Need for sincere effort

That the gun-trotting enemies of peace have for years been ruling Karachi without any serious effort being made to restore sanity, which should prove lasting, is giving sleepless nights to the people. Karachi, once the thriving port town and commercial and business centre of Pakistan, now presents a picture of desolation, with deaths daily raining on the citizens; anyone daring to go out of the house risks being shot dead.

According to a conservative estimate, the total death toll this year alone is well over one thousand. The people are now raising questions about the wisdom of the ruling political setup to bring the culprits to book and put an end to the mayhem, especially as they are convinced that activists of their own parties are involved.

It is of no less concern that the disturbed situation serves as a fertile ground to exploit for foreign agencies interested in keeping the country in a state of chaos and uncertainty.One would have liked the leaders of different political parties, with stakes in the metropolis, to put their heads together to work out a permanent solution. Peace thus arrived at would also serve them best. But, having failed to do that they are opting to invite the military to control the situation, something they had best avoided. However, since peace is paramount for restoring normal life and revitalising the economy, the government should straightaway be calling upon the army to take charge of the city’s law and order.

Now, the MQM and PML-Q have joined other political parties – the PPP, the ANP – in demanding that the army should be called in. President Zardari, who has been authorised by the coalition partners in the Sindh government to decide upon the future course of action to meet this blood-soaked challenge, should act swiftly. Any lull in the situation cannot hide the existence of the bands of killers. Without bringing them to justice there is little likelihood of achieving lasting peace.At this critical moment one expects political leaders not to lose their cool and keep restraint while making any comment in order that things might not get worsened.

It is, therefore, surprising to hear a person of the political acumen and stature of Altaf Hussain talk of Sindhis as slaves of banias (Hindu businessmen) in the past. Similarly, his plea to the Indian leaders, that in case of discrimination against mujahirs, a term applied to Urdu-speaking migrants to Pakistan who were forced to leave their hearth and home in India under most trying circumstances at partition, to accommodate them is not only misplaced, but also raises needless alarm.

Since he is also calling for the military to intervene, and it must be stressed that the military has, undoubtedly, a national outlook, a situation of discrimination is not likely to arise. There can be no question, though, about his remark that muhajirs, have been here since then, and that they are as much citizens of this country as anyone else. – Nation