Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party, the dominant power in the nation’s financial capital of Karachi, has agreed to rejoin the federal coalition after Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani agreed to reverse a fuel price rise mandated under an IMF assistance programme.
The party, which mainly represents the Urdu-speaking descendants of immigrants from India following the creation of Pakistan in 1947, said it had decided to return to the ruling coalition so as not to trigger a crisis at a time when the country faced many challenges. But it said it would not immediately return to Gilan’s cabinet, indicating it was holding out for more concessions.
The tussle has a lot to do with the MQM ‘s power base in Karachi where a triangular battle between its supporters who are primarily the mohajirs or the immigrants from India, the Pashtuns who have arrived in droves fleeing the conflict along the Afghan border and the indigenous Sindhis has intensified in recent years.
Indeed, the “civil war” in Karachi as some call it, has stoked concern that a nation created on the basis of religion was now tearing itself apart on ethnic lines.
Now that India and Pakistan have agreed to hold further talks following a meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries, are they going to step back from a bruising confrontation in Afghanistan?
It’s a war fought in the shadows with spies and proxies, and lots of money. Once in a while it gets really nasty as in deadly attacks on Indian interests for which New Delhi has pointed the finger at Pakistan.