What Happens Next?

What Happens Next?

A dozen vehicles torched, several killed and injured and a metropolis  like Karachi was brought to a standstill once again following the murder of a political party member by a party worker of the ruling party – this is only Tuesday’s news. There has been a spate of killings over the past week supposedly based on religious enmity, while gang war infected Lyari once again erupted. The news from the rest of the country is the same, Balochistan simmering, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa raging, Punjab engaged in the annual power and water outages, while the leaders play their version of politics from the comfort of their comfort zones (for lack of a better printable expression).




Karachi has seen a solace of about a month or so from target killings, and the ‘city of death’ has once again made it into headlines for target killings.




As for Lyari, it has lost its novelty for the news since its problem is ‘gang wars’ which keep replaying every other month. The administration conducts ‘operations’ now and then, without much coming out of it except more deaths.  The crux is that there is absolutely no law and order in Karachi or much of the country, except in the capital Islamabad, the VVIP enclaves and cantonments (although these are known to be hit in ‘sensitive’ cities around the country as well). And more hilarious is that no one seems to care, at least no one who can make a difference. The authorities think that by deploying gun-toting security personnel all over the country helps, but this charade fools no one as they are repeatedly outwitted by the perpetrators of all kinds of crimes. I bet they laugh at us, our leaders and our men in uniforms – and I would too if I was in their place.




Although I hold no grudge against the men in uniform, on the contrary I hold them in high esteem and salute their bravery for I have met many brave uniformed personnel who have dedicated their lives to protect their country and will look at any enemy in the eye. And I can sleep comfortably knowing that there is a son/daughter of Pakistan sitting in the remote areas on the borders who is awake to protect me from the enemy outside. But we can’t expect them to tackle the enemy within. Shouldn’t that be the government’s job? Which is why when TV channels report that the police and security personnel including paramilitary forces are patrolling the city following so and so incident, the first question that pops into one’s mind is: what’s the use of this force scattered all over the city and country with their guns pointed at us if they can’t curb the unnecessary bloodshed, or catch those involved before a crime is committed? Is it possible that they are easily outwitted? The answer is the uniform doesn’t govern this country, the civvies do. Unfortunately, they are too busy jet setting to bother with the country.




In ‘real time’, Pakistan has a lot of serious domestic problems that should have been dealt years ago. These have only become bigger with time and which seem to be endangering the very existence of the country. We need to have leaders who can stay in the country long enough to formulate proper and workable strategy to resolve stuff. Sending in the interior minister to do the job hasn’t worked in the past, and it isn’t going to work in the future. His constitutional arm seems stunted, and his promises are worth naught. He can’t be the government’s solution to everything now, can he? If the government thinks he is capable, then he should be the head of the country, and let’s see how he fares. What have we got to lose, the rest seemed to have failed anyway.




One of the many problems that our country faces is an extremely bad governance with apologies to the optimist president, and this is because our leaders have not tapped into the problems of the ‘real time’ Pakistan which is why except for lip service, they are unable to curb the tsunami of problems that arise in quick succession in the country. Since the source is never plugged and temporary solutions are sought, the problems never go away, and only simmers to erupt with more force later.




We, primarily our leaders, need to stop procrastinating on the real problems facing the country and try to find a solution and not beat around the imaginary bush and chant all is well, when it is not. No long marches, long hollow speeches, festive rallies and calls for tsunamis are going to change the ground realities. Change will only come when all the concerned sit together and indulge in proper dialogue, touching all issues even the ‘no go’ ones.




National issues should not be dealt with proxy leaders sitting on talk shows engaging in a war of words, which only result in a lot of meaningless shouting and abusing. Governance is the job of those who have been elected for this job and for the opposition to help with constructive criticism – but for this the leaders need to be present in the country and be mature enough to talk to each other.




For a nation always tuned into the news most of their waking hours, I will not give a timeline of the issues afflicting our poor country but I will say that we have become a nation nervously standing on the periphery of “what happens next”.  But that questions echoes around, ricocheting off the bullet-proof avenues of power; the deafening moan of death emanating from different parts of the nation falls on deaf ears because no one is interested to find a solution – at least a long term solution. We wait for some form of order to prevail in this chaos but our leaders can’t stay put in the country long enough to actually form a game plan to resolve or try to resolve the problems facing Pakistan. It seems no one wants to care, they have their own issues to look into…a burning, bleeding and rioting country does not make top priority. Are plans being made for a future, which does not include this country… God forbid, because this is the only country that we have that we can call our own; living the life of refugee should not be an option and therefore the people of Pakistan have to act now.

Lubna Jerar Naqvi

The writer is a senior journalist and writes regularly on human rights and women issues with special focus on social media. She tweets @raiseqalam

  • Najam Avli

    I would only comment on the part of your article in which you played salutes to your brave armed forces as according to you they defend the country and also you when you are asleep. I really doubt if you have the ability to think beyond your nose and read history. Pakistan armed forces have never shown any bravery in the wake of their duties during wars especially. In East Pakistan a lot of soldiers fled their posts without firing a single bullet at enemy. Moreover they also left their weapons behind to be taken into possession by Indian army. Do you think surrendering is an act of bravery. If your reply is in yes then I would salute you for your simplicity (I wish to have used more stronger word to elaborate this). During the times of Abbottabad operation and Salala check post attacks your beloved army showed teeth to whisk away the enemy. This is at least what I can infer from your salutations to army for bravery. Perhaps in your dictionary the word cowardice is akin to bravery. At the times of infiltration of GHQ and PNS Hafeez the character shown by your accoladed men in uniform will g down in the annals with golden words. Your army has been able to liberate Kashmir from India and has also been able to safeguard Siachen is another example of their bravery. I think you should now stop day dreaming and face the reality that your army consists of craven and eunuchs who could only kill those innocent armless people who dare to speak against its hegemony and nefarious designs against its own people. All political parties and so called literate people like you keep on praising army for the reason that you want to achieve some thing out of this action.

    • Anonymous

      Mr. Alvi

      An inappropriate example of East Pakistan scenario in this case. Far better that the soldiers fled their posts and not ‘firing a single bullet at the enemy’ when the enemy is the very own people. Imagine if the fiasco had continued and soldiers continued as you wish – Nuremberg would have looked like a Teddy Bears’ Picnic.

      Yes surrendering can be an act of bravery if it prevents unnecessary bloodshed- there is no shame in saving lives. You can train a monkey when to fire a gun on a battlefield but when not to do so requires a bit of humanity.

      The khakis have made plenty of errors over the last 60 years by indulging in politics and civil matters. Do you wish a repitition of East Pakistan in Karachi in military terms when like East Pakistan the problems are political and caused by narrow vested political interests?!

    • Nadeem Ahmad

      Very well said Mr. Avli I agree with you The time has come for us to throw out the idiology of Zaid Hamid etc and should stop day dreamings and making conspiracies stories. You can make fool for ever to yourselves not others.

  • Taj Ahmad

    This non-sense must stop immediately, Karachi is Mini-Pakistan,
    all political and religious parties in Karachi must moved their
    offices to Sukkur, Larkana and Peshawar.
    Please don’t divide and rule the peace loving citizen of Karachi.

  • Taj Ahmad

    All peace loving Paktuns don’t want to fight with their brothers
    and sisters in Karachi, sadly their party leaders from ANP are
    behind all this mess and killings and burning of innocent people.
    I would suggest, if ANP officials leave Karachi to Peshawar,
    this city once again become a happy city for all citizen of Karachi.
    The members of PPP,MQM,ANP wants to live in peace but
    ANP local leaders wants to divide and rule this mega city
    with hate and killings.

  • Anonymous

    When political parties – and yes it includes ANP, MQM and PPP – are happy with any clean-up operation against the political opponents but come their time cry foul, you will continue having the uncertainty. What gives MQM, ANP and PPP workers to bring the whole city to a standstill with their strong arm tactics because one of their activists dies in an incident?!

    My friend Taj Ahmad blames the ANP leaders whereas an ANP supporters will blame MQM leaders. Both supporters believe that the opposing leadership is at fault when the supporters want to be peaceful.

    The absurdity of the situation is obvious – either the opposing leadership is bad or the respective supporters claiming to be content with peaceful living are liars – either way the supporters of political parties follow their bad leadership. Bottom line – all political parties are acting like Mafias where internal or external desent is not tolerated and the leaders are now pkaced higher than prophets!

    • S Nasrullah

      Bravo Mr Qalim. It is almost prophetic what you sensibly scrutinized the situation: ” Bottom line – all political parties are acting like Mafias where internal or external desent (dissent) is not tolerated and the leaders are now pkaced(placed) higher than prophets!”

      Since prophets are not respected in their own countries, they take refuge in other.

  • Nadeem Ahmad

    Who are giving blood Mr.Alirishi? These are the naive innocent soldiers who are being sacrificed for the personal interests of Generals. How many Generals or above Brigadier level officers have given the blood for the sake of contry? This is the only country in the world whose Generals and their families travels in BMWs and have the capacity to live like kings even after their retirement and have the capaity to float the political parties. You are asking what others have given? My dear brothers we have sacrificed the future of our and of our next generations for the ever faulty policies and always eager to capture the hot seat by Khakis. Do not bragg on the failed…….

  • Ali

    Mr. Nadeem how much of that budget goes in the pockets of the armed forces personnel???? Have u ever seen their pay slips… Its all spent on buying and maintaining life cycles of weapon systems,training of personnel and on our nuclear program… Without a strong military presence u would have been eaten up by ur enemies a long time ago.. France does not have enemies and when they did had foes , their budget was bigger than ours… Ever thought why Iran and north korea have still not been attacked, its because of their deterrence…Mr nadeem there are black sheeps everywhere.. Dont forget that even a four star admiral who was accused and proven guilty of corruption was brought back and prosecuted(one of the co-accused is our president)…Recently a one star has been put on trial… This can happen anywhere even in india … Doesnot matter ur civilian or a serviceman,its the human mind that drives someone towards that… The real dilemma is lack of accountability which is why pakistan is in this state … The military has a very clean record in that..Blaming drawbacks of our army for all our troubles is like blaming common cough for the death of an AIDS patient…It is the civilian bureaucracy polluted by the politicians that is responsible for all our troubles… So the diagnosis is the corrupt political system voted in that is the root cause of our disease…

  • Ali

    U tend to forget the billions and billions that our politicians have eaten….And what to talk about the lifestyle of our civilian bureaucrats when even a grade 16 SHO has a toyota land cruiser at this home ….This is the amount of corruption u have in our civilian govt and u choose to compare this filth with the disciplined organization of our armed forces…Ever seen ever a grade 18 (major,Squadron leader, Lt cdr) officer with a land cruiser(except if he already belongs to a wealthy family)?????At least u should put the facts correctly… Pakistan’s defence spending is 2.8 percent of its total GDP(even less than that of Turkmenistan,sri lanka etc) ..Its not even in the top 40 countries of the world with most spending on the military budget….. U worry about the 2.8 percent that maintains ur military equipment and not about the 97.2 percent….The thing is that if u think our armed forces are a detriment to the progress of pakistan then it is a highly biased observation .. The political and bureaucratic system should have been mentioned a zillion times in this list before mentioning the name of the military…I can give u one example why these politicians are the sole factor in reversing the growth of our country in hand with the local population… They start shouting slogans on ethnic lines whenever dams are being built to supply electricity to the country and the “awam” dont even question the fact that these bloody politicians dont have anyone with a degree in civil engineering.. So naive… Naiver than the soldier who gives his blood to protect thankless people like u ….

    • Nadeem Aahmad

      Mr. Ali I do not not want myself to put under any such argument with you on this topic. I have already mentioned what I had to say.Any how, you do not appear to me to be any another than Zaid and Gul. it is a misfortune for our country that some of you always want to remain in the sky and puts the distorted facts before our naive and innocent Awam. Allah would save our country from you……..

      • ali

        You do not want to argue because the facts are all against your opinion… And its a misfortune for our country that people like u want to destroy the last remaining organized and disciplined institution…U did not even for once mention anything about the corrupt political system of our country.. This shows your bias against Pak army… None of my facts are distorted… Do u want references for them.??? Sorry im not a bloody political leader who is connected with the naive people of our country .. The facts are that all the institutions of the country have been eaten up by corruption of the political and bureaucratic mafias and the awam does not need to protect itself from my distorted facts because they can actually “FEEL” the facts (or effects of corruption)…

  • ali

    They exactly are on someone’s payroll(Israel) and the american/european people are paying with attacks on them…Get the facts right all military and intelligence personnel on infiltration missions are already told that in case of capture the govt will not recognize and own them be it the ISI,KGB, MOSSAD.. Even the americans refused to accept their pows in vietnam .. It happens everywhere .. U ppl only find excuses to vilify the military just because ur coward enough to not admit the fact that this mess is of the civilian govts making and u dnt want to come out on the streets against this corrupt system and there is no one to represent the military unlike the barking dogs of the political parties…

  • Tariqdanial

    iI am a big fan of imran khan but would also like to admit that mqm is also a good political party. In my point of view mqm and pti, both of them are the parties dat are ran by middle class lleterate ppl. Obviously u have to be little corupted to thrive in the country. Mqm has to stop using weopons and they will then become equally popular. Anyway my vote will go to pti for change.