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Islam and Sectarianism ( 31 Aug 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Karachi Reflecting Face of State

By Mujahid Hussain

Some top level office bearers of PML-N are engaged in supporting the armed persons of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipahah-e-Sohabaha Pakistan [SSP] in order to counter any likely movement for a new province in South Punjab. The release of Malik Ishaq is part of the same game.

Massacre is underway in Karachi and all parties intend to capture human resources of this city. Now there is no ambiguity that Karachi is the living metaphor of the losing grip of the state. On the other side, new generation of the terrorists is coming into senses in the tribal regions. A new series of suicide attack is kicking off. Several jihadist outfits are engaged in occupying mosques of other sects and according to latest information, 20 mosques have been captured in Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur areas.

According to the report dispatched by the Special Branch of the Punjab Police, the armed people of Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have attacked mosques in villages and expelled prayer leaders and religious speakers from the mosques from these both districts and appointed new ones. Similarly, some top level office bearers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group [PML-N] are engaged in supporting the armed persons of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipahah-e-Sohabaha Pakistan [SSP] in order to counter any likely movement for a new province in South Punjab. The release of Malik Ishaq is part of the same game. Such PML-N efforts in Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rajanpur, Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan and Muzaffargarh seem to be succeeding. The reason is that as far as the power of armed groups is concerned, Pakistan People's Party [PPP] has no such group for the time being.

Returning to Karachi, it will be appropriate to say that Karachi is playing the role of a training ground in the Pakistani politics and other political parties are also preparing armed outfits after observing situation in Karachi. The religious parties and the sectarian outfits have realized this “needs" a long while ago. All praises are to God, today they are all armed while some political parties have also perceived this reality that Kalashnikov is a necessary tool to have political supremacy in Pakistan instead of a manifesto. There is no party in Karachi which has no thousands of armed valiant guards. If the situation of confrontation remains the same, it will be learnt in the near future that the political parties will also have prepared their suicide squads such as several religious and sectarian forces have such squads.

In fact, this armed pollution in the Pakistani political environment has been brought by some military adventurists, who needed support of political and religious parties for the justification of their power. First Jamaat-e-Islami [JI] and other smaller outfits benefitted from this drive. However, as later on a special wing of Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] was deputed on this duty.

A research by BBC Urdu has published a few days back according to which there are 18 million illegal weapons present in Pakistan and political and ethnic outfits fighting against each other have the largest reserves, while religious and sectarian parties and groups have also weapons which cannot be declared illegal, for according to a tradition, weapon is the ornament of a Muslim. That is the reason that the security agencies have not only ignored the presence of every type of weapons in the seminaries, but also provided further assistance.

Now the fruit of such "glorious" efforts made by the state in the past has emerged. The armed conflict is at the peak in the entire country. The innocent human beings are being killed for sectarian and religious benefit in the life hereafter along with political and financial gains. It is for the knowledge of some daydreamers of the newspapers that today states are disintegrating within their boundaries such as it has been seen in Afghanistan and Iraq, while their borders are very much intact. Unfortunately, the same game is going on inside Pakistan and its internal disintegration is very much before us. The state, to a large extent, seems to have lost its writ in Karachi, Quetta and some Pashtun areas in the country. Every type of armed outfits are ruling the roost over there. Although, the Pakistan Army is engaged in improving the situation, it does not see the ultimate success, for there is no consensus in other parts of the country and such actions by the army are facing criticism.

Powerful political parties' mutual armed amalgamation is causing death of dozens of people in Karachi. These political parties seem to be helpless in doing anything except accusing each other. It could be said about the political parties not in power that they have no public support. Therefore, these political parties cannot play any role in the establishment of peace in Karachi. Now several people are looking at the army which is already engaged on several other fronts. A simple opinion is that the army can clear Karachi from criminal outfits, but it only needs freehand to do it. The army has already done such a failed experience and the rival forces in Karachi got engaged in arming themselves with more concentration.

If the army is used at this time, the apprehensions could be fearful, for the criminal gangs are armed with deadly weapons in the affected areas of Karachi. It is not easy to make them ineffective. An army, whose foreign aid has been linked to its performance in a specific field, does not seem to be able to involve itself into another complicated war. The political fallouts of this war could push the country into more problems. This is a disease which does not seem to have an immediate cure and the likelihoods of the deterioration of situation in the state seem to be clearer than ever.

Amongst this anarchic situation in Karachi, the existence of sectarian elements, Taliban and Al-Qa'ida, which are making their presence in the force, cannot be ignored. Although the Federal Interior Minister Rahman Malik has also pointed his finger at the SSP, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida in his recent statement, yet even if he does not point his finger, it is very difficult to deny the participation of these elements in violence in the city. It was being felt after the joint attack of Al-Qa'ida and the Taliban on Mehran Base that these extremist elements have their own objectives in Karachi. If the situation deteriorates in Karachi, Al-Qa'ida could exploit it to its own end.

The inclusion of the Pashtun armed outfits in the specific ethnic amalgamation of Karachi also points to this fact that they are Taliban in the guides of common Pashtuns. As a large part of the country's media is not ready to hear the name of the Taliban and Al-Qa'ida from the tongue of the officials of the PPP government, such a statement from any government official to accuse such elements is not taken seriously. Moreover, the outfits of Karachi in connection with the violent sectarian organizations cannot be ignored, nor could it be said that sectarian elements are silent spectators in this mayhem. However, the Karachi administration is not ready to involve itself in any such dispute in which it will have to confront the sectarian forces.

Now it could be assumed the reflection of the circumstances prevalent in Karachi is expected to be seen in other cities of the country sooner or later, for there could be a likelihood of the insurgency in several cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab and if this starts from the sectarian elements, there are strong apprehensions of its proliferation. The general situation in the country is in such a jeopardy that the people could create unrest due to common complaints of price-hike and law and order. The confrontation of Punjab with the federation could also not be ignored, while the likelihood of potential tension in Bahawalpur and Multan in respect to province in South Punjab could also not be rejected.

It is very difficult to look for collective peace in any part of the country and wherever there are no ethnic disputes, sectarian elements rule over there. If there is shortage of sectarian elements, it is compensated with the political amalgamation which is gradually turning into enmity from the political differences. Its clear examples are seen in the districts of Gujarat, Gujranwala, Mandi Bahauddin, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura and Rawalpindi where the political opponents are seen armed with heavy weapons to kill each other.

In short, Karachi is presenting a jeopardized picture of the future of Pakistani state where dozens of people are being killed every other day. The law enforcing agencies are seen nowhere. These agencies are full of the people who are affiliated with one or the other rival group and they prefer the protection of their group interests to that of their official responsibilities.

The writer is an investigative journalist, his recent book Punjabi Taliban has been published in Urdu and soon being published in English language.

Source: The View Point