How MQM taught me never to lose hope

Published: April 27, 2013
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The cowards cannot prevail over the liberal forces in Pakistan through their cowardly acts. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD NOMAN / EXPRESS

On Thursday evening, April 25, 2013, while driving past a congested locality, I was jolted by the deafening sound of an explosion. I lost control over the car and hit the footpath. There was panic everywhere as people ran for cover.

By the time I regained my senses, the atmosphere was filled with the siren of rescue vehicles. Everyone was running in the direction of the explosion.

The site of the explosion was an election office of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) in Nusrat Bhutto Colony, Karachi. The office and the shops adjoining it were completely destroyed; there was blood all over the place, with limbs scattered everywhere and a severed head lying in a corner. Several people were said to be killed and many were injured.

The terrorists on their part had made a perfectly executed sinister plan. The MQM, being the most popular political party of the metropolis, attracts a huge number of general public to its election camps. As the elections draw close, the atmosphere around election offices and camps present a carnival-like look, with women wearing party flag-coloured bangles and dupattas and kids wearing party flag-coloured caps. Thankfully, the office was closed at the time of the explosion; had the office been open, the casualties could have been worse.

What I saw may not be an unusual sight for many, for we, as a nation, have gotten used to bomb blasts and terrorist attacks, but what I witnessed during and after the rescue work was unbelievable – something which shook me to my core.

It is human nature to be scared or at least be shaken witnessing such horrific scenes. But amazingly some MQM workers started chanting slogans, resolving not to bow in front of terrorists, and resolving to lay down their lives for the cause of their leader. Their pitch got higher and higher. Gradually more people joined in and soon the atmosphere was so charged that the fear I was feeling vanished altogether.

The whole episode taught me an important lesson. I witnessed a practical example of how the resolve of a few people can raise the spirits of a larger group.

The brave and dedicated workers of the MQM, despite being constantly under threat from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and despite losing their fellow workers every day, exhibited remarkable resilience. Not that their resolve was under any doubt, for since inception, this party and its dedicated workers have proved umpteen times that they know the art and science of remaining steadfast.

Honestly speaking, after the repeated attacks on liberal political parties in Pakistan, I, despite being an optimist, had started losing hope for our country. But the enthusiasm of those MQM workers rekindled hope in me.

I am sure that this is not the end for us; there is still hope. The cowards cannot prevail over the liberal forces in Pakistan through their cowardly acts. No matter how much they connive with the ‘champions of justice’ and notorious sectarian outfits, the political parties supported by TTP and TTP itself can not deter us Pakistanis.

Pakistanis will not stay away from the general elections. They can kill us but cannot kill our spirit. I will not let Pakistan die; we will not let Pakistan die.

 

Syed Arsalan Riyasat

Syed Arsalan Riyasat

An MBA graduate associated with a local bank. His interests include politics, economics, capital markets, international affairs, history and sports. He tweets @arsalanriyasat (twitter.com/arsalanriyasat)

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