In the universal definition of a failed state, one of the important properties that comprise a failed state is that the political parties in that particular country will have their own militant wings. Keeping this property in mind the domestic political dynamics of Pakistan right after 9/11 attacks were no different.
Karachi: The city of lights
We have seen Karachi, the city of lights burn as the political rivalry between various racial oriented political parties sparked flames and started a blood-soaked civil war. With illegal weapons roaming inside the city, mafias and gangsters with the backing of provincial government, drug business, organized crime and target assassinations being part of daily life.
Altaf Hussain was the founder of MQM a Muhajir nationalist political party from urban Sindh. He has been accused of mass target killing and assassination of his political rivals and police officials. MQM has been accused of having links to many assassinations in Karachi, to the extent that there have been multiple target killers arrested by the government officials that confess their political affiliation with MQM, like the video leak of Saulat Mirza.
MQM linked with India
In 2015 a BBC news report reported MQM of even having links with the Indian intelligence agency RAW. The report talked about the alleged funding of MQM from India and the training camps of MQM’s target killers in India, Thailand and South Africa.
We should also keep in mind that in a video call address from London, Altaf Hussain raised anti-Pakistan slogans which were responded with acknowledgment from his supporters in Karachi, this tells us what sentiments MQM has for Pakistan and what their ultimate agenda really is.
In Karachi there is a long standing political and racial revelry between ANP representing Pashtun nationalists, PPP representing rural Sindhis and MQM representing Muhajirs. The gang war in the city became so furious and bloody that it was not less than an Italian vendetta tearing up the social fabrics of the society.
If a Pashtun was killed for any reason, whether he was politically affiliated with ANP or not, it was prerequisite that ANP would claim the dead as their member and just like in an Italian vendetta the militant wing of ANP would assassinate a Muhajir or Sindhi in the streets of Karachi and a corresponding reaction would take place from the rivalry party and it goes on for years to come.
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Pakistan People’s Party
Although in mainstream media Pakistan’s third largest political party, the Pakistan People’s Party is seen as somewhat liberal and secular political ideology. Yet it is as much involved in murder, assassination and organized crime as any failed State’s political party. During the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, People’s Party’s Murtaza and Shahnawaz Bhutto formed a militant organization to take the revenge of their father’s judicial killing, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
This militant organization was called the “Al-Zulfiqar” supported by Colonial Gaddafi of Libya, India and the Afghan government. The main objective of Al-Zulfiqar was to assassinate president Zia and take down the military regime but judging from the organization’s terrorist activities, it was purely an anti-Pakistan terrorist group that was responsible for killing of innocent civilians.
Uzair Baloch affiliated with PPP
Not so long ago gang leader Uzair Baloch from Lyari, Karachi was arrested by Sindh rangers. In the recent JIT report of Uzair Baloch it was proven that Uzair Baloch and many other gang leaders were indeed affiliated with PPP and the criminal activities that these gangs carried out were under full supervision of the government officials. The JIT also declared the Baldia fire incident as a terror incident.
It also talked about Lyari gangs involved in kidnapping for ransom and other criminal activities. There is also photographic evidence of PPP leaders standing with Uzair Baloch in PPP’s political rallies and events. In short Uzair Baloch was essentially a boogeyman of PPP and his main job was to carry out the dirty work for these political parties.
A ‘Naya’ Pakistan?
Today however Pakistan is a much better place than it used to be in the past. Pakistan was on the brink of being declared as a failed state. The security situation in Karachi is stable and the violence has comparatively decreased with time. Sindh rangers have done a marvelous job on maintaining the peace and hopefully law and order will prevail over violence and crime.
According to the statistics the crime rate has lowered drastically and the civil organs of the provincial government are ready to function in those areas which were previously considered as no-go areas. Let us hope the situation stays as it is because the ultimate beneficiary of peace are the people of Karachi.
The writer is a masters student from the Mass Communication department of National University of Modern Languages Islamabad campus who often writes on international developments and has a particular focus on Af-Pak affairs. He tweets: @THEGUERRILLApk The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.