As the operation continues, Lyari looks for the doctor

Published: May 3, 2012
In this file photo Uzair Baloch and Dr Zulfiqar Mirza sit side by side on Baloch Cultural Day. Now that Uzair Baloch and his followers have publicly denounced Pakistan Peoples Party, they are looking to Mirza who used to vow to fight for Lyari till he died.  PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

In this file photo Uzair Baloch and Dr Zulfiqar Mirza sit side by side on Baloch Cultural Day. Now that Uzair Baloch and his followers have publicly denounced Pakistan Peoples Party, they are looking to Mirza who used to vow to fight for Lyari till he died. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: As all eyes are on Lyari, Lyari’s eyes are on Dr Zulfiqar Mirza – the beleaguered constituency’s knight in red, black and green armour. But for reasons best known to perhaps the president, this Pakistan Peoples Party figure is silent.

His silence is taking a toll. It is day six of a police operation to cleanse the helter-skelter settlement of criminals despite resistance from its residents. Lyari may have long been a PPP fortress that few outsiders could breach through the ballot, but the government’s decision to set the police on it has not gone down well. The only person who could have helped, argue its people, is Zulfiqar Mirza, who stepped down as the home minister.

“This is the time to prove who is loyal with whom,” remarked Lyari resident Khadija Laasi, who had come out to protest on Wednesday. “We are looking for Mirza who used to say that he would fight for our rights till the last drop of blood in his veins. We will not go after him to help us, but he should come to our help.”

If Mirza has been watching what has been happening in Lyari, he certainly hasn’t said anything. He is believed to be at his DHA residence and avoiding meeting PPP leaders who are generally close to him.

Party members close to him offered one explanation; after receiving strict instructions from the president, Mirza is avoiding creating trouble for his wife, Fahmida Mirza who is the speaker of the National Assembly, and his son Hasnain, who was recently elected an MPA to the very seat Mirza vacated.

A key figure in Lyari and a leader of the banned Peoples Amn Committee, Zafar Baloch, said that they had neither contacted Mirza nor had he approached them. He was fairly diplomatic in his assessment of the lack of visible support from Mirza – “perhaps he has had to compromise for the sake of his wife and son’s political career”.

“We still respect Dr Mirza, who might have some political commitments with his leadership. But I can say that no one can be a leader while ignoring the rights of their people. We need ration bags not hollow promises. The operation in Lyari has now exposed how these people [who claim to be true leaders] are committed to us.”

Mirza was once close to the amn committee. In fact Zafar and Uzair Baloch flanked him at a press conference when he railed against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a move that has since relegated him to the virtual political margins of the PPP at least in the public’s perception.

The people of Lyari who were allied with the amn committee recall March 2 when Mirza was feted at Baloch Cultural Day. As the home minister, he controlled the police and when the Rangers started an operation in Lyari he threatened to resign. When the PAC was banned Mirza had said that he would try to revive it.

Aside from Mirza, most other PPP members have been silent, with perhaps the exception of Sindh Culture Minister Sassui Palijo, the only woman MPA who contested the election on her own in Thatta. She has been voicing her opinion against the operation at meetings and events.

A senior PPP parliamentarian explained that the party has surrendered under a reconciliation policy. “All members are afraid of getting explanation calls. No one is now willing to speak against the party policy.”

Former information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, who is close to Mirza, did not want to comment either. For his part, PPP MPA Saleem Hingoro from Lyari said that though they had supported an operation against criminals, people were angry. “We have clearly communicated the message to our leadership that the same kind of operation must be carried out in other disturbed areas.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Khalid Javed
    May 3, 2012 - 9:54AM

    Dr. Mirza- a thunder who promised to dispel clouds of corruption & oppression greesed to silence by Zardari on account of political expedience.


  • Spaniard
    May 3, 2012 - 10:14AM

    Hhahaha let the aman committe aside…Zulfiqar mirza will chant a slogan of zinda hia bhutto zinda hai and win the election on PPP seat…this is called dirty politics…they jsut used them.-…


  • Shahryar Ahmed
    May 3, 2012 - 10:27AM

    Can’t understand why people are angry about a operation clearly against the criminal elements. It only means that people of Lyari maybe supporting these criminals?

    How can ordinary people fight like these people are & where did they get their weapons from if they are innocent people?

    I think such operations should be aimed in every trouble area of Karachi, be it MQM’s, ANP’s or PPP’s period.

    Enough is enough, this city must be cleared of these low life criminals!


  • The Pointer
    May 3, 2012 - 11:03AM

    The best answer to Mirza’s silence is “perhaps he has had to compromise for the sake of his wife and son’s political career”. WAKE UP LYARI, WAKE UP Please.


  • Sattar
    May 3, 2012 - 11:05AM

    A pic is woth a 1000 words but then talk is cheap and we only get 2 know the worth of an individual when the rubber hits the road!!


  • Adeel759
    May 3, 2012 - 11:13AM

    Zafar and Uzair Jan Baloch were few people who stood by Dr Mirza, now that they need him, Dr Sahib is silent. This cant be expected from ‘The Son Of Soil’. Mirza Sahib, come out roaring from your den and help stop the killing of people of lyari.Recommend

  • Kay Kay
    May 3, 2012 - 12:44PM

    Operation against Criminals? Its a bid to take control of Lyari from one criminal gang & hand it over to another one…as a gift.


  • Aristo
    May 3, 2012 - 12:59PM

    Opportunists to the core!Recommend

  • Parvez
    May 3, 2012 - 3:53PM

    TV talk show ratings are doing great they don’t need the good doctor just yet.


  • Ashfaque
    May 3, 2012 - 4:13PM

    I dont know what to say. Today I am really very upset and thinking how these leaders use public for thier purpose. Same as mirza as he is not doing anything only for his wife & son political career.

    I think this is the time we all need to stand up and get the position against these all politicion and stop going to caste the vote for Peoples Party & Muslim league Nawaz and others. I only can say one thing they all are muqa parast parties.

    ALLAH app ki hafazat karain Layari brothers/Sister. Zulam bhoot aarsay tak nahi chalta ALLAH zaroor help karain ga…..


  • May 3, 2012 - 5:35PM

    lyari and the city of Karachi is facing the brunt of violence from the thugs of amn community, courtsey of zulfiqar mirza.


  • zK
    May 3, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Just to endorse Shahryar Ahmed’s point….doesnt this mean the people of lyari are actually supporting these terrorists who are fighting against the state using weapons which are unimaginable in a civilized society !!
    As for Mirza…its quite obvious where he got instructions from to come out screaming and yelling , in the past ………and he’s getting instructions from the same place again !
    2+2=4 !Recommend

  • zahid
    May 3, 2012 - 7:06PM

    Liyari is criminal’s safe heaven since long and only those are angry who are associated with crimes. Why this hue and cry. Let the LEA perform their duties


  • Pakistani Youth
    May 3, 2012 - 11:44PM

    Gansters, Criminals, Terrorists – call them what you want but the fact is that this bunch of so called “criminals” have been running free schools, free clinics, supervising development work, raising their voices against the people who were eating their development funds.

    What a bunch of “criminals” that Mr. Edhi stands up for them and calls them assets of Karachi, says there’s no Gang War in Lyari. Says Ch. Aslam is not letting him go out of his house to help the victims and is under unannounced house arrest.

    What Criminals & Gangsters – Right ?????


  • Saleem
    May 4, 2012 - 1:25AM

    I had seen the doctor a few days ago at Malir Halt. he was coming from Badin, But looked very week. He is really brave man, but political compromise has made him tight lipped


  • Syed Faisal
    May 4, 2012 - 1:50AM

    @Pakistani Youth , I endorse your comments , for past so many years what we have given to the people of Liyari , no education , no jobs , no hopes what make them to live in ghettos , when i was in Karachi University , i saw a handful of teacher and student from Liyari.
    Now government is doing an operation in a way that Israeli do operations in Palestinian areas.
    But they cannot break the will of the people of Liyari. They proved that , although they poor but resilient.


  • Hassan Baloch
    May 5, 2012 - 8:54AM

    I hope President Zardari will send Dr. Mirza to Lyari to console the enraged voters. People of Lyari love Bhuttoisam and can forget all the mistakes, if anyone may approach them


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