Pak media blames government, MQM for Karachi violence
May 13, 2007 - 5:24:48 PM

Islamabad, May 13 - Sections of Pakistani media on Sunday blamed President Pervez Musharraf for handling of the crisis over suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, but also criticised the Muttahida Quami Movement - for giving it a violent turn in Karachi.

Was this Karachi or Baghdad, asked The News, drawing a comparison to the unending spiral of violence in Iraq.

'Many of those watching scenes on television throughout Saturday could not be faulted for thinking that perhaps the city that they were watching bore a strong resemblance to Baghdad where dozens of people die in bombings and shootings every day and where the government writ is wholly absent,' the newspaper noted in an editorial.

It warned: 'That Saturday's events are going to have a disastrous and long-tern effect on the city's law and order situation and economy, especially in terms of attracting foreign visitors and investment, is an understatement.'

In an oblique reference to MQM, the party that organized the pro-government rally, it said: 'And those who think that they 'own' the city need to take a long look at their own actions, because these end up hurting only Karachi.'

'Potential for mischief was created by the government which first announced a 'political' rally to counter the CJP's - address to the bar and then tried to put the blame on the CJP for having come to Karachi,' The Daily Times said in its editorial.

Drawing a contrast between violence in Karachi and 'low-key' earlier rallies of Chaudhry, the newspaper said: 'Nothing happened during any of the CJP's outings across the country. Why wasn't he allowed to do the same in Karachi? Clearly, the message was that the government would not give him a free hand to rouse the masses after Lahore.'

Chaudhry's address to the bar council in Lahore had gone off peacefully, but had drawn larger number of people, media reports had then noted.

'It was clear that the government was trying to counter the movement that has taken hold of the country following the action against the CJP on March 9. The fear of the government was that all the opposition parties would flock to the occasion and make it look like a massive no-confidence vote of the people against the president,' The Daily Times said.

'The plan of a counter rally by the government in Karachi was a recipe for disaster. The way things were planned could be seen from the way the government leaders, including the Sindh governor, tried to put the blame for the violence on the arrival in Karachi of the CJP,' the newspaper said.

'Where does General Musharraf go from here?' it asked. 'One thing is clear. General Musharraf must realise that his own fortune is linked intrinsically with the solidarity of the country he rules. It would be naive to think that he could personally survive while the country slides into perdition. There are more cracks and fissures in it today than when he took power in 1999.'

Calling it the 'bloodiest day in Karachi,' The Nation newspaper warned against further flare-up. It noted: 'While Karachi is ablaze and the rest of the country restive at the deteriorated scenario, Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi is talking of another reference to be filed against the Chief Justice for 'politicising' a constitutional issue. At this critical stage, political wisdom calls for attempts at bringing the situation to normality and not having recourse to moves that would make for a further flare-up.'

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