In what can be called the height of immaturity, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are embroiled in a dispute in the metropolis city of Karachi. The cause of the conflict will surprise people because of its childishness- the bone of contention is the Hakim Said Ground in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, and who gets to organise its public meeting there.
Maybe it should’ve been foreseen that a feud between the major parties would transpire, considering that both parties decided to host their public meetings around the same time in the same city. PPP’s Provincial Minister for Planning and Development Saeed Ghani claimed his party had obtained permission from the deputy commissioner first for holding the meeting at the ground while PTI’s Firdaus Shamim Naqvi insisted they had chosen the venue after PPP’s announcement of holding their meeting in Baldia. The conflict between the two parties resembles that of children fighting over their space in a playground.
However, this is no small laughable scuffle, and set in the backdrop of a city with a volatile past, it has the potential to snowball into something disastrous. Already, there has been violence reported between workers of the two parties; reports indicate that more than half a dozen workers of PPP and PTI were injured in street clashes on Monday night over this issue of the venue of their rallies. The situation appeared to have gotten quite serious, with the irascible party supporters torched a couple of vehicles, fired bullets into the air and tents and party camps in Hakim Saeed Ground and University Road.
The rhetoric from the two parties is certainly not helping either as we saw no effort from the parties to comprise or give way to cooperation. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah deemed the violent outbreak a ‘conspiracy’ whereas PTI’s Naqvi has warned that if PPP government uses state machinery against PTI, they would be left with no choice but to hold the meeting on University Road.
It is ironic that PPP and PTI were two parties which mourned the loss of stability and peace in Karachi and sought to blame the MQM for the disruption in city. Now, after months of peace, violence has sown new seeds in the city, but this violence is ironically being inflicted by the two anti-violence parties themselves. Unless the two parties wish to further damage all credibility they have in Karachi, they need to get over this childish issue and comprise.