September 2, 2011

Cracking the code to Karachi's misery

Ladies and gentlemen, I have returned from my hiatus. If you missed me, then please be assured I missed you too. If on the other hand you did not miss me, well then you know what you can do.

I have been away from my blog for so long for two primary reasons.

  1. Because I was far far away in Karachi and did not have quite the access to internet that I would've liked and,
  2. Because even after having watched Zulfiqar Mirza blow up like a helium filled balloon set on fire, I really didn't feel like I had anything to say.
That all changes now because as it turns out I do have something to say about the whole affair.

To start of there are rumours that Altaf Hussain has been arrested by the British police in connection with the murder of Imran Farooq. Self professed analysts on the media also proclaim that since Altaf "bhai" has been arrested, hence he has not really communicated to his party (MQM) about what to do with Zulfiqar Mirza and his amazing diatribe against them.

In humdrum, no one really cares where Altaf Hussain goes. Just like no one cares where Zulfiqar Mirza goes. The MQM and Zulfiqar Mirza depict deeply embedded ethnic taboos that have come blasting to the fore. Zulfiqar Mirza's deliberate attempt to string up discord between the Urdu speaking and the Pashtuns in Karachi was visible for all to see. But he went a tad bit further and proclaimed that he will only work for Sindhis now. I wonder, what became of the Pakistan that stood for equanimity and equality without ethnicity and religious affiliations affecting one's relationship with others?

While I was in Karachi I had a realization. All my life I had seen Karachi on TV as being the most horrid place in Pakistan. The people, the location, the smell, the size of the metropolis, the pollution. But that's not true. What Karachi really is, is the most amazing city I have ever visited. There is a diversity in Karachi. The people are friendly. And there's so many food places, you have to wonder why they don't just call it food city. And it has the sea. Nobody ogles at you for dressing weirdly. Nobody hoots at you for wearing jeans (yes girls, I did not see anyone hoot at any girl the entire time I was there). And best of all, the people have a  lot patience and respect for each other.

Which made me wonder, why is there such a big mess broiling in Karachi then?

The answer is simple. The message of Pakistaniat has disappeared from the hearts of Pakistanis. Karachi is no longer a city that belongs to Pakistanis or even Karachiites. It is being fought over by idiots who think that they own Karachi. But the truth is they don't and that's why the city doesn't yield.

Who cares if you're Urdu speaking? Who cares if you're a Sindhi, Balochi, Pashtun or Punjabi? The fact of the matter is that we're all Pakistanis. We all own Pakistan and all the cities in Pakistan. I'm as much an owner of Karachi as the little boy who sells pakoras on the streets of Mardan. Just like the people of Karachi are as much owners of Islamabad like the Baloch elder who sits outside his sajji shop in Quetta.

I love Pakistan. And so should you.