Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pakistan Happenings: The Karachi Turf And Armed Politics.

The MQM a political party mainly comprised of Muhajirs (a word used for people who migrated from India in 1947 partition) came into being in 1982 during General Zia ul Haq's dictatorial regime.
Mr Altaf Hussain , a Karachi University graduate was a founding member along with Mr Azeem Tariq ,Dr Imran Faruq , Dr Farooq Sattar (APMSO) Sindh Medical College and other students of Karachi. This party initially known as Muhajir Qaumi Movement vouched to safeguard and fight for the civil rights of Muhajirs who had a large population in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur, Nawabshah in Sindh province. One of the major demands of this party was the removal of the qouta system in Sindh province for government jobs , admission to professional colleges and Universities put in place by the Sindh provincial government to ensure representation in these institutions and jobs on the basis of residence and not merit.This was to give due representation to underdeveloped areas of Sindh. It was to stay for ten years only. It continued.Later in the 1990s Mr Altaf Hussain decided to make it into a national party and change its name to Muttahid Qaumi Movement. A faction led by Mr Amir Khan and clandestinely backed by the intelligence agencies , some say , formed the MQM (Haqiqi) and parted ways with parent MQM. Lots of street fights, deaths continued for some time and the areas with strength in some areas n urban sectors  became no go areas for others. For example, a large section of Landhi ? Korangi went with MQM (Haqiqi) while large areas of district central went with Muttahida.
Turf power continued in status qou. The Sindh Rangers had established their law enforcement offices and areas of both MQMs came under their jurisdiction. Both factions cooperated and grew into power and increased their turf hold.
The Pakistan Peoples Party meanwhile , with its charismatic leader out of country for more than a decade never got the chance to increase their vote bank and continued to hold turf in three areas populated by ethnic Sindhis, Baluchis who were their die hard supporters.
During the dictator Mr Pervez Musharraf's regime Muttahida got support for Karachi and Hyderabad infrastructure which was a priority both for establishment and the political forces in Karachi and Hyderabad.
Meanwhile the killings of people known as targetted killings continued in Karachi and many  prominent people like Hakeem Said, KESC MD Shahid and recently PTI idealogue Zohra Shahid's murders were blamed on Muttahida which continues to deny to this day.
During PPP government under Benazir Bhutto Muttahida had to face army operation in which they claim many of its innocent workers were killed.There has been no truth and reconciliation done by PPP to this day on this. Some years back another massacre known as the Qasba Colony massacre also occured in which many young men were killed. No inquiry on this has also occurred.
Since last few years the Law Enforcement Agencies in Karachi are doing operations against armed gangs , criminals in areas that are notoriously famous like Lyari and Orangi Town.Many criminals caught have affiliation to political parties and Muttahida has been accused as harbouring many.
The most recent raid on Muttahida office has been the final aatempt by LEA and establishment to reign in the alleged power house that runs this party and many say their final attempt to replace Muttahida leadership with another one.
The PTI led by Mr Imran Khan looks with greedy eyes towards the large vote bnk in Karachi and wants to get more seats in next elections.
Meanwhile except for making decisions to use LEAs by the Sindh government, the PPP makes no attempt to increase or encroach upon the vote bank that the Muttahida still enjoys.
So with Mr Altaf Hussain repeatedly appeling to his workers to vote in another head, it appears that the turf war for Karachi may finally be coming to a head or is it just a conjecture or wishful thinking on the part of some who want to quickly change the political scene.
As long as there is no blood shed it is okay but any revolution has to be bloody and in Pakistan it is always a coup of sorts.
Meanwhile the huge arms influx helped , facilitated in the 1980s , some say by National logistic Cell chairman general Abdul Qadir using Logitics containers and neither investigated nor opposed at the time, made Karachi into an armed city in contrast to a peaceful city of poets, artists, businessmen and thousands of immigrants from other areas of Pakistan who daily come in search of jobs, education, a better life. After 9/11 and US invasion of Afghanistan the NATO and US allies supply used Pakistan for its logistics. Again huge quantities of arms and ammunition was shifted in containers both by NLC and private transporters. Some containers were stolen and the goods were freely available in arms markets in Karachi.
Again no attempt were made by Sindh, federal government, LEAs to reign in the arms dealers in Karachi and even the prohibited bore arms were freely supplied and purchased. It is no hidden secret that these arms dealers are patronized by big fish and all political parties are armed to the teeth along with terrorist and banned organizations, religious groups and gangs and mafia.
The LEAs are trying to clean some areas and recent raid on 90 the political party headquarters of Muttahida may be one such attempt.Let us see how long and how effective the cleaning of armed areas is.