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اتوار، 20 جنوری، 2013

Save Karachi from ‘Talibanisation’

Spokesman of TTP Muhammad Afridi also stated that it has set up a new 'revenge wing' to carry out such attacks, particularly on ANP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Earlier TTP has threatened to target more than 20 Journalists and anchors of TV channels.

Manzar Imam, an MQM MPA, was killed in brutal
firing along with his three guards in Karachi the other day. The MPA had been on the hit list of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), having received threats from them. However, after his assassination, none other than the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the killing. The shooting down of an MPA, and that too from the MQM, brought Karachi and the other main cities of Sindh to a standstill. All business, schools, public transport were closed down. In the aftermath of the incident, 25 people have so far been killed in Karachi. Cynics would say this is not something unusual for the city. Targeted killing is a routine thing and any high profile criminal activity provides an additional cover to bathe Karachi in blood. So far the civil administration has failed in restoring law and order, and now with the emergence of the new phenomenon of urban terrorism, Karachi with its potential to flare up at the slightest spark, can be well imagined snowballing into unprecedented chaos in future.

Unless a concerted effort to create a centralised mechanism to combat the terrorists is created at the local, provincial and federal level, encompassing all the security and intelligence agencies, nothing worth the name can be achieved to defeat, what has now become, a common enemy of all the political parties. Shutting down businesses, igniting buses and setting property on fire would only serve the purposes of the terrorists. Rather it would strengthen their cause of destabilising the country, especially its economic hub. Better sense dictates that the political parties, whatever their other differences, create order and a sense of responsibly in their own ranks. It is encouraging that the leader of ANP, Asfandyar Wali, the party considered the archrival of MQM in Karachi, telephoned Altaf Hussain to condole the death of the MPA and they both resolved to fight terrorism together. It is this convergence amongst the political forces that could help defeat the terrorists’ designs. If Qadri can draw the politicians of all shades into the common purpose of saving democracy, why cannot terrorism, which is sparing no one? Only a month ago, ANP suffered the loss of Bashir Bilour, killed in a terrorist attack. Pakistan’s survival depends largely on this unity. Otherwise there is no other way to get out of the grip of this enemy, who is not only well entrenched but dispersed through out the country.

The Pakistan army has been asking the politicians to forge a consensus in this regard since long. The political resolve to combat this enemy is necessary to solidify the necessary public opinion that would give the army support to take up the onerous task against the enemies of the country. This solidarity would in fact expose if there still exists a soft corner within sections of the army, security forces and intelligence agencies in favour of the terrorists, as has been alleged from time to time. A great deal therefore depends on the politicians. Their unity could prod the military, security forces and intelligence agencies to clear up the mess with responsibility since this is the duty the times we live in have thrust upon them and all of us. Pakistan is passing through a period of hope and trepidation. The hope however seems to be taking a leap forward. The trepidation part is all about further galvanization, above personal and party interest. Pakistan needs to restore its economy that has lost balance as a result of lawlessness spread through the length and breadth of the country. This is our collective responsibility, and we can only prove equal to the task through owning the singular purpose of saving Pakistan.

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