To deny is to invite madness

By Ali Arqam

It is heartbreaking to see the worst of your nightmares come to reality. But as they say, “You learned to run from what you feel, and that’s why you have nightmares.”

It was 2011 when I visited Larkana with one of my more learned friends Dr Hidayat Ali Shah. The flags of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and that of Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) could be seen hoisted over electric poles at Mir Murtaza Bhutto Chowk. However, the flag which was bigger and stood taller than both was that of the banned sectarian organization Sipah Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) rechristened as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ). The sight brought uneasiness to my mind replacing the warmth regarding the city known as the stronghold of one of the most significant political forces and the home of Bhuttos.

Being a resident of Karachi, I have witnessed violence with different facets, conflicting claims and turf wars. I can understand the symbolism attached to party flags, which serve the purpose of proclaiming influence and in some cases showcase the ability to inflict violence.

A few years back I posted a picture from a Karachi square on social media, in which the flag of ASWJ was prominent among a dozen MQM flags that were encircling it. An MQM lawmaker responded with an exclamatory remark: Elections!

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