“All sorrows are bearable,

if there is bread.”

–Cervantes

The entire leadership of MQM has leveled serious charges on the Karachi police after the recent events involving MQM cadres. Amongst the charges is that the Karachi police collects Rs 22 crore per month and the targeted operation being carried out against criminal elements had a bias against one ethnic group.

While normally such charges would have attracted at least a judicial inquiry but in the instant case the demand by the MQM leadership to sack Karachi police chief and to register a case against Mr Shahid Hayat has been met with skepticism. Since the posting of this official most of the criminal elements in Karachi have been on the run generating a hope that the elusive peace in Karachi city may eventually return. While a spokesman of the Sindh government has admitted that excesses committed by a few policemen cannot be accepted as a general policy of the Sindh government or the law enforcement agencies. The method applied by the policemen to pick and detain an MQM worker from a marriage party and then after a lot of hue and cry the release of the worker after he was subjected according to MQM sources to third degree torture indeed requires a thorough investigation by the concerned officials. The policemen on their part have claimed that the worker who was detained is indeed involved in several heinous crimes and as such his arrest was justified. However the method employed cannot be accepted at all and it would be entirely proper if the Sindh government gets to the bottom of this case in a transparent way.

MQM Chief Mr Altaf Hussain has appealed the Chief of army staff and the ISI Chief to — what he calls — play their role for national security. He has also appealed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to take notice of what he calls extra judicial killings involving MQM workers. Mr Altaf Hussain also complained against the attitude of Mr Asif Ali Zardari about whom he said that while in distress the MQM had supported the former President. Mr Altaf Hussain criticized interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and the Sindh Chief Minister for not paying any attention to what he called the miseries of the muhajir people at the hands of the Sindh police. In a veiled threat he said that if the government failed to swiftly respond to the genuine demands of the MQM it will not be possible for him to control the emotions of his party workers and an ugly situation could easily erupt in Karachi. The government of Mr Nawaz Sharif already has its plate full with issues ranging from unemployment, rising prices and poor law and order situation.

The government is also engaged in negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan therefore at this point in time the Prime Minister cannot afford to have another serious issue on his hands with the potential of growing into something very ugly. Therefore, Mian Nawaz Sharif may consider to hold a transparent inquiry into the allegations leveled by the MQM leadership so that the people of this country could know the truth about this situation. It is expected that while the MQM will not take any hasty step, that will further damage the peace and tranquility that everyone desires for Karachi but at the same time, another incident of this proportion could ignite bush fire that may become difficult both for the government and the MQM to control.

As far as the demand by the MQM leadership for the army to intervene remains an unacceptable proposition because there are several other options available to the MQM through which it could redress their grievances against the Karachi police. It is expected that Mr Altaf Hussain will continue to play his positive and productive role to ensure improvement in the general law and order situation in Karachi because if it deteriorates any further, it will have an adverse effect not only for the country and its economy but also for the MQM. To achieve this goal both the federal and provincial governments are expected to play their due roles and ensure that MQM is not isolated and it continues to function as a mainstream political party of this country.

The MQM on its part should also cooperate to identify black sheep amongst their ranks who use the name of MQM as a cover to indulge in criminal and anti social activities. This should not be a difficult task keeping in view the regimentation that exists in the MQM. Mr Shahid Hayat who has earned a good name in Karachi should not allow such incidents to happen again and he should punish the erring officials and also come out with tangible evidence to rebut the serious allegations that have been leveled by MQM against him.

 The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist.

Email:zarnatta@hotmail.com