Karachi, March 3
Back home from self-exile, Mustafa Kamal, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s ex-mayor of Karachi, held a fiery press conference on March 3. He excoriated his former party, extolled the Army, and demanded a radical revamp of Pakistan’s Constitution. The Rangers, who have effective control of Karachi, are central to his return. The Rangers have cut the MQM down to size and restored some semblance of order in chaotic Karachi. Like Kamal, they too have excoriated his former party, extolled themselves, and directly and indirectly demanded a radical revamp of Pakistan’s Constitution. These shared positions have led many to conclude that there’s more to Kamal’s arrival than meets the eye. Four days later, the Rangers asked the Supreme Court for formal policing powers across Sindh province. The Sindh Police correctly pointed out that the establishment of such a parallel law and justice system is not constitutional. The following day, the court rubbished the police’s defense against the Rangers’ claims and allegations and directed the provincial government to work with the Rangers to resolve the force’s “misgivings.” The public has started becoming skeptical of what is increasingly looking like an unvarnished power grab. But on the bright side, given Pakistan’s history, at least they’re asking this time around?
From our March 12-19, 2016, issue.