A dangerous divide

By Zahid Hussain

It is not hard to guess why the MQM is often described as the enfant terrible of Pakistani politics. The party has once again stirred a hornet’s nest of ethnic politics by demanding the carving up of Sindh to create a new ‘Mohajir’ province [Refugees’ province]. After its failed experiment focusing on the creation of a new multi-ethnic identity for itself, the MQM has now returned to its original politics.

It is true that the division of Sindh on ethnic or even administrative lines is unacceptable

The MQM’s move to once again play the Mohajir card appears to be a desperate attempt to revitalise its support base that is being challenged by emerging political forces. This narrow political approach is a dangerous game that may further widen the divisions among various ethnic groups in the province.

It is a mistake on the part of the MQM to attempt to return to ethnic-based politics or use religion to settle political scores.

It is shocking the way the MQM has invoked the blasphemy law against PPP leader Khursheed Shah for making a rather benign remark on the term ‘Mohajir’. It is yet more surprising for it to mix religion with politics, since it is one of the very few political parties in Pakistan that genuinely espouses secularism.

This senseless campaign has only damaged the MQM’s own image and diverted attention from some more relevant issues that need to be addressed urgently to resolve the main source of discontent in Karachi. The old habit of throwing a tantrum and quitting the coalition government only to reverse the decision is making a mockery of the party. But this time the separation seems more serious, although one can never be sure it will agree to be the PPP’s political bedfellow again after some pampering.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1141042/a-dangerous-divide

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