Being a liberal political party, Sindh’ urban based MQM’ stand against religious extremism has been very vocal from the onset; they never minced words when it comes to condemn the atrocities meted out by Taliban and like-minded groups. It was only MQM who opposed the Swat deal between Pakistani government and Taliban in 2009 wherein all the plus 350 National Assembly members surrendered (minus MQM and one league member in individual capacity) in favor of Taliban. MQM’ point of view proved correct within few months when Swat deal broke off due to Taliban’ increased oppression of the local population, forcing the army to launch a major operation in Swat to cleanse the valley of terrorists. When the Swat Taliban attacked the teenager activist Malala Yousufzai on Oct. 09, it was only MQM who condemned the Taliban by name, while other political parties shied away or found excuses not to accuse or upset the Taliban, or if forced by public opinion, they didn’t name the Taliban but condemn unknown assailants.

In this backdrop wherein Taliban are getting support from several religious-political parties and have supporter s in the media, and security forces are still reluctant to launch a final assault against Taliban, MQM has announced to hold a referendum to ask whether they want to live in a Pakistan run by the Taliban, or the one dreamed by Qaid-i-Azam. It’s a desperate attempt on the part of MQM to mobilize general public opinion against the religious extremists. We all know that this cancer is not limited to Pakistan’ tribal areas, but has engulfed other parts of the country as well.

Supreme Court has asked Sindh police chief to clarify reports that around 7000 Taliban who have entered Karachi. The Taliban announced that they have decided to deal with MQM and rid the people of Karachi of the ‘suppression’ of MQM, “We would show no leniency to the MQM” said a Taliban’ spokesman on Nov 2 in Karachi, which is already gripped by ethnic, political and sectarian violence, it doesn’t need another group to fuel the violence further. Taliban will try to give the conflict an ethnic color and that would be the last thing this city needs. It is time the law enforcing agencies and the intelligence agencies worked together to halt the Taliban from plunging Pakistan’ economic hub into further chaos and violence.

MASOOD KHAN,

Jubail, November 3.