New trend: Slaughter of arrested Shia Muslims in Pakistan jails by ASWJ-SSP terrorists under the patronage of police, judiciary and ISI.
As I sit down to write thesewords, it’s around 1am. I am not a late night writer nor had I any plans of writing this piece. It is just one of those articles that has happened. Just like senior journalist Nusrat Javed losing his job wasn’t meant to be but it has happened.
Context: Cafe Pyala @cpyala is commonly known as among MQM propagandists along with @FiveRupees @Mirza9 @akchishti @theselongwars @tazeen @uroojzia etc
Sindh Minister, Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza in a fiery and emotional outburst on 13th December, 2010 at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry had indicated who is responsible for target killing in Karachi for the last 1 year or so. He pointed fingers at MQM as the cause of the menace facing Karachi, where extortion and ransom of businesses has reached highest possible levels. He had also mentioned that 26 target killers had been arrested and majority of those arrested belonged to a political party that rules Karachi. Off course he didn’t name the party nor the arrested killers. One can see the video of Dr. Mirza’s emotional
غیر اخلاقی بیان بازی کے بعد فائر بندی
فریقین میں تلخی اور توہین آمیز بیان بازی کا سلسلہ اس وقت شروع ہوا جب مسلم لیگ (ن) کے سربراہ نواز شریف نے مظفرآباد میں ایک خطاب میں ایم کیو ایم پر فوجی آمر کا ساتھ دینے، کراچی میں بارہ مئی کے قتل عام اور ٹارگٹ کلنگ کا الزام عائد کیا۔
During the last one and half years, the MQM’s role has been nothing less than an enigma. They are part and parcel of the power structure of the country. They have federal ministries albeit not as many as they would have liked. They have a significant share of the power in Sindh with the incumbent governor probably the longest serving governor of any province in the country. They had the city government under their control while currently majority of the administrators in various towns are backed by them. They also have enjoyed unhindered access to the President.
In the process of reconciliation started by the late MBB and continued by President Zardari, a number of efforts have been made to appease the MQM. The thinking was clear: living in the same province, PPP and MQM were natural allies! Beginning with a visit to graveyard of MQM activists, President Zardari did what MBB may not have done. The first one and half years of the coalition with the MQM was smooth but then problems began to arise with the dissolution of the Local Bodies in Sindh. Off course, MQM’s control over the urban centers is exercised through control of the local governments and the dissolution of the same became an ego issue. Along with the dissolution started a wave of crime spree that not many have been able to pin down: target killing. Who is behind these target killings is a million dollar question, but what is important is the people of Karachi and Pakistan are suffering. Killing of a few people shutters down the city. MQM can pinpoint the perpetrators as Pakhtoons backed mafias or Baloch gangsters, whereas the other parties can point that to MQM goons for the killings, but isn’t it possible that splinter groups within the MQM have been challenging the party bosses? Imran Farooq’s killing in the middle of a safe area of London and an earlier speculation that MQM may consider moving their central secretariat to Dubai can be considered harbingers of internal MQM problems.
What the MQM has been able to do very well to ensure their control and divert attention to its internal issues, it has tried to become a popular party supporting what the mindless media is trying to do. Firstly was the matter of NRO, where the MQM chief asked the President to consider giving sacrifice and then MQM’s open opposition to the RGST. On both the matters, the political actors of Pakistan nee Kamran Khan, Shaheen Sehbai, Ansar Abbasi, Shahid Masood, Tariq Butt, Saaleh Zafir, Talat Hussain et al had been praying that the MQM leaves the coalition and somehow the PPP government is shown the door. Off course, then they can always say, “We told you so!” and prove to the world that “We are king-breakers, if not king-makers”.
MQM has announced that it is resigning from its two federal cabinet positions and may decide soon on the provincial government. One thing they have said is that they will still sit on the treasury benches. The decision was probably good than bad. There was another important piece of news that was a major reprieve for the government where the IMF has extended the Standby Agreement with Pakistan for nine months. Why this is significant: RGST will not be implemented in a haphazard way, allowing the government to take all stakeholders on board. The government has been trying to use a parliamentary mean of doing the same as reported by noted business reporter, Khurram Hussain. He says that during Nawaz Sharif’s second tenure,
“In December 1998, President Rafiq Tarrar signed an ordinance raising the sales tax rate from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent. The signature came a week after the government had been handed a laundry list of upfront actions required by the IMF board to extend a new loan to Pakistan.”
And continues in the same article that in the first year of Musharraf’s rule
“In the last week of May (2000), a tax survey had begun with the aim of distributing something like a million and a half forms in 13 cities across the country. Thousands of tax officials started canvassing homes, shops, businesses, industries and even schools. Accompanied by uniformed soldiers, they went door to door demanding information on the source and quantity of income, work address, number of members of the household, utility bills, and so on. Within days the ‘documentation drive’ as it was called, sparked a countrywide strike. On June 1 (2000), the first tear gas canisters were fired. Traders had taken out a small procession of a couple of hundred people in Multan that marched in the streets and chanted slogans against taxes and military rule. Rallies were banned in those days and the police baton-charged them, tear-gassed them, and took around 50 protestors into custody.”
Are we seeing any presidential orders? Are we seeing forcible registrations accompanied by military men? How much more accommodating as well as inclusive the PPP government can get?
I think all the political actors wanted the IMF to say bye-bye to Pakistan for their inability to impose the RGST. Their hope and game plan was: if the government imposes RGST, there will be protests, there will be strikes and the economy will be crippled or if the government didn’t impose the RGST, the IMF will exit and the PPP government will fail. It was an envisaged win-win for them. What they didn’t realize was that the effort of the government to bring in reforms in tax collection as well as making the necessary public opinion through parliament will be given a lot of weight. Now the government has at least nine months to bring all stakeholders on board as well bring things in order.
In his “report” of today, Ansar Abbasi has used the words that “MQM puts Gilani government on ventilator”. I personally think it is not the government that has been put on ventilator, it’s rather the commentators, analysts and political actors who have been given a new lease of life by giving them a ventilator in times of loadshedding! Off course, now they can come on TV and talk about virtues of MQM and JUI and how they can assist the people of Pakistan by leaving this government and send it packing. 2011 will have a great beginning.
MQM decides to resign from the Federal ministries. Tonight its party night at houses of people like Kamran Khan, Shahid Masood et al; who were striving for this to happen for long.
MQM’s resigning from ministries however is a pressure ploy to see if the Government is willing to concede to its demands, that of more federal ministries & committee chairs and that of more provincial ministries, espacially that of Home minister Sindh. Which can be so decisive in the local bodies elections
MQM is specifically an agencies’ party, and this may be a sign of things to come. This resignation from cabinet may mark that all is not well for PPP led government, as far as agencies’ plan go. This hardly is a secret however.
The government in National Assembly, with MQM, is 16 seats short of a majority. But being a minority government doesn’t necessarily mean that the government would collapse automatically. The law making process would be difficult, but if the current policy of reconciliatory legislating is continued, then PPP may continue to pass the required laws. In any case, most of the day to day work is done through executive orders and secondary legislation, and as such this shouldn’t be perturbed by losing majority.
Most importantly, would the government fall if MQM sits in the opposition? not automatically. According to the constitution, to make the current government resign, there is need for a vote of no confidence. This is when a motion is passed in the Parliament and it is passed by the majority of the members. In that case, government’s survival is not to be decided by MQM but by PML-N. In this scenario, Nawaz Sharif’s statement of 26th December is vital, where he commented that he wouldn’t let the government fail.
This is a big victory for the negotiating team of PPP, who have this public commitment from the leader of the main opposition party. This may also been the reason behind PPP’s decision not to budge under MQM pressure, after JUI’s resignation. But in politics, nothing is set in stone, this is specially true for Pakistani Politics.
Current situation has however created a silver-lining where PPP is sure that no more back stabbers remaining amidst them in the coalition. MQM’s departure does create one immediate concern, and that is the law and order situation in Karachi – the party’s hub. MQM would create unruliness soon, this is given. The options of past have been from bringing in rangers and Army, to impost curfew and martial law. All these have led to MQM gaining greater political influence at the same time not making things any better. The other option of Political conciliation has led to MQM taking too much advantage of their position.
One possible way of this may be to use all the available resources to control the events and not let them escalate. Peace in Karachi and Urban Sindh is in interest of Government and not in MQM’s interest. They will try to make things worse. The PPP and its ally ANP, must be ready to bear the first strike and must ensure that this is known who struck first. They have available to them the 21st century’s devices, such as video cameras, that would have proof of such actions. Even then, government intervention much come when public consensus is build, much like the Lal Mosque. But unlike the Lal Masjid, the retaliation must be measured and proportionate. Aim being restoration of peace, not annihilation of the party. Government must control the narrative, and that must be that MQM have slipped back to old ways. A successful operation would see MQM calling cease fire very soon, especially when it becomes clear that no political gain could be had. Otherwise consequences would be dire for the city and economy of the country.
How do they resolve this quandary is main test of the Government after today’s developments.
‘Hussain said the feudal system was damaging the country’s roots and that the Pakistani nation should stand up against it and get rid of it.
“Inflation has affected the people and we oppose the imposition of Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST). Instead, agricultural tax should be imposed on land owners,” Hussain added.’
MQM chief has suggested that government should propose an agricultural tax, instead of RGST. MQM, along with some opposition parties, have argued that RGST is a regressive tax, as it (proportionally) affects poor more than rich.* As such this increased tax is a burden on people and should not thus be imposed, on the currently applied GST.
Finance ministry responds that by stating this is a necessary tax increase, because of the pressures from IMF. Whose financial help is needed to balance the budget and keep country running. IMF demands an increased taxation, as Pakistan is one of the lowest tax paying country. Implied with this is that reason why sales tax is suggested, instead of a progressive tax, because other direct forms of taxation have many loopholes/tax evasion and thus very little additional revenue would be collected.
As a compromise, MQM seems to suggest that Agricultural lands should be taxed. This suggestion seemingly is from same area of party, which had suggested the land reform bill. The bill which had so wide loopholes, elephants could walk through them.
This is in keeping with MQM’s ‘struggle’ against the evil power elites of Zameendars, Generals and Sarmayadars. This of course has nothing to do with that only Zameendars are also MQM’s political adversaries, and thus are singly targeted by the party, in land reform bill as well in this suggestion of increased taxation. To prove this, MQM also might have ideas against the Generals, like making Army incorporations pay additional corporation taxes, specifically considering they have built the empire on tax payer’s capital (originally given to sustain the army). Cutting down on the General’s presidential protocols, stipends and perks. Control on the expenditure of their budget etc. That bills would surely be proposed by MQM any coming day, just wait and see!
But MQM’s current suggestion, economically seems self-defeating. As observed, if main objection against RGST is plight of the poor, then introducing agricultural tax is going to make food more expensive. The landowner would sell his crop at higher price, this then would mean that crop is retailed at higher price. It effectively is same as taxing food directly. ‘Ah, but you see we can price fix crop at current prices, so as tax is paid from profits of land owners’.
Ahh well no one indulges in business to make loss, especially a business as fickle as agriculture. So you would see, one: less production and two: an emergence of crop black market. Remember how well we handled the black market for sugar? Now imagine black market for all agricultural produce! Of course, low produce also means increased import, which in turn means more trade deficit, which means more loans from IMF!
And I don’t know if Mr Hussain is aware, but Agricultural land is already taxed, its just that rate of tax collection is hideously low, which brings us back to the issue of correcting current system that to we do get the correct of amount of tax owed already to the state.
* A poor person, who already has no saving, would have to choose between two items which one to buy. A rich person can afford to buy both expensive items, but will have less savings.
Often, middle class urban chatterers express concern about the PPP’s future because in their view the PPP is, in the main, a party of feudal lords which has only bleak future in increasingly urbanized Pakistan.
How would our urban middle class chatterers explain the influence of the MQM and its political style in Karachi and Hyderabad? Is that the non-feudal future that our urban middle class chatterers envisage in Pakistani politics?
Here is what Sindh Home Minister Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza stated today about the MQM and its style of ‘urban, non-feudal politics’:
عمران فاروق لندن میں قتل ہوئے،دکانیں کراچی میں بند ہوئیں،ذوالفقار مرزا
Source: Jang, 13 Dec 2010, Updated at 1710 PST
کراچی…وزیر داخلہ سندھ ذوالفقار مرزا نے کہا ہے کہٹارگٹ کلرزکاتعلق کراچی کی سب سے بڑی جماعت ہے،عمران فاروق لندن میں قتل ہوئے اور دکانیں کراچی میں بند ہوئیں، کراچی میں پٹھانوں ، پنجابیوں، بلوچوں اور سندھیوں کو چن چن کر مارا جا رہا ہے، اگر تمام قومیتوں نے اتحاد کرکے برسٹ مارا تو بے گناہ اردواسپیکنگمریں گے۔یہ بات انہوں نے ایوان صنعت و تجارت کراچی میں تاجروں سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے کہی
۔وزیر داخلہ نے کہا کہکیاعمران فاروق کواسفندیارنے قتل کیاکہ یہاں پٹھانوں کوماراجائے،ان کا کہناتھا کہ تاجروں کی مختلف ایسوسی ایشنزبھتے دیتی ہیں،آپ کاروباری لوگ اپنے پیسوں سے بھتااورطالبان کوزکوة دیتے ہو،ہمارے پاس پولیس کوگاڑیاں ،موٹرسائیکل دلانے کے پیسے نہیں ہیں،آپ کاروباری لوگ اس پیسے سے پولیس کوگاڑیاں کیوں نہیں دلاتے،یہاں اسلحے کے زورپرکھالیں چھین لی جاتی ہیں،کس کتاب میں لکھاہے کہ بندوق کے زورپرکھالیں چھینے۔
وزیر داخلہ ذوالفقار مرزا نے الزام عائد کیا کہکراچی میں ٹارگٹ کلنگ میں ملوث60افرادگرفتارکیے اورٹارگٹ کلرزکاتعلق کراچی کی سب سے بڑی جماعت ہے۔لیاقت آبادمیں ایک مغوی کورکھاگیااورتاوان لیکرچھوڑاگیا اورہم نے وہاں سے بھاری اسلحہ برآمدکیا،اس میں سیکٹرانچارج ملوث ہے ۔انہوں نے کہا کہ کراچی سب کا شہرہے اور تمام سیاسی جماعتیں یہاں کی حالات کی ذمہ دارہیں،کراچی میں ایک زمانے میں تھانے نیلام ہوتے تھے،شترمرغ کی طرح گردن چھپانے سے خیریت نہیں ہوگی،کاروباری سیاست میں استعمال ہونے سے بچیں۔
Sindh Home Minister Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza Monday said that target killers belong to the biggest party of Karachi (MQM), Geo News reported.
In his address at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza recalled: “Dr. Imran Farooq was assassinated in London and shops were forced to shut down in Karachi.”
He said Pathans, Punjabis, Balochis and Sindhis are being hunted down in the metropolis. “If people from all these communities joined hands and repulsed, a large number of innocent Urdu speaking people would be killed,” he warned.
Dr. Mizra questioned; “Was it (ANP Chief) Asfandyar Wali who killed Dr. Imran Farooq in London that Pathans are being targeted here in reaction?”
He alleged that different associations of traders and businessmen give extortion money besides Zakat to ‘Taliban’. “We don’t have funds to purchase motor cycles for Police, why don’t you businessmen of the city buy Police vehicles?”
The Sindh Home Minister went on to say that animal hides are snatched at gunpoint in the city. “What book preaches such a lesson?” he asked.
He said 60 people involved in target killings had been arrested in Karachi and alleged that ‘the killers belonged to the biggest party of Karachi’.
Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza told the gathering that a man had been held hostage and later released on payment of ransom in Liaquatabad. We had, in an action, recovered a large cache of arms from there and found a sector incharge involved in the crime, he added.
He said Karachi is everyone’s city and all the political parties are responsible for the situation it faced with. “Ducking down the head like an ostrich would be of no use in saving the neck,” he added, urging, the businessmen to spare themselves from being politically exploited. (Source: The News)
Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza addressing the Members of the KCCI