of this the religious extremists are also provoking and prodding by a murder here and there to ignite the situation.

    Who is keeping the ethnic or sectarian body count? Does it matter when everyone’s noses are in the trough?

    The solution lies in the cooler heads prevailing but the cooler heads are sidelined.

  13. Tilsim

    It’s that same problem that affects the rest of Pakistan… a gangster culture has taken hold with increasing fury in the absence of a strong State and strong ethical values. As citizens, let’s protest loudly at murder and genocide but also focus on action. The MQM, PPP and ANP for better or worse represents millions of fellow Pakistanis. The onus lies with their leaders to think beyond narrow ethnic interests and to act in unison against obscurantist forces, not become ones themselves.

    The centre ground can hold – we do get periods when things settle down. Karachi can also get back to normal with some strong leadership of these three parties.

  14. D. Asghar

    @Tilsim Bhai, I agree. I don’t know if you recall or not, in one if my early scribbles here, I believe it was ‘In Quest Of The Missing Leader”, I had suggested the abolition of parties based on regions and ethnicities. The concept of uniformity and one nation can only prosper and progress, when the barriers are eliminated.

    I see a bleak picture when regionalism dominates the idea of nationalism. When parties are “National Centric”, their agendas will have to be more for the entire nation and not just some one from Sindh or KP. Humble Regards.

  15. Rashid Aurakzai

    Thank you all for incourging. Voice has to come out of the civil society because expecting the political parties is like ‘Waiting for Allah’. PPP top leadership has neither the vision nor will and is being bullied by JGJ(Judges, Generals and Journalists) as well as MQM. No matter how much corrupt or inefficient it is, we all have to support it against the bulls and help it in saving whatever democracy we have.

    Banning this and that is neither rational nor solution. Let every body play with their sticks as long as it doesn’t touch another’s nose.

    I am neither PPP’s voter nor have ever been their fan.

  16. Costa

    it was very prejudiced and biased to write this article, the fact is that MQM is a political party, which has the support and mandate, Muhajir by percentage wise are the most law abiding and civilized among the major ethnic groups of Pakistan.
    About the violence, it is not difficult to understand the situation of an highly dense population and in such devastated economy like Pakistan, unemployment is more than 50% there, this situation has forced people toward crimes and violence. And most of the crimes in karachi have non-Muhajir behind them, specially the criminals are from Lower Punjab region and Pakhtoons. I am myself a sufferer I had been robe by a Pakhtoon, my father lost a plot near Karachi University by a Pakhtoon Land grabber who thereated him and force him to sell the land in extremely low price. Those who blame MQM all the time should learn and realize the ground reality. It is only because of bigotry against Muhajir, or the influence of religions parties make people like you to lambaste MQM.

  17. Dr.Ashfaq Ahmed

    This is such a bias story. I am a phd professor teaching economics and an MQM voter since 1987 and it’s just sad how the article portrays MQM in bad right. And obviously that doesn’t mean I am right here’s my two cents.
    Remember, MQM voters are the most educated and free voters in Pakistan – so as compared to other voters due to a) education b) media c) better policing d) political understanding they make or are in a much better situation to actually vote than rest of the population. They according to them vote MQM because,
    a) MQM is the only political party which has delivered
    b) MQM is among the masses
    c) MQM is accessible

    as compared to MQMwalas which might come across as ‘ghundas’ at times but this is politics – you have to act gundas to keep the more evil away and that’s what MQM does plus it delivers so no, complaints…

    remember 17 out of 19 seats in Karachi are MQM..

    ANP, doesn’t have a clout and we have an uneducated ethnic chauvanist Shahi Syed incharge of ANP, Sindh whose whenever spills his beans – exposes his own people…

  18. Rashid Aurakzai

    Dr. Ishfaq PhD:

    ” MQMwalas which might come across as ‘ghundas’ at times but this is politics”

    Thank you professor.

    Coast:

    This is 18+ forum.

  19. کراچی میں پچھلے دو سالوں سے ایم قیو ایم ہر دو تین مہینے بعد پٹھانوں
    کو نسلی بنیادوں پر ٹارگٹ کر کے مارتی ہے۔
    مرنے اور زخمی ہونے والے 99 فیصد عام مزدور، چائے خانے، تنوروں اور کے مالک اور اُن میں کام کرنے والے، سبزی، فروٹ ریڑھی یا چھابڑی پر بیچنے والے اور بس ڈرائیور اور کنڈکٹر ہوتے ہیں۔
    ان سے کا کسی سیاسی تنظیم سے تعلق نہیں ہوتا کیونکہ یہ دن کے بارہ گھنٹے کام کرتے ہیں تاکہ بمشکل اپنے بچوں کا پیٹ پال سکیں۔

    ایم قیو ایم ایسا شہر اپنی ہیجیمنی قائم رکھنے کے لئے کرتی ہے۔ یہ تنظیم مہاجر نیشنلزم کی بنیاد پر ووٹ لیتی رہی ہے اور مڈل اور لور کلاس مہاجروں کے حقوق کی بات کرتی ہے ۔ لیکن بڑھتی ہوئی مہنگائی، بے روزگاری، پرائیوٹائزیشن کو روکنے کے لئے اس نے نہ صرف کچھ نہیں کیا بلکہ یہ پاکستان کےمقامی سرمایہ دار طبقہ اور بیرونی سرمایہ دار ملٹی نیشنلز [امریکہ، برطانیہ، سعودی عرب، عرب امارات – چین وغیرہ] کے استحصال کو پوری طرح سپورٹ کرتی ہے۔

    اس بات سے مہاجر طبقہ کی توجہ ہٹانے کے لئے یہ دوسرے لسانی گروپز، خصوصاّ پٹھانوں کو دشمن بنا کر پیش کرتی ہے۔ یوں بار بار کمزور پٹھانوں پر وار کر کے یہ مہاجروں کو یقین دلاتی ہے کہ یہ اُن کے مفادات کی ترجمان ہے اور اس لیے وہ اس کی بھتہ خوری، بدمعاشی کو برداشت کریں۔

    یوں یہ مہاجروں میں کسی دوسری قوت یا سوچ کو ابھرنے سے روکتی ہے اور اگر کسی ایسی تحریک کے ابھرنے کا خدشہ ہو تو اسے تشدد کے زریعے منتشر کر دیتی ہے۔

    پٹھانوں کو مارنے کو دوسرا فائدہ اسے یہ ہوتا ہے کہ سندھی، پنجابی، بلوچ وغیرہ کو پیغام ملتا ہے کہ اگر تم نے بھی بڑھنے کی کوشش کی تو یہی انجام ہوگا۔

    مارکس کے مطابق حکمران طبقہ دو طرح سے حکمرانی کرتا ہے۔ ایک مار لگا کے ، دوسرے محکوم طبقوں کو ایک جھوٹا احساس دلا کے کہ وہ اُسی کے مفاد میں کام کر رہے ہیں۔

    اہم قیو اہم کو کنٹرول کرنے والی پرتیں یہی دونوں طریقہ استعمال کر تے ہیں۔

    ایک ڈر اور دوسرے امید۔ جو سوال کرنے کی ہمت کرنے اس کی مار لگا کر دوسروں کو ڈرایا جاتا ہے کہ ایسا کرنے کوشش کرنے والے کا یہ انجام ہوتا ہے۔
    اور ایک وسیع اکثریت کو
    passive

    رکھ کر اسے بیرونی خطرات سے ڈرا کر اور ساتھ ہی امید دینا کہ ہم ہی تمہارے حقوق دلا سکتے ہیں ۔

    یعنی وہ مہاجر کمیونٹی کو بار بار یہ باور کراتی ہے کہ ہم وہ کتّے ہیں جن کو تم برداشت کرو کیونکہ ہم ہی تم کو بیرونی بھیڑہے سے دفاع کر سکتے ہیں۔

    پاکستانی حکمران طبقہ اور اس کی فوج بھی یہی ٹیکٹک استعمال کر کے اپنی حکمرانی برقرار رکھتی ہے۔ پہلے نظریہ پاکستان ڈھالہ گیا جس میں ہندو اور انڈیا کو دشمن دکھایا گیا اور بتایا گیا کہ اس بھیڑیے سے بچانے والے ہم ہیں۔
    یوں ساٹھ سال نکال لئے۔ وقت کے ساتھ ساتھ یہ ڈمی بیرونی دشمن بدلتے رہتے ہیں۔ اب طالبان کو ہماری آزادیوں کا دشمن بنا کر دکھایا جاتا ہے اور یوں ہمیں ان کتوں – پاکستانی حکمران طبقہ کو برداشت کرنا پڑے گا کیونکہ وہ اس بھیڑیے یعنی طالبان سے ہمیں بچائیں گے۔

    امریکی حکمران طبقہ بھی یہی ٹیکٹک اپنی عوام کو بیوقوف بنانے کے لیے استعمال کرتا ہے۔ دوسری جنگ عظیم کے بعد سے وہ بھیڑیا روس اور کمیونزم تھا کس کی آڑ لے کر دینا بھر میں اپنے پسند کے ڈکٹیٹروں کو مظبوط بنایا جاتا یا جن ملکوں کے عوام کھڑے ہو جاتے ، جیسے ویتنام کیوبا – ان پر حملہ کا جاتا ۔

    اب اپنے سامراجی قبضوں کے لیے بہترین ہتھیار اسلاموفوبیا ہے۔ اس سے اپنے عوام کو بار بار ڈرا کے چھوٹے کمزور مگر سٹریجکلی اہم ملکوں پر قبضوں اور وہاں کے عوام کے قتل عام کو لیجیٹیمیسے فراہم کی جاتی ہے۔

  20. Safar Shah

    @rashid orakzai, pakhtoonzai or whatever you macho gun carrying , weapons are our jewel people are called.

    You easily forget the mass murder by Pashtoons of Muhajirs of Karachi. It was only after the ‘meek’ Muhajirs picked up the guns against the racist Pashtoons that we were able to protect ourselves. But not before more than 10,000 of young Muhajirs were murdered by General Babar.

    Your guns are our jewels Pakhtoons are not that Innocent. Ask any Hazara, Tajik or Uzbek in Afghanistan what they feel about your Pashtoons.
    You thugs forced us to pick up the gun. And we will protect ourselves from you thugs always.
    Just as the Hazaras , Tajiks and Uzbeks have protected themeslves against you criminals

  21. YLH

    I just love it… when claiming dead for Karachi even the Chief Justice becomes a courageous man standing for his reinstatement.

    Just love you LUBP wallahs.