The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) warned against the city’s targeted killing spree growing even bigger to become a ‘massacre or ethnic cleansing’ in Tuesday’s National Assembly session.
An impassioned call was made by the MQM seeking immediate government action to what some of its members described as violence engineered by elements within the provincial administration of Sindh. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) responded by advising the party to accept the existence of the rival Haqqiqi group.
“We can never get to the bottom of the problem in Karachi as long as we continue to deny their [Haqqiqi] existence,” said MNA Abdul Qadir Patel.
Patel advised the MQM to open negotiations with the Haqqiqi group, whose leadership had hitherto been under detention but was recently released by courts and greeted by a senior Sindh minister at a political gathering.
The PPP MP from Karachi also called for giving Sunni Tehreek (ST), another group in friction with the MQM in the past, a chance.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Khawaja Saad Rafiq urged the government to send a parliamentary fact-finding mission to Karachi and implement its report.
A senior MQM leader warned against ‘naivety’ to deal with what he called the bashing of a particular ethnic community in Karachi.
“This attitude will harm us and you as well,” said MNA Haider Abbas Rizvi, referring to the government’s handling of violence in the city.
Earlier, the MQM staged a walkout from the house and its emotional members started running out of control, shouting anti-government slogans when Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza tried to discontinue a debate on the unrest in Karachi.
But the walkout and a strong protest forced the government to change plans of bringing to the house issues other than the overnight debate.
Rizvi said that in parts of the city people were being attacked due to their ethnic affiliations and were even being forced to vacate their home in some areas. “It’s like internal displacement,” he said.
He further warned the government against pushing MQM to the wall and added that a sense of isolation was growing within the party that can be translated into a sense of deprivation or alienation of the group.
Rizvi warned that instability in Karachi would have a direct effect on peace and harmony in the entire country.
“Karachi is the centre of gravity … if you want to save Pakistan, save this city,” he added.
A cleric and member of the assembly from Balochistan said whatever was happening to Pakistan today was the wrath of God.
People don’t obey rulers because they don’t obey God, said Maulvi Asmatullah.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2011.