A changed political landscape – by Nadeem F. Paracha

…. The reason why the MQM-ANP-PPP coalition government (in the city) has struggled to contain the recent violence is mainly due to the top leadership’s failure to reign in their militants.

These militants who were used by their parties (on college campuses in the 1980s, and on the streets in the 1990s), spiralled away from their respective parties’ controlling apparatus and many of them are taking matters into their own hands.

The leadership of these parties have now become well aware of this phenomenon, but they see themselves trapped by it – as if blackmailed by the militant groups within their parties – because many of these groups also include members who mobilise voters during an election.

The good news is that there is now every possibility that the political parties in this respect are (if reluctantly) willing to finally allow law-enforcement agencies to crack down on these groups. The reason is simple: In the long run, it will be these leading parties of Karachi who stand to lose influence and popularity if the anarchic ways of their rough militants are allowed to continue for short-term gains.

Read more : DAWN

Karachi’s civil war: politics by other means —Dr Mohammad Taqi

… In a situation where the PPP is finding it difficult to break the cycle of violence and an army action may not be in sight, a bolstered police and rangers action with a clear mandate must start in earnest, and soon. The public perception of the PPP’s weakness is seriously damaging its political base, especially in Sindh. However, for such an action to deliver even the bare minimum, the PPP will have to restrain its coalition partners. If the PPP leadership is able to demonstrate some crisis management skills, it could project the party’s soft power through its image restoration. Karachi’s perennial inter-ethnic problems are unlikely to evaporate soon but a proactive PPP could manage to keep them from spiralling into a full intensity civil war.
Read more : Daily Times