Editorial : Tempering trouble - Saturday, April 09, 2011

The man once picked by the PPP top brass, and particularly his pal, the president, to act as a trouble-shooter in Karachi, has left the city after making more trouble than could ever have been imagined. Sindh Home Minister, Dr Zulfikar Mirza, seems to have succeeded in stirring up one crisis after another. His use of some rather ill-chosen language meant that he incited anger, notably from the MQM, again and again. His departure on ‘indefinite leave,’ on grounds of ill-health and the assumption of his office by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, may bring some possibility of calm in the provincial capital where nerves have been pulled taut by all that has happened in the last few months. It is understood that the strike by traders against extortion and a new MQM ultimatum had proved the factors that finally decided Dr Mirza’s fate. His exit will leave many heaving a long sigh of relief.

But it would perhaps be unwise to predict that this brings an end to Karachi’s problems. The ouster of the heavy-handed ex-home minister seems to have been motivated simply because the PPP desperately needs the MQM to keep its own government intact in the centre. There is no evidence that good intentions, such as a true desire to bring peace to Karachi and establish better ties with other parties, were involved. Indeed, the ghost of Zulfikar Mirza may linger on in the Sindh government, given that the new Provincial Information Minister, Sharjeel Memon, is regarded as one of his closest aides. It is also a fact that things in Karachi can be sorted out only through wisdom and a consistent display of good sense. All parties need to be pulled into the peace-building process. Mere appeasement is not enough. The MQM too needs to be persuaded to play a positive role in the local body elections. The departure of one minister may not be enough to achieve this, in the absence of a wider policy aimed at sorting out the multiple issues of Karachi and the complexities that have arisen as a result of the bitter rivalry between its major parties. Dr Mirza’s efforts aggravated these tensions. We have yet to see if they will fade away in his absence.

Source : http://thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=40591&Cat=8

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