Panama, MQM obvious issues, but Karachi problem too sensitive


Salahuddin Haider

WHILE Panama leak and the ongoing rivalries between Mustafa Kamal and MQM continue to be, and will perhaps remain hot issues for a considerable length of time, attention simultaneously cannot be shifted from the Karachi problem. Persistent neglect of Pakistan’s economic lifeline by the PPP administration for 8 long years, has again reverted the port city at least 50 years back.
Parks and playgrounds are fast disappearing. Land mafia is active as ever, and with that the builders too have been sniffing around for empty plots and start erecting high-rises without realizing that utilities like electricity, water and sewerage, come under pressures, health and hygiene pose new threats to human beings.
Their lust for money is not new, but ABAD, the Association for Builders and Developers, instead of being a helping hand to the government, has been more of an umbrella for such criminal activities, which is really unfortunate.
Governor Ishratul Ebad, with patronage from the then President General Musharraf, and assisted by an untiring city Nazim Mustafa Kamal, earned a well-deserved credit for turning the Clifton sand dunes into a lovely park, rated as real world class, easily comparable to any such high mark facility in London or Germany.
The Bin Qasim park, spread over a vast area, was a jewel presentation from the two MQM activists——indeed a genuine place for rest and recreation for families from far and near, but that very park now is presenting a pathetic sight now. Lush green grass, well laid out pathways, a natural treatment for eye sores, has been turning browner, grass is disappearing. KMC”s park and playground directorate is to be taken to task. The KMC director, parks and playgrounds then too was a lazy figure, a hindrance for positive mindset, but the Governor’s constant vigil, frustrated all his attempt in being a hurdle in its completion.
The second, or perhaps the most important purpose behind the Governor’s initiative was to save the huge Clifton site from being usurped by the land mafia, which included some top class VIPs(names not necessary here).
The in capacitated PPP government in Sindh, not only sat over sensitive issues like the K-4 water supply project for 8 years after Mustafa Kamal left Mayor’s office in 2010, but refused to release funds for a city that has started to turn itself into a real class world cities.
Litter is a small word. Garbage and heaps of it, are now spreading rat smell all over. Principles of health and hygiene are ignored wittingly or unwittingly. The local bodies minister remains unaware and unwilling to pay attention to the seat of Sindh government. Only one man rose to the occasion, Nasir Shah, a former Mayor of Sukkur, who as local biodies minister tried to do something to improve the facilities for the Karachiites, but his efforts ran counter to the interest of those at the helm, and he had to abandon office as the minister incharge of the urban development.
The chief minister can take shelter behind the excuse of water scarcity, and so would the KMC director for parks and playgrounds, but provision of water facilities, plans for which were readied under Mustafa Kamal in 2007, were swept under the carpet by the chief executive of the province, obviously under influence of the top brass of the PPP, whose main members are more interested in building shopping plazas, caring little for 9000 members of a private club in Karachi. Lust and greed thy name is administration now. Sad story, but proved fact.
As for Panama leaks, Nawaz Sharif is back from his medical check-up in London, to quash rumours of having fled from facing reality. Controversies or conspiracy theories have subsided, but to believe that the storm is over, will be sheer stupidity.
The Panama leaks is low a global issue, and attempt to escape from it, will be mere exercise in futility. Opposition parties have continued to organize themselves into a unanimous parliamentary group. True, the Senate chairman Raza Rabbani has apologized from heading a probe commission into accumulation of unaccounted wealth, but PPP and all other major parties are still trying to activate a judicial commission under the supreme court chief justice. Alternatively, they may opt for a parliamentary enquiry committee to determine the truth into allegations that have already seen quite a few high profile resignations in parts of the world. The prime minister, in all seriousness, and for his safety and reputation, must bow before the bar of public opinion, which looks clearly agitated.
Coming to MQM, division within its ranks are now clearly visible. Mustafa Kamal, heading the Pakistan Sarzameen party, has won the first round. He has succeeded in denting his former party. During interviews with three of his close associates, Anis QaimKhani, Raza Haroon, and advocate Anees Ahmad on a private TV channel, he looked smashing and clear-headed. Never wobbled, never stammered, was quick, prompt and straight forward in his replies to one of the most revered present day anchors. Salim Saafi is clean, poses searching questions, tries to unearth the truth. He too was outsmarted by Mustafa Kamal.
On its part, MQM, aur Nadeem Nusrat in a live broadcast did try to ceal the doubts, but never really appeared convincing in his replies. His concentration was more on biased treatment to Muhajirs or Urdu speaking followers of his party. But chages of confessions before the Scotlandyard about involvement with RAW affairs by top echelons of MQM in London, have remained unanswered so far.
It must however be said without any fear or favour that expecting MQM to vanish, will be mere dream—an illusion and nothing else. Dents have hit the party. But Mustafa Kamal may draw Mohajir intellectuals to his side. It may take time, and he does not seem to be in hurry.
Difference of opinion among readers can be anticipated well in advance. For those disagreeing with the script are free to call it “ mere gossips”, but those interested in analyzing the currents and cross current, would surely treat this as serious in nature. Judgement is left to them—gossip or serious study.

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