Karachi continues to bleed more and more as a consequence of Pakistan’s self-inflicted thousand cuts.
At least 27 people have been killed in fresh clashes and targeted attacks since July 23, 2011, taking the number of total fatalities this month to 200.Whereas previously, Mohajirs and Pashtuns were killing each other, now Mohajirs have been killing Mohajirs—Mohajir migrants from India’s Uttar Pradesh and those from Bihar killing each other.
The Mohajirs from Bihar have generally collaborated with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). They did so in the pre-1971 East Pakistan and let themselves be used by the ISI and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) for the massacre of the Bengali nationalists, setting in motion the train of events that led to the birth of Bangladesh.
When Karachi burst into anti-government and anti-Sindhi violence in the late 1980s due to the activities of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (since renamed the Muttahida Qaumi Movement), the ISI sought to drive a wedge between the migrants from Uttat Pradesh, who dominated the leadership and cadre strength of the MQM, and those from Bihar who had grievances against the leadership style of Altaf Hussain, the head of the MQM, whose family had migrated to Pakistan from UP.
The ISI encouraged the migrants from Bihar to form their own organisation under the leadership of one Afaq Ahmed called MQM (Haqiqui), the real MQM. The ISI trained and armed the MQM (Haqiqui) to counter the MQM of Altaf.
When Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a Mohajir from Delhi, came to power he made peace with Altaf’s MQM by stopping the ISI’s support to MQM (Haqiqui).
Recent reports indicate that concerned with growing violence in Karachi, the ISI has reverted to its old policy of using migrants from Bihar to counter Altaf’s MQM. The leaders and cadres of MQM (Haqiqui) arrested and jailed when Musharraf was in power, are being released and encouraged to counter the activities of Altaf’s organisation.
This has led to a recrudescence of violent clashes between the migrants from Uttar Pradesh and those from Bihar—thereby further complicating an already complicated situation in Karachi.
This may please be read in continuation of my earlier article of July 9, 2011, titled Beirut Of South Asia
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies