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Home > News > Columnists > Mohammad Shehzad

Karachi burns, India gains

May 22, 2007

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The gory massacre of innocent people in Karachi on May 12 discredits many myths: like the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; the citadel of Islam; a democratic country where the media is free, etc, that the clerics, ruling elite and military dictatorship have been boasting about ever since the creation of this 'unfortunate' country, 'the-less-than-half Pakistan' of our times.

The 'citadel of Islam' could not protect the life and property of the people of Karachi on May 12. More than 46 people were killed and 300 wounded in the clashes between supporters of the government-backed Muttahida Qaumi Movement and those of sacked Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was supposed to address a rally in the port city that day.

The office of Aaj TV was fired at continuously for more than six hours. More than a dozen vehicles parked in its compound were torched. Despite repeated SOS calls, nobody came to help. The 'democratic country, where the media is free' was punishing the channel for its live coverage of the killing spree by 'miscreants' on May 12.

The Karachi carnage of May 12 instantly reminded me of the Indian feature film Dev -´┐Ż which exposed how Indian politicians mastermind communal riots and use State resources to massacre innocent citizens. The movie showed Hindu zealots killing innocent Muslims in the presence of law enforcement agencies.

Karachi was handed over to Muslim bigots on May 12 in the same way by 16,000 law enforcement personnel.

But Indian society is lucky. It enjoys the freedom to raise the sensitive issues through entertainment and other media. A movie like Dev is absolutely impossible in Pakistan, because the 'national interests' does not permit us to initiate any debate on any critical issue. Aaj TV was punished for producing a 'mini-Dev.' Obviously, it was not in the national interest.

Musharraf and his allies (MQM and the 'clowns' in the Q-League) think they are the biggest beneficiaries of the Karachi carnage. Musharraf has declared the Karachi carnage 'a clear demonstration of support' for him and his policies.

Regrettably, he is wrong. The biggest beneficiary is India. The Karachi carnage has deprived Pakistani leaders of their inherent right to bash India on issues like the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the riots in Gujarat and the alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. It is time for India to celebrate.

'Creative copycat' best describes the Pakistani leadership. It will make bombs because India is doing so. It will increase the defence budget because India has done so. It will be unhappy with the US for not offering it the type of nuclear deal that Uncle Sam has signed with India. So, parity with India is 'nationalism'.

The Karachi carnage is another feather in our leadership's cap. It has proved that it is not behind India in any respect.

The BJP, RSS, and Shiv Sena can be outperformed by the MQM alone and Narendra Modi is a midget before Altaf Hussain. Modi was refused a US visa for masterminding Gujarat, but Hussain can mastermind a 'Gujarat' while enjoying British nationality in London. This has probably made politicians like ex-cricketer Imran Khan jealous. He plans to file a case against the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK for harboring Hussain.

The Karachi carnage should be a great solace to those Indian Muslims who repented not having migrating to Pakistan when the Babri Masjid was demolished and the Gujarat carnage took place.

They will never have such repentance in future. The Karachi carnage was far worse than the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat carnage in the sense that it was a shocking incident of Muslims massacring Muslims in a country that came into being in the name of Islam, a country which can be run only by Muslims. According to Pakistan's constitution, no non-Muslim can be president or prime minister of Pakistan.

The Karachi carnage has ridiculed the two-nation theory, while vindicating another: 'everything is fair in the dirty business of politics.'

Indian Muslims can also hope for some relief against the atrocities committed against them, since the media and judiciary are independent in India.

In Pakistan, the Sindh high court has failed to take suo moto action on the Karachi carnage. No debate has been allowed in parliament on this issue. Instead of expressing sympathy with the people and tendering its resignation, the Sindh government has published a half-page ad in the Dawn newspaper (May 15) boasting of its achievement in the mines and mineral sector.

However, three office bearers of the MQM in Punjab resigned, holding their party and the Sindh government responsible for the carnage, and declaring the struggle of the Opposition parties and lawyers in support of the chief justice of Pakistan a golden chapter in the history of Pakistan.

The Karachi carnage has shocked every human being with a 'heart'. A Japanese friend who planned to host an evening of music on June 2 wants to postpone it because he feels he will not have recovered from the shock by then.

On the other hand, when Karachi had been bathed with blood, the 'rulers' were celebrating the 'victory' in Islamabad by dancing to the boisterous beat of dhols!

General Pervez Musharraf is hell-bent on being re-elected as president by the current assembly while retaining the office of army chief. For the former commando, the Karachi carnage is just another challenge. And as he told his allies at a meeting May 14, 'I'm used to challenges´┐Ż'

The eyes of the world are on Musharraf as he moves from one challenge to the next, wondering how, and whether, he will cope. But in Pakistan, there is another recurring thought. What kind of end will the general meet? Will it be the same as Generals Zia-ul Haq, Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan and Mohammad Ayub Khan? Or will there be a different ending?

Mohammad Shehzad is a freelance journalist based in Islamabad.

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