Monday, April 14, 2008

If you're going to read one Op-Ed on Karachi...

Karachi at dusk

Karachi at dusk

We've had a lot of angst, and whatnot about the events in Karachi. Please do read the piece below. Kamal is a friend, too, but he's evolved into one of the most objective observers I know in the business--anywhere. [Yes, more so than I.]

Much as it is tempting to get angry at this or that party, the events of 1973--or Palestine in 2007/8--should force us to take a step back and think. And think not even the cycnical 'Who benefits from this turmoil?' that we've all come to do every time something happens in our country, but think 'Who loses from, as Kamal calls it, the "crippling [of Pakistan's] commercial capital?" no matter how justified one's personal outrage. Wasn't it the same people now crying out about the events of April 9 also the ones that expressed outrage and being boggled by the outrage and unrest at Benazir's assasination?

Often nations like ours cry out for a Mandela. But is it too much to ask for each of us to try and reach for Madiba's way of trying to heal a society that is fractured and at war with itself?
The Empire strikes back — again
[The writer is editor reporting, The News]

Once again Karachi is in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. The manner in which unidentified persons created havoc on April 9 within hours of a scuffle at the City Courts speaks of a conspiracy to undermine the writ of the state. As usual, the state was caught napping.

The events of April 9 need to be examined further, not swept under the carpet. Men in civilian clothes appeared on the streets and directed the burning of cars and initiating random incidents of firing. Nearly ten people have died so far as a result of the incidents that took place that day.

The police and Rangers, charged with law and order, were nowhere to be seen. This has become the routine in Karachi. Equally routine is the fact that no one is taken to task. Once the trouble dies down, it’s business as usual. And as present indications show, the new government is following the same strategy.

This is true not just of Karachi or Sindh. In the past couple of days, several incidents have taken place all over Pakistan, which indicate that the foundations of the Gilani government are being shaken. The attack on Arbab Ghulam Rahim may have been the work of a disgruntled PPP worker, but the attack on Dr Sher Afgan was most probably the work of a “higher” body. The violence in Karachi and the incidents that surrounded this were also the work of an organised network intent on crippling the country’s commercial capital for reasons best known to it.
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Cross-posted on the iFaqeer,, Pak Tea House, Doodpatti, by Tohfay blogs.
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