October 21, 2010

The City of Doom

Strange that the Rangers and the police stop and check
ordinary citizens at least ten times in a space of 1000m,
but the gun toting chums aren't even given a pat
down. (Photo: Dawn.com)
Everywhere you look there is a maddening increase in insolence, from the government right down to us, at the lowest end of the holy class division ladder. But what really gets me started is the totally abhorrent attitude of the government in dealing with the Karachi issue.

I mean sure we all know it’s corrupt and incompetent, but we had always assumed there would be some semblance of sanity prevailing at the helm of affairs up north in Islamabad. Afraid of breaking its traditional momentum, the government’s sages have decided to continue the status quo of drowning out all sensible charades that are being presented to the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile Karachi stands melted and wasted. I don’t know what the MQM, PPP and ANP are fighting over. It’s probably the body parts strewn across various parts of the city that they want to collect, preserve and then show off as their martyrs who died at the hands of the tyrants. My prose might come across as demeaning, blunt and insensitive but really, does anyone else have a better theory? This is what happens when you all call yourselves Balochis, Pashtuns, Mahajirs, Panjabis and then Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus instead of standing united under the flag of Pakistan.

Now that we have lost our Pakistaniat (thank you Zulfiqar Mirza for stating in front of an audience that you were ready to break Pakistan if it wasn’t for Zardari), I propose we proceed to divide Karachi up into three parts not unlike Jerusalem which after all is a holy city, and hence we should follow its model because we are all extremely pious Muslims. Give one quarter to the Mahajirs or the Urdu speaking populace; give one to the Pashtuns who are duly represented by the ANP; and finally give one quarter to the PPP or the Sindhis. As far as the malice ridden Panjabis are concerned, simply screw them.

What is perhaps the most intriguing is that even though Karachi has been hijacked by the political elements for personal benefit, the Karachiites themselves have got no say in the way things are run in their city. I can’t help but agree with Mujeeb Shami when he suggests that what we have done is to “…replace one dictatorship with five dictatorships; one each in Quetta, Peshawer, Karachi and Lahore.” If the status of Karachi two and a half years ago is remembered, you would find it was a bustling metropolis of 13 million people who were generally in a happy mood. There were new roads and parks and everything seemed to be finally getting into order.

But as things happen as soon as the demented PPP steps into power, things start going downhill. What is most ironical is that all the three stakeholders in this game of cat and mouse claim innocence whilst they continuously blame each other. So while the MQM blames the PPP and the ANP for the bloodshed, and the ANP blames the MQM and the land mafia for the troubles, and the PPP blames unknown forces which supposedly have no basis in fact, it is clear that none of them can explain why the so much blood has been spilt in the first place. Was it political rivalry, or sectarianism? Was it ethnic violence? Or was it simply a ploy to terrorize innocents to give up their land?

Whatever the case maybe, Karachi has come to a standstill which is quite saddening actually. It is considered our commercial and economic gateway. It is the place where industrial revolution takes place in Pakistan before exporting itself to other parts of the country. Its ports connect us to the economic system of the world and yet all we care about is who gets to rule over whom.

Had we garnered that sense of unity that prevails amongst our neighbors like India or China, or even Iran, maybe this shameful loss of life could have been averted. As it happens though, personal whims of self declared Kings have always overruled the masses collective opinion and will. Karachi is a national treasure and a national city. It belongs to all Pakistanis, not self declared saints from Larkana, London, or Peshawer.