Monday, August 2, 2010

And the beat goes on

With the widespread tragedy unfolding in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Northern Balochistan, one would think that across the country people would be mobilizing to collect and distribute aid, house refugees and rebuild. And most are. But others are  bent on contributing to the human tragedy. Just as the official death toll rises from 360 people to 900 people to 1,200 people where it currently stands, the public assassination of MQM Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Raza Haider has left ethnic tensions running high in Karachi. According to the most recent reports,within two hours of the assassination, widespread rioting began resulting in the burning of over forty vehicles, with an estimated fourteen dead and a hundred injured.  There are no signs of this violence abating and more is on its way. According to Babar Ghauri, a senior MQM figure "if the municipal, provincial and national government does not react to this appropriately then we will be unable to control our party members."

So more people are going to die because members of the MQM are prone to behave like overly emotional two year olds in contrast to mature adults that they consider themselves to be. In my opinion, both the ANP and the MQM need to realize that political tension between them has life altering consequences for the rest of us who couldn't care less about their feud. People die because they are unable to reconcile their political differences, because they are bent on vengeance. Both parties may address valid social and political concerns of their respective ethnic groups, but the level of violence precipitated by these two groups effectively delegitimizes these concerns. I'm not alone in saying that Karachi would be a far better place if these groups did not exist.

In addition to inflamed ethnic tensions, there have been some indications that the assassination of Raza Haider, a prominent Shiite politician bear the hallmarks of a Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP)/ Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) attack.  Considering that Sipah-e-Sahaba has made a comeback in Karachi especially with the targeted attack on a Shiite religious procession last year and have connected with Taliban movements across Pakistan, this is very likely. This issue has been raised by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, though it is possible that both SSP and LeJ are being used as scapegoats since the federal government might be unwilling to take sides in this contentious issue because it depends on MQM support.

To sum up, we don't know who killed MQM MPA Raza Haider, was it ANP or the super sectarian duo SSP-LeJ? Not that it makes any difference. The MQM is already behaving in a manner that suggest that it blames the ANP. Member of MQM Coordination Committee Wasey Jalil in an interview with Express Tribune stated that

the MQM is hundred per cent sure that Shahi Sayed and the ANP are behind the ongoing target killing incidents and killing of Raza Haider.

With the MQM in full vengeance mode, who need a judicial inquiry?