Discrimination with Karachi causing consternation

Salahuddin Haider

THE MQM convener, Nadeem Nusrat has pointed to chain of events that reflects an impression that Karachi was being subjected to discrimination. Attention to this effect was drawn by him soon after order were passed by the Sindh Chief Minister to extend the stay of Rangers in Sindh for one year, but permission to carry out operation was confined to Karachi city alone.
Not only did it lead to anxiety in those living in the port city, but even the federal government was taken aback. Interior Minister Chaudhri Nisar’s reaction is too obvious to ignore. His statement showed that the federal government is annoyed over the unilateral action from the provincial government.
However the federal government has the power to review the orders of the provincial governments, Rangers or the Para-military force being under its command. The provincial government has to send summary to Islamabad for approval, and from there a notification is issued which is then implemented. In this case, such a practice was conveniently overlooked. Whether the federal government takes further notice of the over-enthusiasm of the Sindh government, remains to be seen.
Some kind of half-baked justification was attempted late on Monday night by the Sindh advisor of information Maula Bux Chandio, but it lacked conviction. Mere lip service and a statement aimed at pleasing the chief minister will not do. Nothing positive will come out of it.
Rangers have done reasonably good job in Karachi, restored peace, and has stopped unnecessary strikes, agitations etc, but at times their actions instills a sense of dissatisfaction among the people. They seem to go sometime for “overkill” which, when viewed in totality, given the feeling of a chill among people.
It also means that the operation is not even handed. It is aimed at one particular group or party, which when seen in historical perspective will have a recoiling effect. That will be bad. Better it should be pre-empted, through precautions, to avoid illogical consequences flowing from it. Fears have been lurking for some time that Rangers, if not at the top leadership, at the lower levels, get carried away in their moves to catch anti-socials or criminals, and are often accused of being inhuman.
Karachi has been suffering from far too many problems. Water shortage is assuming horrendous proportions. May areas in Karachi for days go without water even for ablution. Rangers being trained professionally, should divert its attention to social needs of the people also, like the army has been doing in natural disasters, in rehabilitation of IDPs or in flash floods to rescue people from affected areas.
The Para military force, too is under army command, and their officers are well trained to do the job for helping the people. They must instruct their men to look for human needs of the people. Mere Combating crime, without simultaneous help for the needy, may lose affects or the purpose it is designed to achieve.
The federal government, must quickly issue order to extend the extension order for the Rangers to remain in Karachi for another year, and enjoy policing powers for 90 days, to entire province so that the feeling of arbitrariness or high handedness is removed before it begins to vitiate the atmosphere.
Let it not be forgotten that criminals are there in Karachi, in different garbs or different ethnicities, but they also converge in the city from different provinces, like from the interior of Sindh and Balochistan, or for that matter even from Punjab. They commit the crime here, and then escape to their original areas, where they are shielded by the powerful people. The jagirdar or Punjab, sardar or Balochistan or Wadera from Sindh will not like his own interest to be jeopardized. Hence the opposition, and general outcray to confine the Karachi operation to mere the port city.

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