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Archive for November, 1994

Karachi’s Problems Running Out of Time

The prime (and well-publicised) priority of every elected government since 1988 has been to restore peace and normalcy in the troubled city of Karachi. While none can be accused of lack of rhetoric, both the major political parties have followed a policy of a deliberate and benign neglect in the conceiving and implementation of any plan attempting to achieve the stated aims and objectives. A suspicion arises that the powers-that-be have given up thought of governing Karachi under the present political and economic conditions, that they are waiting for a cataclysmic catarrhasis to cleanse Karachi of its aberrations. The assassination of well-reputed Editor of Takbeer Mohammad Salahuddin, has been followed by well-known social worker, Maulana Sattar Edhi, seeking refuge in London. This brings us back to memories of a possible Pucca-Kila type operation attempted in Hyderabad in 1990, a spark that might ignite a chain reaction type explosion. The problem is that this purgatory way well engulf the whole country, thus the game plan of a studied indifference while showing great concern is not only morally bankrupt but may well backfire to the detriment of (1) all such leaders who tend to support this philosophy in general and (2) to the people of Pakistan in particular.

The Army’s move to roll-back Karachi’s penchant for weapons proliferation evoked a predictable response. Gen Babar, the Interior Minister, is right when he talks about making Karachi a weapons-free city. First of all, let us acknowledge that there is no other alternative to searching for illegal weapons, very few people will hand these in voluntarily. Though inconvenienced, the general public has for the most part accepted the need for the search operations in the larger interests of their own safety and welfare as well as the integrity of the nation. On the other hand no liberal-minded minority has ever accepted any amount of restraint whatever may be the circumstances or the consequences thereof. There is an unholy alliance among all those who have a vested interest in keeping Karachi aflame, albeit for a variety of reasons alien to each other. For example, it is in the interest of criminals to foment anarchy in this crucial port city so that they can, under the garb of ethnic and sectarian violence, indulge in dacoity, car snatching and kidnapping, drug smuggling, etc. It is understandable (though not acceptable) that ethnic and sectarian leaders want to keep the pot boiling because that is the one sure way of keeping their followers within the flock, it is the perception of a lack of serious intent of the Federal and Provincial Government that is of major concern. Allowing a policy of controlled anarchy where the Government is morally duty bound to perform its prime role of protecting the lives and property of common citizen leads to the feeling of social, political and economic bankruptcy as long as it helps the incumbents to stay in power, it does not matter whether it be the PML (N) or PPP.

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The eternal triangle

The concept of “Troika” was born in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of late Gen Ziaul Haq in August 1988. Prior to this, Gen Zia as the COAS and the President in that order, was too powerful for the then weak PM for the power structure to be won labelled theoretically as a “diarchy”. […]

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