THE establishment’s role in the ongoing Karachi’s politics is the talk of the town, with print, electronic, and social media awash with the news and analyses on the development.
While some publications and channels, including Dawn newspaper, have expressed their reservations over the security establishment’s intervention in Karachi’s politics, calling it “a form of pre-poll rigging to manipulate and undermine the democratic process”, the fact is for durable and sustainable peace in Karachi, the alliance of the two political forces—the PSP and the MQM—is inevitable.
Given the history of violence in Karachi, for which the MQM is largely to blame, political engineering of the electoral landscape of Pakistan’s economic juggernaut is the crying need of the hour. And the only force that can broker an alliance between the two political forces is none other than the security establishment, or the army.
The criticism of those opposing the army’s likely involvement in the alliance defies logic for a number of reasons. One, it’s the establishment’s constitutional obligation to ensure peace and stability both within the country and on the borders. The alliance, if brokered, would be key to the long-term security of the city in which the Rangers have done a commendable job.
Two, the so-called champions of democracy who believe that the democratic project is being weakened by the establishment’s meddling should realistically think about the dynamics of Karachi and its only urban political power—MQM—which is now divided into several factions and whose every member considers himself as a self-styled leader.
Given Karachi’s bloody past and a volatile political environment, it’s imperative that the establishment, within its constitutional framework and obligations, play its due role for the peace and security of the city in the long run. The wonderful achievements of the Rangers and other law enforcement agencies must be perpetuated by pulling the political stakeholders of the city together.
The positive role of the army in this context merits applause, not criticism.