The murder of MQM Chief Altaf Hussian's brother, Nasir Hussain and his nephew, Arif Hussain, once again threatened to plunge Karachi into a fresh wave of bloodshed.
Their tortured bodies were found dumped at a remote, desolate area on the Karachi-Hyderabad highway. And the recovered bodies, handed over to the morgue by the police, were identified late in the day by family members and MQM activists.
I don't know what was the motive behind the killings, since these two were not prominent actors on the political scene in Pakistan.
In fact, many did not even know that Altaf Hussain, living cozily in a London flat, had a brother.
However, the killing dismayed many. For this is the harbinger of more evil to befall the poor people of Karachi who are innocent victims of a protracted, ruthless and bloody struggle between two sides.
I don't think it will come as a shock to many, even in the statistical sense. For the people of Karachi are becoming inured to the ongoing troubles and are just getting on with their lives. Though there was a real shock when 15 non-Mohajir, innocent and illiterate laborers were gunned down in cold blood.
American writer Truman Capote would have had no dearth of incidents to draw upon from for his chilling novels. The way Karachi, and in fact, Pakistan, is going there will always be the macabre to write about.
The killings have given cause of concern to Pakistan's friends abroad. Altaf Hussain's appeal for a three-day of mourning, later revised to two days, after which the MQM will decide its future course of action is ominous in its tone.
The appeal which neglects the nation's dwindling economy and social condition will surely affect Pakistan's economy and the strike could have a disastrous effect on the economy.
Closure of business and industry and the unnecessary revenge killings of innocent people who have nothing to do with the MQM, PPP or any other party will add extra trauma to the people not only in Karachi but of Pakistan.
Adding to the populace's woe is Prime Minister Bhutto's refusal to budge from her stance. And her effort at bringing about a solution to the Karachi crisis through a negotiated settlement has also fallen through with the government and MQM both refusing to give in, thereby stalling the talks with both the parties rigid in their stands and demands.
The strikes and closure of all economic institutions, which have been repeatedly called and imposed in Karachi, are perceived as a blackmail by the government.
On the other hand, the leader of the opposition and president of the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif, criticized the Peoples Party for undermining democracy and abuse of human rights.
The situation, which has been truning from bad to worse, thus has now reached a point of no-return.
On the one hand you have a party like the MQM, who after 50 years still call themselves Mohajirs!! They perceive themselves, whether rightly or wrongly, as victims of oppression.
On the other side of the spectrum is a Prime Minister and a party that was involved, in a way, in the break-up of Pakistan. Ringing them is an Opposition with no alternative plan. What is being witnessed is a daily dose of politics with no clear plan of action to steer the country from these shoals.
And then of course there is the most disciplined party in Pakistan - the army. Admirably, it has kept itself out of this imbroglio.
However, the audience, the people of Pakistan are getting restless. They are witnessing the same scenes being re-enacted. Death orders are given from London. Local retaliation takes place. Foreign governments are blamed.
The government has ordered an inquiry into the Karachi killings. However, the MQM should also be told that inquiries into other killings will also be done. Many Pakistanis do not believe that the government ordered the killing of the two Altaf's kin. The natural tendency is to blame the government.
It could be a rogue operation by elements of the security agencies outside the pale of authority. It would even be an inter-MQM vendetta. The divided factions of the MQM hate each other more than they hate the PPP government.
The way things are in the country, and seemingly difficult road it is treading, it is enough for all in the region to worry about Pakistan.
To blame "foreign hands" without proof is not enough. The people of Pakistan have had enough. They are quite fed up of MQMs, PPPs, Babus, petty politicians and especially those who from ten thousand miles away call for strikes that cripple their economy and lead them toward poverty.
While others in Asia are heading towards prosperity and a bright future, the unfortunate people of Pakistan are being led into a long and dark tunnel which nobody knows how long will it take to travel, and where the journey will end.
That is the tragedy of Pakistan.
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