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بدھ، 29 جون، 2011

MQM’s stunts

As the ruling PPP is dropping hints for the formation of a coalition government in Azad Kashmir where it has secured a simple majority in the just concluded polls, one of its coalition partners in Sindh as well as in the Centre has parted ways with it over differences on handling of electoral process in AJK. MQM had done so in the past as well but every time it returned back to the coalition folds after dialogue and discussions with the PPP leadership and therefore, nothing can be said with certainty about the fate of the latest decision.

The MQM does have a point. If AJK assembly election could be held in Peshawar, not an infrequent terrorist target, and in Punjab, the witness to a lot of violence on the polling day, why couldn’t it be carried through in Karachi? Security definitely couldn’t be the reason for the poll postponement in the port city. The move was palpably politically motivated. But the MQM too has overly overreacted. By announcing walkout from the Sindh and federal governments and quittal of the Sindh gubernatorial post that it held for eight long years, it has demonstrated sheer childishness, no political maturity. And with this, it has proved true the pundits who contend that the party moves in for a price and also moves out with a price in mind to return to a government fold.The time has indeed come that the party must understand a few things. It must know, for the first thing, that no political bastions are permanent. Those are as transient as are the political reputes and popularities. This is a universal worldwide phenomenon. Instances abound of political parties being trounced in their long-held strongholds, even humiliatingly. And if the MQM thinks that Karachi has turned into its closed preserve and real estate, it is wrong. The port city is nobody’s exclusive property. It is the nation’s most cosmopolitan urban centre, fully representative of its polity in all its varied colours, contents and contours. And as a living, bustling and rising metropolis, it is constantly changing in every manner, including demographically. And it is in the fitness of things that the MQM too must change in response to those changes and not expect the city to change instead in accordance with its whims and caprices. That is its vain hope as changes in urban centres follow their own dynamics as do the transformations in polities and communities. They can neither be guided nor banked; not even can those be managed or specifically directed. They have their own genesis and follow their own natural courses. Karachi is now so set; and the transformations occurring in it are transmuting into new realities with concomitant consequences spreading all around. It now is not a city it was, say, just a decade ago. It is a much demographically, even politically, altered place in which MQM cannot hope to maintain a monopolistic hold on it as in the yore. Other political forces too have become quite decisive and assertive in the city’s political and civic life. And the MQM must better come to terms with this objective reality as much for its own political health as for the sound health of the port city. For the party, the politics of bullying and blackmail to wrench out concessions, gains and advantages to build up its political supremacy in the port city wouldn’t do now. The emergent new realities would not permit such artificial contrivances; indeed, such contrived engineering works cannot even hold in the new conditions.The ruling PPP too must understand that the electorate had not voted it into office for alliance-making or pursuing some survival concoction going by the deceptive name of reconciliation. The electorate had put it there to administer and govern, on which scale it has fared very poorly over these past three traumatic years. The reaming two years of its term too it should not squander away like that. It has had enough of its reconciliation potion, to the people’s utter disgust. Now it must give them a break and show them a bit of governance. Their conditions are very dismal and they have lost all hope. A hope it must give them now, for a change. It must let MQM to stew in its juice now and get on earnestly with the urgent onerous task of administering the state and delivering the masses their basic needs and wants. It can easily afford it. With ANP and PML (Q) as its allies in the federal government, it needs no more fat to rule. And with a comfortable majority in the Sindh Assembly, it can easily do without the MQM in the Sindh government. Furthermore, it must put interior minister Rehman Malik to the task he is in the federal cabinet for. The taxpayer doesn’t pay up fat bill on his upkeep to be a charmer of the MQM but to be a shooter of criminals and terrorists. The PPP high command must know this.
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