Editor’s Note: This article is being re-posted without any editing for the benefit of the readers. It is mentioned that since May 12, 2007 this day is being observed as Black-day in Karachi.
By Raja G Mujtaba
The rally of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry on 5th of May unnerved Parvez Musharraf and his political supporters MQM and PML-Q. This rally took 27 hours to arrive at Lahore High Court, a distance of 170 miles normally travelled in about three and a half hours. It was unprecedented; the flood of the masses had lined the entire GT Road like bees on the honeycomb. Seeing this, the government panicked, if the movement was given a free hand in Karachi, the government would have crumbled, MQM’s myth of invincibility in Karachi would have been shattered, PML-Q would have shattered, General Parvez Musharraf would have been looking for some safe heavens, now what options did the government have? Pay any price but do not let the procession take to the road was the bottom line message.
MQM barricaded the city of Karachi, staged their own rally there, PML-Q staged a counter rally in Islamabad, Parvez Musharraf was presented a fake crowd by the organisers like they have been doing it elsewhere in the country. Islamabad rally was filled by paid people, grade ten and below staff of the government, musicians, dancing horses and a strong contingent of the various agencies in civilian clothes.
When the Chief Justice arrived in Karachi, he was again being pushed in the government helicopter standing on the tarmac, government functionaries present there have been reported were again rough and rude to Mr Iftikhar Chaudry, his legal council accompanying him did not allow him to be frisked away for doubting the governments intentions. Chief Justice sat at the airport lounge all day long, like a hostage, outside on the streets of Karachi, bullets were flying, bodies were falling, vehicles parked on the road as the blockade strategy were burning, huge columns of smoke were rising.
Police and the Rangers were not to be seen, the Chief Minister was not available it was only MQM and their governor Dr Ishrat Abad who were commenting on the situation. They were trying to shift the entire blame on Chief Justice and his supporters; not mentioning that it was MQM that had again barricaded the Sindh High Court, from there Barrister Tammy Haq showed it to the media men the way MQM had taken picketed the court premises. People saw it in the full glare of the TV cameras and yet MQM was not prepared to accept the reality.
Altaf Hussain, MQM chief addressed their rally from London over the phone, his tone and style was that of a mafia king from Latin America or the Italian Red Brigade issuing warnings to the Chief Justice, opposition parties were threatened of dire consequences. MQM could not swallow that party from up north or even Peoples Party had the right to any political activity in Karachi.
In Islamabad, PML-Q with its Chaudries was trying to stage their power, surprisingly the PML-Q secretary general nor the information minister were not to address. It was a strange contrast to what was happening in Karachi, where on mothers day, bodies were falling, electronic media was showing all this live on the small screen, a scene of a young man, seemingly a Pathan taking shelter in a bus whose chest was full of bullet wounds and a grazing wound on his neck was so demoralising and spoke of the pathetic condition of the people there. It is amazing and shameful on the part of all those who were trying to boast, beat drums, and make the horses dance in jubilation only to project their myopic political vision. They behaved as if those who were falling in Karachi were not the sons of Pakistan but of some enemy land.
The repercussions of this short sightedness, lack of political sagacity or statesmanship would be very destructive and far reaching. It has clearly shown that parties in power have no love, feeling or any concern for the country but for their power. Parvez Musharraf makes no bones in hiding his words, in his interview with Talat Hussain over Aaj TV he was very emphatic that he would never allow the moderate forces to be defeated, thereby meaning that he would never vacate the office of the President and may also retain the uniform even beyond 2007. What are the extremist forces; he has no definition for that. Talat Hussain braved the constant rain of bullets for over four hours, all his pleas over the TV fell on deaf ears, and no one came to his rescue or others in the office.
Let it be mentioned here that Islam has no extremists, either they are good proper practicing Muslims who follow the Quran and the Sunnah or they are bad Muslims like the enlightened moderators who are westernised in their complete way of life and some could be hypocrites and still some may have crossed over into kuffar.
President, who is symbol of the federation, has become the agent of polarisation. He is actively defending and campaigning for PML-Q and MQM. He has defended all their actions of 12th May. He never condemned or even regretted over the brutal acts that caused loss of over forty people. If this is the sagacity or political acumen of a person occupying the President’s office then what to talk of those who fall below in the hierarchy. All sane minds are of the opinion that the government held at Karachi and Islamabad could have been held on some other day but on 12th of May they should have ensured law and order in Karachi. Instead, speaking at the Islamabad rally organised by PML-Q, Parvez Musharraf boasted of his strength in Karachi where the bodies were falling on the mothers’ day. This surely adversely reflected on his statesmanship, level of tolerance and freedom of political activity by the opposition parties. Had he any feelings for the dead and the fire that had engulfed Karachi, he should have called of the Islamabad rally or at least refrained from addressing it. His addressing of a rally of any political rally never went with the function of his office. Here I would mention Fazal Elahi Chaudry, President of Pakistan in Bhutto era was a very weak President but he never addressed any political rally of Peoples Party and maintained a visible sanctity of his office.
The masses are openly talking that the PML-Q and MQM rallies were a clear message to all, that either they accept them all back in power or lose Pakistan through a joint action of PML-Q and MQM with Parvez Musharraf in support. It is high time some better sense prevails in all the political parties and work out a strategy to bring normalcy to the country.
Today Pakistan is void of any statesman or a visionary in its true sense, but we have lot of street boys and playboys, who can only create ugly street situations or some immoral colourful evenings. All these activities are being promoted in the society in the name of enlightened moderation, brothels are springing up in all neighbourhoods, liquor sale and consumption is very open, Islamic ideology is a thing of the past; a devout follower of Mustafa Kamal Pasha is on the march.
Pakistan’s salvation lies in its Islamic ideology supported by free and independent judiciary with an equally independent and a responsible media. Any deviation from its ideology would shake the foundations of the country to its hilt, can we afford that?