Excessively obsessed with the idea of the unification of Germany, the German Chancellor Bismarck forcefully propounded the ‘Iron and Blood’ policy in the country in Nineteenth Century. Adhering to this policy, he tried to unify the various German states into a powerful German Empire. Modifying, a bit, the policy of Bismarck, another policy of ‘ballot and bullet’ has been devised and enforced in the city of Karachi for some time. While endeavoring to keep the city under their firm hold, some political forces in the city have constantly been adhering to this policy. Establishing the dominance over the people in Karachi by representing them by ballot and terrorizing them by bullet, simultaneously or separately, has been the hallmark of this policy. In this perspective, both ballot and bullet are complimentary and supplementary to each other. In case, the former fails, then the latter is sure to accomplish the desired ‘goal’.

In fact, this wicked ballot-bullet binary lies at the very root of some major sufferings of the Karachiites in the city. The alleged recovery of a large quantity of illegal weapons in consequence of the recent raid conducted by the Rangers on MQM’s 90 headquarter in Karachi is another manifestation of this very fact. This huge pile of sophisticated arms and ammunition necessarily indicates that a political party, which claims to represent the Karachiites by means of ballots, has a tendency to rely on the power of bullets to achieve its political objectives. As usual, the prominent MQM leaders have forcefully denied the authenticity of all these allegations by resorting to their conventional policy of declaring such developments as part of the ‘grand conspiracy’ against the MQM.

It is not the first time that the MQM has been charged with some serious criminal offences. Since its inception, MQM has often been seen entangled in similar controversies starting from its alleged planning for the Jinnah Pur in 1990’s to the involvement in the 2012 Baldia Town Factory fire incident. It has also been accused of some high-profile assassinations like the murder of former governor Sindh Hakim Muhammad Saeed, journalist Wali Khan Baber, PTI’s leader Zahra Shahid, MD KESC Shahid Hamid, younger brother of former CM Sindh Syed Abdullah Shah, Dr. Imran Farooq etc. It has also been accused of having a squad of target killers and extortionist in Karachi. Now, a detained MQM activist has allegedly confessed the target killings of some 120 people over political rivalry in the city. In 2013, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has also observed that various political party have their militant wings in Karachi.

The chronology of deadly violence in Karachi is observably connected with the emergence of a political party which claims to exclusively represent an ethno-linguist community in the urban Sindh. Is it mere a coincidence? It is quite inexplicable why this single political party is blamed for the current miserable state of affairs in Karachi time and again. It is a fact that this city is virtually in the grip of extortionist mafia and target killers. It is a fact that thousands of Karchiites killed in various acts of violence in the city every year. It is also a fact that MQM currently holds almost the entire electoral mandate of the city. It is also another fact that this city is the stronghold of MQM where nobody can dare to challenge its authority. Now, are there some extra-terrestrial species from Mars that are playing havoc with the peace and order of this unfortunate city?

For a long time, MQM has been accusing the so-called establishment for its political victimization. This party is generally believed to be established with the support of a military dictator who wanted to marginalize his political rival party (PPP) in Sindh. Again, this party has been enjoying the absolute support of former President General Pervez Musharraf during his tenure. The MQM has extended an unqualified moral support to armed forces against the War on Terror in Pakistan. Altaf Hussain has also formally invited the Army Chief to take-over the country, and to launch a military operation in the city. Therefore, it is quite incomprehensible why the so-called establishment is conspiring to eliminate this political party.

Sadly, despite some grave allegations leveled by the former interior minister Sindh, Zulfiqar Mirza, on MQM and its chief, no state institution has ever formally tried to investigate, or otherwise ascertain the authenticity of these allegation. He has, on oath, accused MQM chief of plotting to break away Karachi from Pakistan with the connivance of some international power players. Indeed, these charges amount to a crime akin high treason. Earlier, MQM chief has publically denounced the creation of Pakistan in a formal ceremony in India. The MQM’s convicted activist, Saulat Mirzi, has also substantiated all these allegations against the MQM in a widely-circulated video on the social media. After the recent crackdown of law-enforcing agencies in the city, the investigators are also making almost similar accusations about this party.

The Federal Court of Canada has also declared MQM as a terrorist organization in 2006. There have been reports that the then government dropped some 3576 criminal cases against Altaf Hussain after the promulgation of notorious NRO in 2009. Now, all these allegations need serious consideration. It is advisable that the government should now form a high-powered inquiry commission to thoroughly ascertain the authenticity of all these allegations. In case this inquiry body finds some substance in these allegations, then the federal government must proceed against MQM under section 15 of the Political Parties Order, 2002. It allows the government to dissolve any political party in the country which acts in a manner prejudicial to the sovereignty or the integrity of Pakistan, or indulges in terrorism. Of course, politics can, by no means, override or overrun the state.

As a matter of fact, the casualties caused by this vociferous binary in Karachi has outnumbered the casualties that Pakistan has suffered in the so-called War on Terror or in all the India-Pakistan conflicts. Pakistan has formally launched many military operations to curb the menace of terrorism. It is be quite regrettable that Pakistan has fought four full-scale wars with India to retrieve its ‘jugular vein’ but it has hardly made any significant effort to protect its ‘economic lifeline’. The ongoing Karachi operation must continue tills its logical conclusion. For this purpose, the Karachiites must extend full support to the law-enforcing agencies in the city. This issue should not fall a prey to political expediency and ‘politics of reconciliation’. It is high time to either end or amend this so-called ballot and billet policy by significantly segregating the former from the latter in Karachi.