PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif has openly expressed the suspicion that the killings in Karachi on 12 May 2007 were committed by the MQM. He made this accusation while addressing a gathering in Muzaffarabad on the occasion of the launch of his party in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, when he also accused the MQM of causing violence in Karachi on the death of Dr Imran Farooq. This was part of his more general accusation that the MQM had compromised with military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, which he brought up to deride MQM chief Altaf Hussains talk of revolution. Whatever the motives, the MQM reply, which came through a party spokesman who told a private TV channel that Mian Nawaz should first look to what had become of Punjab before making such statements. The spokesman also said that there had been no killings after the death of Dr Imran Farooq. Mian Nawaz has joined Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza in accusing the MQM of being responsible for killings in Karachi. Responsible and senior people have made these accusations, and that too from opposite ends of the political divide, at a time when both would be likelier to placate the MQM than offend it, would indicate that the MQM would not be able to counter these statements by slinging mud back. The Punjab counter-accusation will not be enough. The MQM will have to come up with a convincing denial if it does not want other politicians to engage in the game of blaming it for anything that goes wrong in Karachi. The MQM also took up Dr Mirzas case at the highest level, even though it seems to have already subsided, but in the case of Mian Nawaz, it does not have a higher authority it can appeal to, and so the accusation can only be countered at the bar of public opinion. Thus, it is only by a vigorous and convincing denial that the MQM can counter the accusation. At the same time, Mian Nawaz should be fully aware that he has said something very serious. If he is convinced of the truth of what he has said, he must stick with it. If not, he should withdraw the accusation, for he should realise that for him, twice Prime Minister of Pakistan, to have made it, was particularly serious. If the MQM is indeed responsible for what it has been accused of, it is the responsibility of the government to take action strictly according to law, even if it means that the Sindh government loses its minor partner, and the central government its component. Already devoted to protecting one individual from the courts, the PPP should not find itself protecting an entire party.