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منگل، 9 اگست، 2011

What a Cruel Joke

If ever there was a worldwide competition for political gimmickry, Pakistan would win hands down. The amount of political buffoonery in this country has reached a point where you never know which decision/act/incident qualifies as the biggest filly of all. The decision of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to restore the local government system of 2001 in Karachi and Hyderabad in order to appease its on-again/off-aggain coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), is one such example of how our political parties have no qualms about making a laughingestock of this country. The MQM's blackmaling tactics know no bounds but it is not the MQM's perambulations that concern us today, it is PPP''s ineplicable decision making that is worrisome for it is the PPP that is the leading party in the ruling coalition.

What kind of a joke is the government’s this somersault in Sindh? The people stand completely flummoxed. Not that the people were any duped when the government rolled up the local government system and reincarnated the discarded commissioner mechanism in its place in the province of Sindh with one stroke. They read it, and not so incorrectly, as a politically motivated move, primarily to clip the wings of an increasingly wayward MQM and cut it down to size. The reversal of that move now is again popularly being seen as sheer politics. None on the street was impressed by the reasons trotted out by the government trumpeters when it made the first move. None will lend an ear to what they dish out now to justify its reversion in such a short span of time. It is the expediency, not any imperatives of good governance or the people’s cause, that underlines both the moves. When the government first struck, the ruling clan thought that the estrangement of the MQM had afforded it the right opportunity to garner the political gains it had been looking for in Karachi and wrench out the port city from MQM’s stranglehold. But when the MQM struck back with its time-tested method of bullying and blackmail and unleashed its strong-arms on the beleaguered city to engulf it with violence and bloodletting, the clan developed cold feet, caved in and moved in quickly to appease the troublesome party. In a midnight action, it decreed exemption of the port city from the restored commissioner system. But as this exemption drew a severe reaction from its ANP constituent as well as the Sindhi nationalists, the clan has eaten crow, rolled back yet again the commissioner system and reinstalled the old local government system in the entire province.With this, the clan may have splattered the egg all over its face. But with its foolish moves and the obscene haste in making those moves without first taking all pros and cons into account, it has unnecessarily thrown the province neatly in a pickle. As if the troubles in the beleaguered port city were not enough of it, it has stirred a hornet’s nest in the rest of the province where the nationalists and its political opponents are now out to make hay of its stupidity for their own ends. Strike calls are already going out in protest against its moves. And in all probability, that would not be the end of it. More troubles could be expected. A troublesome problem has thus been divisively created where existed none, to the province’s utter grief.More grievously, it is a cruel joke that the ruling clan has played on the residents of the port city as well as the people of the country. Both are craving impatiently for peace and tranquility in this life-giving economic hub of the nation. And as the woeful events of these times have brought out poignantly, most of the violence and bloodletting in Karachi is rooted deeply in the city’s politics. At war are various political parties, including the ruling clan’s constituents, as also confessional and religious outfits for capturing the city’s hegemony. And they almost all have the links with the underworld to back up their fight for the battle for Karachi. It is the dismantling of their fighting arms and the snapping of their ties with criminal gangs and mafias that have to come uppermost, not the appeasement of any political party or group.But the clan’s idiotic moves unmistakably suggest that it is the political expediencies, not the city’s peace and its people’s wellbeing, that are its overriding considerations. Those may perhaps benefit it, though only transiently. But the losers, for the present, are yet again the peace-loving innocent residents of Karachi and their compatriots at large, who see no end in sight to the long dark night of bloodshed enveloping the beleaguered city. And if a particular party may now be smiling, laughing into splits surely must be the underworld for the heydays it sees ahead. What a cruel joke with a hapless nation is this!
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