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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Taliban war in Karachi

The Taliban war in Karachi

As student wings of political parties kill each other in Quaidabad, and Nazimabad, Karachi gradually becomes the theatre of a war between religious and secularist forces; the leader of Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), Mr Altaf Hussain, claimed on Sunday that “more than 400,000 Afghan nationals had arrived in the city, fully equipped with latest automatic weapons”. He said that MQM workers would defend the citizens of Karachi against the “400,000 Afghans and Taliban in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the Sharia”.

The MQM has been warning about the “invasion” of the Taliban. The Sindh government has not fully agreed with this assessment despite the fact that the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has clearly announced its intent to send its suicide-bombers to Punjab and Karachi. Punjab has received its share of terrorism following the TTP warning and is now subject to copycat acts of intimidation and terrorism as never seen before. Therefore one can say that the TTP has delivered on its threat to widen the conflict engulfing the Tribal Areas.

But Karachi is a different case because it was the first nesting place of Al Qaeda and is still a stronghold of madrassas that produce suicide-bombers. One recent dead bomber has been traced to the Mujahid Colony (sic!) in Nazimabad. Is Pakistan’s industrial and economic heart equipped to handle the storm which is coming? The sad fact is that the guardians of Karachi are divided despite Co-Chairperson Zardari’s cooperative party policy towards the MQM. (Daily Times)

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