This time what actually happened in Karachi?

By Major ® Zubair Khalil Khan

Due to 1947 partition, Hindu population of Karachi/Hyderabad of Pakistan migrated,  thus creating a huge vacuum which was filled in by Urdu speaking Muslim population coming from neighboring country. Influx of these immigrants from India turned the local Sindhi urban population in to minority. For many years tolerance and cooperation prevailed, until military dictator General Zia planned to sow the seeds of Qaumi Mohajir Movement (MQM). Initial aim of Gen Zia to install MQM was to nullify so called ill effects GM Syed and other similar Sind oriented political leaders. This act of Gen Zia started small skirmishes between two ethnic segments. Since all the incoming Muslim Immigrants (Urdu Speaking Mohajirs) got settled in the cities of Karachi and Hyderabad as such the first big linguistic rift also propped up in these two cities. MQM took advantage of the rift and identity of Mohajir was strictly defined to include only the Urdu speaking migrated population. With the passage of time, Mohajir Qaumi Movement tried to change its stance by altering its nomenclature to Mutahidda Qaumi Movement but failed miserably to distance itself from the identity representing solely the Urdu Speaking Mohajirs. Urdu speaking immigrant population of Karachi and Hyderabad was its strength and till today it draws the whole power from this single segment of the population.

Karachi and Hyderabad are the hub cities of Sind.  Denial of rights of both cities to Sind ethnic population has caused a deep sense of deprivation amongst them. For example in 2010 Karachi and Hyderabad enjoyed a budget of one hundred million while whole Sind province was given just 327 millions. Even in the past, in spite of democratic government of Benazir and Nawaz Shrief no visible change was brought to improve the living standards of Sindhis dwelling from interiors of the province. Later Commando Dictator Pervez Musharraf, who himself was an Urdu speaking Mohajir, took more daring steps, and fully authorized the MQM to play havoc with the resources of these two cities. In his era, five districts of Karachi (South, Malir; Central, West and East) having a population of 18 million were reduced to one district and whole power were vested in one Nazim of Karachi representing MQM. Contrary to it Hyderabad having population of 2 million was bifurcated in to four districts just to take care of the interests of MQM.  It was the total control of MQM which resulted in to the havoc which engulfed the Karachi on 12th of May 2007, when Chief Justice of Pakistan was deprived of city visit and hundreds were massacred by the free lance hunters of MQM. In addition to above mentioned two ethnic groups, Pushtoon population of Pakistani Tribal areas and Afghanistan also migrated to Karachi. Until the worst floods of 2010, this Pushtoon population was controllable as majority of it migrated due to work opportunities in the city. As an aftermath of 2010 floods, many Pushtoons, Sindhis and Baluchis, once again resorted to mass migration and in fact caused a shaking imbalance to the existing ethnic population of the city. Civic resources viz a viz population also felt the jolts.  Currently each ethnic segment considered itself more populated and powerful, and started striving for more control and influence on the resources of the city. This is generally the main cause of continuously ongoing rift in the city.  However the current turmoil is caused due to entirely different reasons. Karachi in fact is also considered a mini Pakistan.  It is hub of all the economic activities of the country. With two lucrative sea ports and highly developed industrial infra structure it serves as life line for the whole country.  Any problem in Karachi means problem for the whole Pakistan. The importance of Karachi is well known to those powerful nations who have vested interest in this country. Currently governments of USA and UK are not happy with power lobby of Pakistan. Deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has further compounded the problems being faced by these two nations. Since civil and military brass of Pakistan has refused to play any more to the tunes of USA and UK as such current turmoil of Karachi was planned by these two countries. MQM and few other opposition parties were tipped off to get ready for the midterm elections. Divorcing the PP government by MQM was the initial steps for the grand game of midterm elections. Target killers, those having connections with MI5/CIA and also wearing the second hat of ANP, PPP and MQM were given the go ahead signal by these two agencies to play havoc in the city. Due to planed target killing, thousands innocents lost their lives. Sole aim of indiscriminate target killing was to destabilize Karachi for subsequent destabilization of Islamabad thus paving the way for midterm elections and to have a new government loyal to the interests of USA and UK. Due to sharp and timely moves of Gen Kiani and Mr Zardari, the intended move of USA/UK to topple the current set up failed. Mr Zardari, on the advice of Gen Kiani, in addition to many other useful steps, also took bold step to teach lessons to MQM.  In order to hit at the vote power base of MQM, Mr Zardari promulgated the Ordinances for changing the basic electoral system and by redefining the electoral boundaries in Sind. Any midterm election according to new ordinances would have caused more than 30% loss of vote bank to MQM only in Karachi. This caused a huge tsunami to the interests of MQM both in Karachi and Hyderabad. At the same time concrete proofs showing the collaboration of MQM with CIA/MI5 along with the involvement of these agencies to topple the current government were sent to USA/UK.  All this caused huge embarrassment for high ups in USA/UK. Both nations apologized, regretted their acts and sent the diplomatic envoys to Karachi to calm down the angry power lobby of Pakistan. On the pledge not to repeat such act by MQM/MI5 and CIA, Governor of MQM has been reinstated in Sind and very soon MQM will join the Government benches also. In return Mr Zardari also took back all the steps which were promulgated to teach a lesson to the MQM. All this resulted in gradual calm down in Karachi.What new assignment Zulfiqar Mirza has been entrusted will unfold with passage of time.

Apparently current unusual turmoil of Karachi is dying down. However, in order to have a long lasting peace and prosperity, the city urgently needs Metropolitan status having fully empowered locally elected government with autonomous police and other departments. Three ethnic groups are in majority, each deserves equal civic rights, justice and fair treatment in all the spheres of life. Fair treatment by the locally elected government can overcome all the difficulties of the city. Another aspect also needs overhauling.  Each Pakistani now has to start thinking him/her self first as Pakistani.  Discrimination on the basis of religion and ethnic lineage has to be eliminated. Given the aforementioned a chance will not only cease outsiders interference rather will ensure all ok for this mini Pakistan.  However one million dollar question is who will ensure it?  Apparently seems no cure in the pipe line.

Categories: Pakistan, UK, United States

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