Karachi Bleeds Again: Will Sanity Prevail?

Posted on January 11, 2010
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Politics
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Adil Najam

Civil society activists in Karachi had welcomed the new year in style: with rallies for peace. This was not an act of naivety. It was an act of hope. More than that it was an act of defiance. Defiance against the reality of violence that has become our daily fate. As Karachi spirals, again, into violence. That defiance is being tested, again. Today, more than ever before, those who stand against violence, must continue to stand against violence.

Violence has, once again, gripped the metropolis with gusto. Politicians are at pains to tell us that the nature of violence in Karachi today is not the same as it has been up North. They are correct. But blood on the streets is blood on the streets. He who dies of ‘political’ violence is no less dead than he who dies of extremist terrorism. The senselessness of the one is no less senseless than the other.

In each case, it is Pakistanis who die, Pakistanis who cry.

Karachi, of course, has never been a stranger to the curse of violence.

Just over a year ago, I had started a post with a similar headline with the sentence: “Karachi used to be called ‘the city that never sleeps.’ It may as well now be called ‘the city that forever bleeds.'” But the fact is that while Karachi is a city that lives always on the edge, it had been relatively less volatile than many other parts of the country. Given its size, composition, politics and history, it is a place where violence can unravel fast and spreads faster. That is exactly what has been happening this last week.

In horror and in pain, one has watched the legendary resilience of this great city being tested yet again by the forces of violence. The news today – with all major parties in the city talking about reconciliation and restraint – gives one some cautious hope. But more than on any statement from any political party, we must invest our hopes in the ordinary citizens of this glorious city. Sanity will flow not from the political calculations of the parties, it will flow forth from the same sentiments of defiance that had brought out civil society in the city on new year’s day.

18 responses to “Karachi Bleeds Again: Will Sanity Prevail?”

  1. Mohammed Wasim says:

    Eideeman, I think the Karachi situation is different from Taliban somewhat. The ghundagardi of the MQM has held our city hostage for a long time, but now that has also triggered other political parties to become armed malitias. So, first we really need to clear the city of all arms. Also, I think the people of Karachi need to take responsibility too for following a comical leader sitting saat samandar paar and killing in his name.

  2. Nusrat says:

    As evidenced by some my previous comments on this forum, which I admire, I am not an expert on Pakistan.
    So, once again, please afford me one more naive query: Had there been no Soviet Invasion/Occupation of Afghanistan, then no Pakistani help [American backed, too] for the Afghan Mujahadeen, then no Pakistani support for Kashmiri Mujahadeen – Would Karachi [and, Pakistan] still be in the situation it’s now?
    What I am trying to find out is whether the current violence is the result of ever increasing economic disparity in Pakistan [and, India] or due to the geo-political events of the last two decades?
    Needless to say, I will be very grateful for any insight into the issue.

  3. Aquarian says:

    We should not forget that PPP is protecting Lyari gangs. Zulfiqar Mirza just ordered everyone arrested from Lyari be released. After all PPP Ministers – especially Zulfiqar Mirza are on record of talking about breaking Pakistan. And we all know how PPP destroyed property worth billions of rupees in Karachi after BB’s death.

    The other party on the other hand distributed 400 Pakistani flags after Bolton market fire on damaged building. No naara was made about breaking the country etc.

    Yaar kabhi Karachi waalon se pyar kar ke dekho. tumhen jaan se ziyada pyar deN ge.

    All we get from rest of Pakistan are accusations of unpatriotism etc even though we don’t have homes in NWFP or Punjab as back up. Hamara jeena marna isi shehr or isi mulk ke liye hai.

    gulistan ko zaroorat jab bhi pari
    sab se pehle gardan hamari kati
    phir bhi kehte hain hum se ye ahl-e-chaman
    ye chaman hai hamara tumhara nahiN

  4. Eidee Man says:

    The ATP blog and community is (rightly) quick to point out those who say they are against terrorism, but shy away from accepting that it is the Taliban and various extremist groups who are behind it.

    Why are we so hesitant to call out the MQM and Altaf Hussain when we know for a fact that the only difference between them and the extremist groups is that they do not use suicide bombers.

  5. Tahir says:

    I think the good news coming out of the bad news from Karachi is that the people of the city are no longer as willing to die for political leaders, especially those sitting comfortably miles away and asking supporters in Karachi to die for them.

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