In the present era of a vibrant social media, a well wisher is defined as the one who wishes you to ‘the well’.
MQM Chief Altaf Hussain is, probably, a similar kind of well wisher for the army.
In an interview, he said the army should take over if the government doesn’t extend support for elimination of terrorism.
“Pakistan”, he said, “is more important for us than democracy; we can’t imperil our country for the sake of democracy. If the country survives, democracy will also flourish”.
A few days ago, his party held a rally in Karachi to express solidarity with the army. Addressing the rally participants, Mr Hussain said the nation would support if the government and the army come forward against the Taliban.
He likened the Taliban to cancer – and their supporters to hypocrites – and sought sternest possible action against them.
While Altaf Hussain’s abhorrence of terrorism is appreciable, the advice he has given to the army will hardly find any takers.
The reason is that the army is already carrying out an operation against militants and, according to a number of media reports, it is not giving much importance to the government’s reluctance to give it a go-ahead.
The involvement of the army shows seriousness of the situation. The challenges facing the army will multiply in the times ahead as the foreign troops plan to leave Afghanistan by the end of the year.
Most predictions say that Afghanistan will once again face anarchy, and Pakistan will be a victim of the fallout.
In such a situation the takeover advice is the biggest disservice to the country. It only reflects that either the MQM leadership is not aware of the severity of the challenges ahead or it deliberately wants to push the army into a field constitutionally forbidden to it. Running the country and at the same time dealing with terrorists will not be an easy task for the army, leave alone the international reaction to such a misadventure.
Before expecting miracles from the army and the government in the deteriorating situation, the MQM leadership should not forget their own performance while they were in power.
Everyone knows that Karachi is the worst victim of terrorism. The people of Karachi have been easy prey to extortionists, target-killers and kidnappers for ransom for the past several years.
The situation could not be controlled even during 2008-13 when the MQM was coalition partner with the PPP.
Many allege that the MQM people were involved in these activities. It is also alleged that about half a million pounds, recovered by the British police from the MQM Secretariat in London, had been extorted in Karachi and sent to the exiled leadership to enable them to lead a comfortable life there.
While these allegations may or may not be well-founded, there’s no denying the fact that the coalition of which the MQM was a part had failed to restore peace to the economic hub of the country.
The MQM may argue that it did its best to curb lawlessness; but then this argument is also available to the present rulers. They may argue that they have set up a committee for talks with the Taliban, and at the same time a military operation is going on against the militants.
They may also point out that the cabinet has asked the Taliban to declare unconditional ceasefire, otherwise no talks would be held with them.
The government may also argue that a national security policy has been announced and the prime minister and the army chief have exchanged views on the security situation.
It is said that the COAS has told the prime minister that militants can be eliminated in four to six weeks but after that army’s permanent presence in Waziristan will be required.
This shows that the government is trying to deal with the menace of terrorism. But if the MQM chief is still not satisfied, he should better return to Pakistan and lead the nation. Compared to any other leader he knows better how the terrorists operate and how they can be eliminated.