Karachi—The strike call from Muttehaa Qoumi Movement to protest against the Rangers siege around the house of its leader Farooq Sattar, went unheeded as city remained normal, transport plied as usual, and shops, petrol pumps, remained open on Wednesday.
Such a response from a city which was firmly in the grip of the Sindh Urban-based party, brought to fore a debate whether MQM had really lost its last weapon to shut business which it had used with remarkable authority in the past.
Perhaps the wee hours warning Wednesday from the chief of the paramilitary force Maj-Gen Bilal Akbar to traders, as well as to Muttehada to desist from closing their business, or use or force, did click.
Business, and traffic even in areas like Gulshane Iqbal, Gulistane Jauhar, Nazimabad, and localities in district West and Malir, considered the strong power-base of MQM, remained unaffected, which clearly was a setback for the Altaf party.
Some analysts held the view that picking cudgels against military was unwise. The MQM Rabita Committee has given the call for peaceful protest against the siege on the house of Dr Farooq Sattar in PIB Colony Tuesday night.
A company 30 men, and eight vehicles, plus motorcycle riders, armed with automatic weapons had surrounded the streets around Sattar’s house, demanding that a “confirmed criminal” hiding in the house, must be handed over to them. Sattar denied that no criminal had been given shelter in house as such an activity was against the philosophy of his party and his political conduct.
Around midnight after Rangers had returned from the area, the party appealed for protest strike on Wednesday, asking transporters, shop keepers and traders to close their business. But soon afterwards, a sever warning against heeding to the call was issued from the Rangers chief.
The point of view that MQM had refused to change with the time, did carry weight, because people were no more in mood to waste their time, and had begun to show their discomfort with calls for closing of businesses, or paralysing city life.