In the wake of Hurricane Zulfi!
Brig Farooq Hameed Khan (retd)


Hurricane Zulfi, a Cat-5 storm made historic landfall at Karachi Press Club few hours before Iftari on August 28. The heavy deluge that followed fully drenched PPP and its top leadership, lashing winds battered the MQM and high waves almost drowned the Interior Minister.

Coming from Dr Zulfiqar Mirza (ZM), who resigned from senior government and party posts, the charges made against good cop Rehman Malik (RM) and MQM under Quranic oath cannot be brushed aside as wild shots or a bad cop drama staged at Zardariís behest .

ZMís known hostility towards MQM notwithstanding, the storm was triggered by the RM controlled Rangers early morning operation in Lyari which unearthed torture cells of the notorious Amn Committee, an organization perceived to be patronized by ZM.

ZMís allegations against RM labeling him a Ďcompulsive liarí, for being hand in glove with the Karachi killers and a security risk who could cause harm to Pakistan, kept millions in Pakistan and abroad spellbound.

ZM disclosed he had been sharing evidence about RM with the President, his old Petaro buddy. Since these warnings fell on deaf ears it implies that either Mr Zardari was protecting RM or the Presidentís hands were tied by certain compulsions. By recently bestowing upon RM the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the Presidency had made a mockery of this prestigious award and itself a laughing stock before the nation.

RMís controversial remarks on many occasions did cast doubts on his real intentions. His statement a few months ago at the height of anti American sentiments against drone attacks, that Pakistan was helpless to stop such strikes only served to mislead the nation.

When the PAF later clarified that it could surely shoot down US drones with its F-16s if ordered by the government, the nation wondered if the Interior Minister was following the Pakistani agenda.

While Karachi bathed in blood with torture cells churning out beheaded bodies in sacks, RM came out with a bizarre theory on the raging violence in Karachi, blaming Ďíwives and girlfriendsíí for most of the killings, only to be ridiculed countrywide.

ZM also hinted at RMís role in the Liaquat Bagh tragedy. The findings in paras 236 and 259 of the UN Commission Report on BBís assassination should upset the PPP and its leadership.

These paras state: ďThe rapid departure of the only backup vehicle in which Mr Malik and other senior PPP leaders rode was a serious security lapse. Ms Bhutto was left vulnerable in a severely damaged vehicle that was unable to transport her to the hospital by the irresponsible and hasty departure of the bullet proof Mercedez Benz, which as the backup vehicle was an essential part of the convoy.Ē

One has to only click ĎOperation Blue Tulsií on the internet to come across a research paper, apparently an intelligence assessment that gives hair raising details of an international conspiracy to destabilize and balkanize Pakistan and destroy Pakistanís nuclear assets. While the authors or the origin of this document are not clearly known, yet it makes startling disclosures and mentions RMís in no pleasant terms.

Many will recall how the crafty notification for placing ISI under RMís Interior Ministry was issued by the Government on 27 July 2008, shortly before the PMís departure to USA. These orders were got cancelled within hours after Gen Kayaniís strict intervention. Whether external forces were behind this unprecedented move to get ISI out of Armyís control, cut it to size and defang it, cannot be ruled out.

The MQM owes it to the nation to come clean on ZMís revelations about Altaf Hussain/MQM being part of US plot to breakup Pakistan, its leaderís letter of 2001 to Tony Blair pledging its street power in Karachi and suggesting disbandment of ISI.

The MQM has since the early nineties been under the microscope of security establishment which may already be in knowledge of such a letter as well as information of MQMís flirtation with US/UK governments/intelligence agencies.

The fact that MQM strengthened its political base in urban and interior Sindh and enjoyed unprecedented powers in Karachi during Musharrafís rule, indicates that the MQMís strained relations with the security establishment may have turned for the better.

ZMís latest charge against an MQM former federal minister of being involved in NATO containers gone missing at Karachi port loaded with arms and ammunition needs a federal level investigation. If found true, does this establish a link between MQMís preference for Ministry of Ports and Shipping and the covert external hand involved in Karachiís destabilization?

Foreign powers, which are known to eye Karachiís future, have lately shown extraordinary interest, with American and British diplomats striving for MQMís return to PPP fold. RMís love for Altaf Hussain and apparent soft corner for MQM also explains the common US/UK link. It will be interesting to watch the UK governmentís response as events unfold in case the investigation in Dr. Imran Farooqís murder takes an ugly turn.

ZMís fireworks against RM and MQM have implications for national security. The Honorable Chief Justice conducting the Karachi killings case needs to take cognizance and summon all concerned for detailed hearings. Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry may also consider seeking ISIís recommendations regarding RMís security clearance and whether he should have been appointed on this sensitive post in the first instance.

A heavily bruised MQM seems clearly on the defensive. It should undertake major damage control to reassure its patriotism and loyalty to the state. In order to placate public opinion as well as resentment within the party especially in Sindh, Mr Rehman Malik may have to be shown the door. It is also time for a major top reshuffle in Sindh Government.

Having quit politics, a charged Zulfiqar Mirza remains determined to champion the Sindhi cause. Hurricane Zulfi left in its wake a bewildered Zardari and a shocked nation wondering if Pakistan was in safe hands.