It seems like Pakistan is imploding from within as the offspring of those who played a key role in creating the South Asian state, cobbled by the British Raj in August 1947, are now fed up with it as well.
A group of US-based American-Mohajirs launched “Free Karachi campaign” on Martin Luther King Day in the US capital to highlight state atrocities of Pakistan upon millions of members of ethnic Mohajir nation. The term Mohajirs refers to those millions of immigrants who migrated from various parts of India after the partition of the Indian Sub-continent in 1947 and settled in newly independent state of Pakistan.
A mini truck as well as many taxis displaying #FreeKarachi banners took part in Martin Luther parade in Washington DC to raise awareness on the human rights violations, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings in Karachi and other urban centers of Pakistan’s Sindh province. The mini truck displayed large banners highlighting state atrocities of Pakistani security forces, its premier intelligence agency, ISI, and their blatant support for religious terrorist outfits such as Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS and others.
Nadeem Nusrat, the USA-based former convener of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), who is the main spokesperson for this campaign, told Mustikhan’s Musings “We represented our cause today at Dr MLK Day parade in Washington DC with 5 taxis and an SUV. The number of taxis will rise to about 80-100 in a day, through the end of this week.”
Some Baloch appear to welcome the Free Karachi Campaign. Cardiff-based Balochistan tribal supremo the Khan of Kalat Mir Suleman Daud shared the Free Karachi Campaign press release and pictures on WhatsApp. The Khan of Kalat, with his close friend Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, met with exiled MQM London Altaf Hussain some months back and a picture showed the three pointing to a Pakistan map, suggesting they were in agreement Pakistan should be Balkanized.
Pakistan has been conducting a secret dirty war in France-sized Balochistan since 2005 that has left 35,000 dead, 21,000 missing and 6,000 buried in mass graves. This is the fourth military crackdown in Balochistan since March 1948 when the territory, which means land of the Baloch, was forcibly merged with Pakistan.
Others, however, said Pakistan’s ethnic minorities, especially Mohajirs and Sindhis, must avoid working at cross purposes under disparate partisan causes and unite against the root cause, which is the exploitative Punjabi-dominated power-structure that co-opts small sections of minorities in colonial fashion. According to the Free Karachi Campaign, more than 22,000 Mohajirs have been ruthlessly murdered in military and para-military operations conducted in Karachi since 1992. Pakistan’s two governments were deposed in the 1990s on the charges of extra-judicial killings in Karachi, but no perpetrator was ever prosecuted, the press statement said.
Human rights violation against ethnic Mohajir community are still a daily routine in Pakistan as hundreds of enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings have been reported since the start of latest crackdown on Mohajirs in 2013. The political offices of Mohajirs’ main elected party, MQM, have been illegally demolished or sealed by Para-military Rangers and Pakistani media has been forcibly banned from covering political activities of MQM’s exiled leader Mr. Altaf Hussain.
Karachi is a living personification of the notion that ‘taxation without representation is a tyranny’. The city generates nearly 70% revenue for Pakistan’s national treasury and around 98% for Sindh Province. In return, however, the city gets less than peanuts. It has no infrastructure, no health, public transport or education system. The security forces responsible for its law and order -police and paramilitary Rangers- are imported from Punjab and rural Sindh as doors to law enforcement agencies are completely shut for citizens of Karachi.
In its first press release issued for media, the Free Karachi Campaign says “Karachi is a great city: it is Pakistan’s most secular city that has always stood up against tyranny, un-democratic elements and pro-Jihadist forces backed by Pakistani Military Establishment. Pakistani Military Establishment and the highly biased Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), which is dominated by Sindhi-speaking corrupt feudal lords, are not just looting Karachi; they are also attempting to turn it into a safe-haven for murderous Jihadist elements.
“Injustice, unemployment, prejudice, poverty and lack of representation in elected assemblies all are contributing to growing hopelessness and frustration among youths in Karachi and other urban areas of Sindh. This is also feeding growing radicalization among youths and the State-sponsored Jihadists are happily capitalizing on this. This is a dangerous situation and the world, the United States of America in particular, needs to come forward to save Karachi.”
The campaign stresses on ‘inclusive politics’ and plans to expand its support base by including all citizens of Karachi and other areas of urban Sindh living abroad, irrespective of religion, gender and ethnicity, as part of this campaign.
Majority of mohajir live in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital and the main engine behind its economy. Discrimination and victimization of Mohajirs in jobs and other fields started soon after Pakistan’s creation and continues to-date, according to the Free Karachi Campaign handout.
A website, Facebook page and Twitter accounts have also been setup with extensive information about the plight of Pakistan’s port city which the online encyclopedia Wikipedia ranks as the “world’s second most populated city”.
The press release concludes that a Free Karachi will guarantee equal rights and access to opportunities for all its citizens, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion and gender.
“It will have an inclusive society where people of all races and religions will be treated equally. It will also ensure peace and stability in the region. It will act as a bulwark against the forces of darkness, forces of extremism. Please help Karachi and its people for they are the true supporters of democracy and allies of humanity in a region where extremism under the official patronage is rising at an alarming rate,” said the statement.
The Free Karachi Campaign comes on the heels of a similar campaign launched in Geneva, London and New York by Baloch dissidents. Pakistan media, without any proof, accuses the Narendra Modi government in arch rival India of funding the campaigns.
DISCLAIMER: Views expressed in this article does not reflect the view of any other organization but the Free Karachi Campaign.