MQM — old habits die hard

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THE MQM, which has frequently been resorting to politics of agitation and strikes, has once again opted for the battered course by holding a 4-day hunger strike in front of Karachi Press Club to press for its demand for lifting of ban on media coverage of its leader Altaf Hussain. The decision follows staging of a similar protest outside 10-Downing Street in London on the same issue.
The party is understandably feeling pain over restriction imposed by the Lahore High Court in August last year and its inability to get the verdict reversed by the judiciary is indicative of the ground realities. MQM is entitled to agitate the ban and demand for its lifting yet one would caution it not to repeat mistakes of the past when it overwhelmingly relied on shutter downs and wheel-jams inflicting immense losses to national economy and routine life in Karachi, where it enjoys clear majority and support, as demonstrated by the recent local government elections. It is time to realise that people of Pakistan are weary of politics of violence and strikes and that is why an overwhelming majority of people did not approve the strike of PIA workers, who ultimately had to call it off. Karachi too has undergone a visible change following indiscriminate and targeted operation against killers, extortionists, kidnappers and mafias. The City of Quaid is fast returning to normalcy and its inhabitants especially the business community have heaved a sigh of relief over measures taken by the Government to address security, law & order problems. This shows that entire culture of the country is undergoing a transformation and the parties that do not adjust themselves to the change would be left behind. In this backdrop, we would urge MQM leadership to review their approach and policies and instead of indulging in actions that complicate woes and problems of Karachiites, they should extend a helping hand in addressing them. MQM previously enjoyed Mayorship of the city and its nominee is again poised to assume the mantle once again. Therefore, Altaf Hussain, who is living in London for a long time, must have observed the dynamics of managing a mega city and apply those ideas in Karachi. This is what people expect of a party that has a role in politics of the country and Karachi.