Ides of March

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Over the course of history, the month of march has its significance in many ways, Ides of march, a date which has several distinguished events related to it is mostly remembered as a date which witnessed the assassination of Julius Caesarby large by the hands of his protégéand changed the course of Roman history, similar kind of event took place in context of Pakistan in general and in reference of Karachi specifically.

Mustafa Kamal’s resurgence was not something which came out of the blue, it was writing of the wall considering the fact that there is a huge faction of MQM and people of Karachi who utterly despise “Quaid-e-Thereek” and his ways of running the city. So, common masses were expecting and were waiting for the curtain to lift, amount of blood and violence nurtured by MQM and Altaf Hussain in Karachi has stained the city of lights for three decades now where MQM was the de facto ruling elite and was running the city as a mafia. It’s almost about time to do some maths but is it getting done in the right way? Let’s try to make sense out of it.

The major concern surrounding this move of “change of heart” of Mustafa Kamal is the fog of history, MQM’s narrative revolves around ethnic fault lines and the ugly past which dominates dynamics of politics of Karachi, there is still a notable portion of population of Karachi which consider Altaf Hussain as their savior despite of the fact that MQM has more Karachites’ blood on their hand than anyone else can ever dream. Whole scene has a pretext and a long turbulence historical account behind it which most of the time we tend to let slip across our minds, intent of this whole discussion is to capture significant details of the whole matter and attempt to carve out a tangible opinion.

For most people unpleasant past which lead up to this chaotic present is somewhat irrelevant today, allow me to say it is not, while figuring a solution out one has to keep all sides of the equation in mind. Karachi’s past is as relevant as anything because it still echoes in shape of a political ideology yielded from ethnic lines which are source of never ending divide in Karachi. Hardcore MQM supporter in his late 50’s and 60’s who grew up experiencing the jolts of socio-economic disorder city of Karachi was suffering due to clash of interest between the native and immigrant population will still be remembering these lines, he would still be reciting details of events which formed a common consensus among Muhajirs.

Political events such as 1964’s presidential election (MS. Fatima Jinnah received unparalleled support from people of Karachi and Dhaka)  and subsequent blood stained victory parade to punish Karachi organized and led by none other thanGoharAyub (Still alive and Kicking), attempts of ethnic cleansing and economic suppression posed by quota system implemented by ZA Bhutto, no matter which section of life you turn back then it was a constant state of tension between Muhajirs and rest with State unable to provide security and justice instead ending up taking sidesmost of the times,as much of the power brass was either in state of transition mode (Ayub Khan’s era) or latter dwelled in sort of guilt after execution of ZA Bhutto and was willing to reach out for Sindhi nationalists on the expense of Karachi, unfortunately State at that time was synonymous to a person, in 50s and 60s it was Ayub Khan and in 70s it was Bhutto, so back thenit was quite easy to label and relate to our-yourrival by giving him a face, a name and most importantly an ethnicity.

These are the fundamentals on which the Muhajir narrative was built and latter exploited by MQM, these factors should be considered as macro ploys which served as contributing factor to give birth to an armed reaction which was cultivated in the shape of Muhajir militancy claiming to protect and safeguard Muhajirs from any further ethnic brawl both on local and political levels, in its core it still is a narrative based on unbalanced approach with essence of retribution and retaliation, a mindless beast bred in the woods.

Violence which followed MQM’s emergence in political scene of Karachi is unprecedented to date, 80’s was the era when this destabilized menace of reprisal took its course and blood poured on streets of Karachi, initially MQM was supported by the Zia regime to marginalized peoples party and JI and then later Gen Musharraf opted the same module and on both occasions it left cat among the pigeons and if someone has noted there is a thing about toothpaste and cats, once they are out it’s hard to put them back, establishment forced it back in 95-97 with equal price of blood but then latter it was set free by prime minister Nawaz Sharrif and again by Gen Musharaf, resulting in more than 200 police officers, who were part of an earlier peace bringing effort, were slain. Consequently, now Sindh police is an empty barrel when it comes to looking for courage and now we had to opt for a surgical option so it’s up to Rangers now to bring the order back and they will,  question is will it be permanent? With little political will to resolve the origin, cutting down the branches will always be a temporary solution.

Considering above chronological facts, one can easily point out the origin of most issue which is absence of social justice, state should strive to bring justice and order in the society without taking sides and with objectives which should serve the nation in the longer run. Swift, firm and righteous justice, absence of which always leaves vacuum and creates corridors to extreme ideas to pave the way, 70 years of our national history highlights this factor with vivid details. There shouldn’t be any more deals with the devil for the sake of short term political objectives, Mustafa Kamal and his daily dose of press conferences might be shaking the outset of the national political scene but it has little stirring effect on local dynamics of Karachi, things he has shared are known facts, people have every right to raise questions like what has been done to see through an already strongly established prosecution against MQM.

Ides of march observed Caesar’s death which was a closing event in the crisis of the Roman Republic and triggered the civil war that resulted in the rise to sole power of his adopted heir Octavian who himself plunged carnage within the Republic,ironically, there were times when Mustafa Kamal used to declare Altaf Hussain as his spiritual father and Quaid-e-Tehreek obliged with a kiss and an embrace, considering health state of Altaf Hussain and in grand outset of a potential game of throne multiplied by the presence of a suicide squad which answers only to Altaf Hussain does same fate awaits Karachi? Only time will tell.

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Ahsan Malik is an IT professional with a passionate & candid version of his own on national and international issues relating to Pakistan, he tweets @MohdAhsanMalik and can be reached at m.ahson.malik@gmail.com

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