MQM strike goes un­heeded, city re­mains nor­mal

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY - Karachi Tax Bar As­so­ci­a­tion holds a post bud­get sem­i­nar Ab­dul Qadir Me­mon speak­ing on the oc­ca­sion.—PO OUR RE­PORTER

photo KARACHI—The strike call from Mut­te­haa Qoumi Move­ment to protest against the Rangers siege around the house of its leader Fa­rooq Sat­tar, went un­heeded as city re­mained nor­mal, trans­port plied as usual, and shops, petrol pumps, re­mained open on Wed­nes­day.

Such a re­sponse from a city which was firmly in the grip of the Sindh Ur­ban-based party, brought to fore a de­bate whether MQM had re­ally lost its last weapon to shut busi­ness which it had used with re­mark­able au­thor­ity in the past.

Per­haps the wee hours warn­ing Wed­nes­day from the chief of the para­mil­i­tary force Maj-Gen Bi­lal Ak­bar to traders, as well as to Mut­te­hada to de­sist from clos­ing their busi­ness, or use or force, did click.

Busi­ness, and traf­fic even in ar­eas like Gul­shane Iqbal, Gulis­tane Jauhar, Naz­imabad, and lo­cal­i­ties in dis­trict West and Malir, con­sid­ered the strong power­base of MQM, re­mained un­af­fected, which clearly was a set­back for the Altaf party.

Some an­a­lysts held the view that pick­ing cud­gels against mil­i­tary was un­wise. The MQM Rabita Com­mit­tee has given the call for peaceful protest against the siege on the house of Dr Fa­rooq Sat­tar in PIB Colony Tues­day night.

A com­pany 30 men, and eight ve­hi­cles, plus mo­tor­cy­cle rid­ers, armed with au­to­matic weapons had sur­rounded the streets around Sat­tar’s house, de­mand­ing that a “con­firmed crim­i­nal” hid­ing in the house, must be handed over to them. Sat­tar de­nied that no crim­i­nal had been given shel­ter in house as such an ac­tiv­ity was against the phi­los­o­phy of his party and his po­lit­i­cal con­duct.

Around mid­night af­ter Rangers had re­turned from the area, the party ap­pealed for protest strike on Wed­nes­day, ask­ing trans­porters, shop keep­ers and traders to close their busi­ness. But soon after­wards, a sever warn­ing against heed­ing to the call was is­sued from the Rangers chief.

The point of view that MQM had re­fused to change with the time, did carry weight, be­cause peo­ple were no more in mood to waste their time, and had be­gun to show their dis­com­fort with calls for clos­ing of busi­nesses, or paralysing city life. Photo by Syed Rizwan

Work­ers of MQM hold a protest rally against raid on res­i­dence of their leader Dr Fa­rooq Sat­tar.—PO

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