Everybody’s own change
The kind of rush the NA-246 by-election has cooked up is something of a novelty for Azizabad. The MQM heartland has been used to ‘more of the same’ for some time now. But whether or not they can expect something intrinsic to result from these political headwinds is quite another matter. It is, of course, for the people to decide how good or otherwise voting for MQM has been so far; and they will have one opportunity to express just such views very soon. Yet the others must be taken at face value, so it is interesting what exactly PTI and JI bring to the table, along with their rhetoric.
Khan sb has made it pretty clear that PTI is not happy with the way Karachi is run. Going by the Rangers operation and raids, among other things, it is pretty clear that much is still in need of being put right in the metropolis. So Imran promises bringing the lights back to the city of lights. But PTI’s resume is limited so far to KP, where similar promises are yet to be honoured, and not many people are too sure they will be anytime soon. Those with slightly longer memories will remember how Imran said many problems, including corruption, would be handled in the first 90 days. Yet it became clear very soon that the party had other, larger interests far closer to heart.
JI is not too happy with things either. So much so that it has foregone the alliance with PTI to field its own candidate. The promise there – so eloquently put by Sirajul Haq – is ‘healing the city’, which has of course been held hostage by MQM for ever so long. And the rhetoric is confrontational. As the vote nears, there are constant fears that the slightest friction might spark more agitation. Our proponents of democracy seem to need reminding that representative government is not merely slugging it out for votes, it is ultimately about the people. Of course, political rivalries are part and parcel of democracy, but when campaigns comprise only attacks on the other, there is little left for people to look forward to. Perhaps the people of Karachi would benefit most from parties that talk more about what they can do for the city and its people rather than paint the town about what is wrong with everyone else.