A Vigil for the victims of Karachi violence & PTI’s best efforts to steal the show -by Zeeba Hashmi

Candle Light Vigil in memory of the victims of Karachi violence

A vigil night in memory of Karachi victims of violence was called by the the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies in Lahore on 20th August, 2011. “Karachi is a sensitive issue, we don’t want to bring politics in our event” said Diep Saeeda, Chairperson of the Institute of Peace and Secular Studies.

The intention of the organizers was to condemn the killings, call on the government to bring peace to the city and to safeguard human life.

However, using its usual tactics to invade the agenda or theme of civil society’s such calls, the event seemed to have been filled with highly charged and politicized slogans that were not in line of the vision for this call by a political party workers who also attended this open event.

The Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf workers came with their mantras and slogans based on unwarranted conspiracy theories of Israeli or American hand behind the violence, the hoards of PTI and geared the event towards themselves by bringing their team of TV crew and cameras, without once consulting with the original organizers OF this event.

Resultantly the event, though with a turnout of about 250-300 people, did leave a very confused signal over the messages conveyed.

Apparently, the issue was not about the ownership of the event,

“Everybody has a right to express their concerns here as it is a public event, so it will be wrong to say that the PTI and Imran Khan supporters hijacked our event.” said another volunteer of IPSS.

However many among the crowd expressed concern over what they considered were the irresponsible and unsubstantiated claims that the PTI supporters usually exert while boasting their party flag before the flashing cameras.

“I support the the cause of this event, however, I do not appreciate the way this message is being projected by the PTI supporters here” said one of the participants of the event and he had his reasons why the Pakistn Tehreek i Insaf was being irresponsible.

The trouble of being irresponsible:

The provocative messages displayed by the invaders of the event were carrying messages of discord and disharmony.

The blame for the violence was being placed on the Karachi government by directly calling them “Bhatta Khoron ki Sarkar Na manzoor” instead of calling on them to give protection.

However, this could only have been taken for granted by the PTI workers in Lahore for risk, something which they would dare not say on the streets of Karachi, yet at the same time, they choose to ignore or deliberately omit the risks to understand the sensitivity of the issue of tantalizing the situation in Lahore where MQM operatives are active.

Bringing the attendees of this event to expose their vulnerability to any untoward situation. Provocation for any political party is an act of deliberation: it provides its political manufacturers with an opportunity to draw more attention and public support.

The second trouble is more serious as it is becoming a prevalent syndrome in our urban societies: that of shifting the responsibility on others shoulders while completely denying any act of terrorism or violence to be an internalized issue. this dangerous streak has resulted in lack of any serious introspection or insight into the root cause of violence that is doing more harm to Pakistan than it does in making any favorable difference to Israel.

The intention of the politicians behind feeding ridiculous notions of “foreign hand” does not substantiate anything less than their using that as a tactic to garner a popular support that help them build their electorate; it becomes a risk for them to break this perception as it can make them lose important votes, owing to the strong Islamist lobby that holds the key reigns of the general populace.

It can only take a strong visionary to stand up to them, unfortunately, Pakistan lacks the daring risk takers here.

The third serious trouble that PTI can bring is by calling for a revolution by removing an already elected government. Needless is it to say that a political party, that hardly has any representation in Sindh and Balochistan and the rest of rural Punjab, and has hardly won any seat in 2008 general elections can now so confidently call for government removal without support and without focusing on any repercussions that can result if democracy is again derailed from its track before the completion of its term, no matter how tumultuous it seems presently due to inefficient and corrupt elected representatives; the constant intervention and dictation from the corporate Army and; the over bearing judiciary that does more than just translating the law and constitution by superseding the parliament.

What can help?

Political awarness and education of democratic rights to the masses; them asking for accountabilty of the elected representative from their constituency instead of condemning an entire democratic set up. This should also include following up on their manifestos and lobbying for rights. Democracy means to own the ailments in the nation and internalize their cure, instead of running away from them by placing the blame on others.

The vigil night, which was supposed to be a non-political move, had turned into mockery of the civil society with the arrival of senseless sloganeers of the Pakistan Tehreek i Insaaf party workers. This has been reflective of the lack of reason and responsibility of the political party workers that work under the command of their leaders, their hunger for power and votes have turned into dangerous rhetoric that feed the minds of their receptors with irrational opportunist agenda.

The slogan, that was heard from the PTI workers and no body seemed to have objected, raised just an eyebrow or two of those who found their acts to be extremely objectionable. The slogan:

“Girti devaaron ko aakhiri dhakka daina hai”



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