A state of protests

It is hard for the analysts to predict the political moves of Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Perhaps the consistency is a word unknown to the leaders of the party. (MQM) has been taking sudden turns, left and right, speeding up and slowing down, leaving passengers clueless about what they should expect next and gasping for some sort of stability or consistency.

Some times MQM tilts itself on side of the status quo parties and on the very next day blaming the incumbent government for all the ills society is facing. On the one sides statements in the favour of the sit-ins of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek have been passed and on the other Chief of MQM asked the protesting parties to end the protests. Is it really a difference of opinion in the quarters of MQM or the Chief is directing the confusion, or is it the way MQM deals with the nature of the game of politics. Rangers on Wednesday evening raided a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) office on Abul Hassan Ispahani road and detained dozens of workers. MQM MPA Faisal Sabzwari said that as many as 30 MQM workers were detained by Rangers and demanded that these activists should be released immediately. Rangers also reportedly seized records from the MQM office. Following the raid, panic set in the area as hundreds of people including women staged a sit-in at Abul Hassan Isphani Road against the raid and demanded the immediate release of activists. On the very next day, MQM has called on workers to stage sit-ins protests across Karachi against the arrest of party workers during the raid. MQM has selected 11 venues to hold demonstrations against the arrest of party workers. These include areas of Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Rizvia Society, Sharah-i-Faisal, Landhi, Numaish, Liaquatabad, Teen Talwar and Gulshan-e-Iqbal. The central protest venue is outside Chief Minister House. Elected representatives from their areas have been directed to take charge of the protests taking place in their constituencies. Altaf Hussain made the announcement of citywide protests while addressing a ‘sit-in’ held by MQM legislators and office bearers, outside Chief Minister House. He said that MQM does not want Rangers in Sindh and now a new province is a must.

The party’s display of selfish politics has become its trademark, making it ever more challenging to take its positions seriously. Its role throughout the current political impasse has been expectedly disappointing. Then there is the Karachi operation, something, which has always been a source of both discomfort and displeasure for the party; the two don’t always go together. Since the ‘operation’ began a year ago, the MQM has been complaining about illegal arrests and extra-judicial killings of its workers. The MQM chief, while speaking on the matter, advised the COAS General Raheel Sharif to reign in the paramilitary forces to avoid disastrous results. If the arrested workers are involved in illegal activity, present them before a court of law, provide evidence and ensure convictions. If they have been wrongly detained absent any proof or legal cover, the authorities responsible for the action must be held accountable.

It seems that political and non-political parties have chosen the path of protests to gain their political goals, democracy allows the right of peaceful demonstrations to the people but at the same time practice of protesting to put hurdles in the ways of law must be condemned. Karachi is the economic hub of the country, damaging day to day routine of the city would be an economic disaster, but it seems politicians are keener to safeguard their political advantages than economic prosperity of the country.

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