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Karachi Killings

  • Date Submitted: 10/23/2011 12:44 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 59.5 
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The battle of Karachi
The unipolar world was out of plumb. Mercifully, it is regaining balance. Now, when America sneezes the rest of the world was is not likely to catch a cold. Barely averting default, the only consolation that the US can hope for is that it takes the euro down with it. Too bad, the Brits, the chronic balancers of power, will once again be gleefully watching from the bank. Too bad, that the metaphor remains relevant to Pakistan “when Karachi convulses, the upcountry gasps for breath”.
The megacity has many attributes a microcosm of Pakistan foreigner-friendly, the largest Pashtun city in the meantime once the most favourite staging post for all airlines and much else. But it has a big chink in its armour it can be paralysed by a single call by the MQM. Even Edhi, the ultimate humanitarian, with that clout would cause discomfort to his detractors. A political party can use this ability to dictate terms, also to its allies.

No wonder there were so many attempts to dilute MQM’s predominance in Karachi. Two of them were serious. In 1992, when the party was part of the ruling alliance both at the centre and in the province, an army-backed drive was mounted against its command and control echelons. It was aborted on the orders of the president (and the Commander-in-Chief), Ghulam Ishaq Khan. A great balancer of power in his own right, he didn’t like the scales tilting too heavily in the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) favour. In 1996, the latter now in power, launched an ‘intelligence’ operation to cut its nemesis to size. This also fizzled out when the government was dismissed by its own president (and the C-in-C) later in the year.

This time around it is more complex. For one thing, the large influxes of Pashtuns in the city have helped the Awami National Party (ANP) tottering on its home ground field itself as the third political pole. With assorted groups of various sectarian and ideological hues who have emerged all over the country and...

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