People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”, is the first thought that comes to mind, upon witnessing the ongoing back and forth between Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Jamat-e-Islami (JI). The two parties have a lot more in common with each other than they would like to believe: accusations of questionable activities, militant wings, contributing to the deteriorating law and order situation, and completely failing to develop into parties of a national stature like the PML-N, PPP, PTI etc. MQM is often blamed for playing the ethnicity card in times of political difficulty, and JI of using religion as a shield or a sword, whatever the need of the hour.

Another factor uniting these rivals is their mutual failure in bringing any relief to the troubled citizens of Karachi. Their luck is just unbelievable. Unlike how it goes in comic books, this crime-ridden, drug-infested city does not have a hero watching over it, just villains.

MQM Chief, Altaf Hussain, yet again added to the temperature of the political climate by delivering a fiery speech against JI. He accused JI and its student wing, Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), of maintaining links with terrorist organisations such as al-Qaida and TTP. He quoted instances of JI members giving shelter to terrorists. He proposed a ban on JI over its anti-Pakistan stance during the struggle for independence, and its attempts to disintegrate the country thereafter. Voicing his concerns over the ongoing Karachi operation, Mr Altaf Hussain demanded the discriminatory action against Muhajirs be stopped, or the situation would worsen to an extent that even the army will find it difficult to control. Mr Altaf Hussain would be wise to exercise restraint when criticising another party. There is always a possibility that counter-accusations may point to the Wali Babar murder case and other similar references, most likely to put the MQM leadership in a tight spot. It would not be entirely wrong for MQM to consider its performance in Karachi as being the reason behind the party’s inability to expand beyond the metropolis, instead of the ‘relentless propaganda’ which is often cited as the primary cause.

JI spokesperson, Mr Fareed Paracha, condemned the MQM Chief’s speech and termed the allegations as baseless and absurd. Exaggerated, maybe, but baseless? Not really. It’s about time JI offered an unconditional apology for its historic resistance to the formation of Pakistan. IJT’s hooliganism is no secret, nor is the soft corner JI reserves for terrorists and the organisations they belong to. Calling Hakimullah Mehsud and Osama Bin Laden “martyrs” certainly doesn’t help, and only adds credibility to accusations by others. Mending one’s own ways is the only way forward.