Home Global Village Karachi’s politics in spotlight as claimants trade gibes

Karachi’s politics in spotlight as claimants trade gibes

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News Analysis |

The political parties of Sindh and especially its capital city, Karachi are now trading barbs over the spree of violence, the city witnessed in recent years, with Pakistan Peoples Party and Bahadurabad faction of Muttahida Qaumi Movement accusing each other of having done nothing for the public.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, hit out at Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Sunday and blamed it for ruining the city. Bilawal, whose party remained in a coalition government with Muttahida Qaumi Movement after 2008 elections, expressed that MQM was imposed on Karachi like a mafia which did nothing for the problems faced by the masses.

Bilawal went a mile more and expressed that his party never managed the city through sector commanders, in a veiled reference to MQM’s traditional way of maneuvering local politics. The 29-year-old leader also negated Wasim Akhter’s allegations of having no funds for Karachi’s development., Karachi’s Mayor, over the lack of funds.

The Pak Sarzameen Party led by former MQM leader, Mustafa Kamal, is also gaining ground in the city. Karachi sends 20 legislators to the National Assembly and there are four main players in the power equation of the city.

The commentary of Bilawal riled the Bahadurabad faction of MQM, with Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui accusing Pakistan Peoples Party of providing coffins to the public instead of ‘roti, Kapra or Makaan’. Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Siddiqui expressed that PPP had done nothing but spread hatred and violence in the megapolis.

The Sector Commander taunt of Bilawal was retaliated by Siddiqui who wondered whether the party could stage a rally in Lyari, instead of Liaquatabad- the bastion of MQM, with a special reference to Lyari gang wars.

Siddiqui not only lashed out at Bilawal for having secured the party position through dynastic politics but also used Muhajir card as he claimed that Karachi witnessed progress and development under their rule.

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Siddiqui further claimed that PPP was working against the Urdu language by presenting an anti-Urdu bill. Urging Farooq Sattar, Chairman PIB group of MQM, to join hands for reclaiming the city, Siddiqui announced to stage a power show in Liaquatabad on May 5th.

Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city, has been a center of political activities for decades with multiple groups engaging in violence sporadically. Once the capital city of the country, the port city is now the capital city of Sindh province only, however, its importance in political corridors has not lessened.

The Sector Commander taunt of Bilawal was retaliated by Siddiqui who wondered whether the party could stage a rally in Lyari, instead of Liaquatabad- the bastion of MQM, with a special reference to Lyari gang wars.

The city was ruled over with an iron fist by MQM from 2007 to 2013, before the start of Karachi Operation. The city has seen a widespread violence owing to the presence of multiple political parties, militant groups and ethnic minorities. The most noticeable incident of violence in the city broke out on May 12, 2007, when then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was scheduled to arrive in the city.

Over 34 people were left dead in the skirmishes that continued throughout the day as the Chief Justice was not allowed to address lawyers. The recent Karachi operation launched by Rangers helped restore the law and order situation in the city, with new political parties emerging on the ground.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which was having representatives in the city but no considerable vote bank made an entry into the electoral politics in recent times through the NA-246 bye-elections. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Imran Ismail bagged 24,821 votes, although he lost to Kunwar Naveed Jamil of MQM who secured 95,644 votes in 2015.

Read more: Karachi Port Authority start fishing out the fallen containers

The recent swell in popularity of the party has also shaken Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who kept referring to Imran Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman, in his speech and expressed that he would not allow him, become another Altaf Hussain.

Although PTI has not announced a power show in the city, however, it is highly expected that the party would flex muscles in the metropolis very soon, an indication of which was given by Aamir Liaquat through a tweet.

The Pak Sarzameen Party led by former MQM leader, Mustafa Kamal, is also gaining ground in the city. Karachi sends 20 legislators to the National Assembly and there are four main players in the power equation of the city.

Siddiqui not only lashed out at Bilawal for having secured the party position through dynastic politics but also used Muhajir card as he claimed that Karachi witnessed progress and development under their rule.

Pakistan Peoples Party has a stronghold in the city and the Sindh province. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is politically a neophyte for the city though it has the ability to surprise rivals by induction of bigwigs in days to come. Pak Sarzameen Party, after having inducted scores of former MQM members cannot be ignored in the upcoming elections.

Read more: Karachites upset as Do Darya to close down

The weakest political force comes out to be MQM, partly because it has been bifurcated into two factions after the anti-Pakistan speech of Altaf Hussain and partly due to the diminishing influence of the party owing to Karachi operation, which confined its sector commanders to their homes.

The results of upcoming elections, at least to the extent of Karachi can be pleasantly surprising, keeping the ‘liberty to vote’ factor in mind.


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