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January 17, 2011

Wali’s death should not go in vain


January 17, 2011


Wali Khan Babar was a young journalist who wished to do something for society and that’s why he joined the field of journalism. Being a reporter I had meetings with him on different occasions and we discussed various issues, especially politics, international relations, and economics. I found him realistic and his approach was clear. He never sided with any faction and boldly expressed his point of view whatever he felt was correct.
Babar was very concerned about some of journalist’s trends and approaches and wanted to do something to change the approach. He always said that a journalist was a journalist and he should not be a worker and supporter of any party and community. He must be impartial. Most of the time he discussed the role of senior journalists to correct the trend being established in the media because according to him, nobody would accept the media as impartial and true if the impression was created that journalists were partial.
His educational career was very good and I asked him why he did not join Foreign Service because he did his masters in international relations. Wali always said he came into this flied willingly just because he wanted to work for change in the society.
His dream could not come true in his lifetime but his death changed the mind of the whole society, goading it to do something to protect the truth and those who have the courage to speak the truth.
Azhar Abbas, a senior journalist who is also the Managing Director, Geo TV, was very true that Wali was killed because he spoke the truth and journalist’s community who gathered at Karachi Press Club to lodge a protest against his killing, realised that it was an act of target killing and the death of Wali was an attack on the freedom of press. The journalist community also gave clear message to the political and religious parties and infighting groups not to kill journalists in their personal squabbles.
This realisation was a clear message for

the enemies of the truth but unfortunately neither the government nor the political forces realised the seriousness and they are still trying to settle their scores with each other. Killings in the provincial capital over last four days have reached an alarming proportion. More than twenty innocent people have been killed in the city and Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that situation would be controlled by imposing partial curfew in different parts of the city. He claimed that a ‘third’ force was involved in the target killings in Karachi and that he had given some plan to the Sindh government to handle the situation. Checking the CNIC of every citizen in day-night checking in the city and arrival and departure at airport from foreign countries was decided. Rehman Malik doubted that elements who came from foreign countries were involved in the target killing. There are reports that criminals and extremist elements who belonged to upcountry and rural areas were also involved in the criminal and target killings in town.
The recent target killings which started after the murder of Wali Babar also exposed the reconciliation process of the political forces. The PPP-led government is the mastermind of this reconciliation but it was proved that the aim of this reconciliation was just to save power not the protection of the people.
Though Rehman Malik blamed a third force for this situation and charged that the aim of this conspiracy was to divide the PPP-ANP-MQM coalition, it is on record that the blame game and accusations of these ruling parties against each other were the main cause of the bloodletting.
These parties have the mandate from this city but unfortunately they did not realise as to what impact will effect in the city when they were accusing each other just with some personal agenda. Though Rehman Malik claimed that President Zardari, Altaf Hussain and Asfandyar Wali are very much willing to remain partners but it is a fact that the local leaders of these coalition partners are not willing to accept each other. Provocative statements and the blame game have created hatred among the communities.
Karachi was facing the worst of communal riots since Gen Ayub Khan’s tenure. This situation was worst in Gen Ziaul Haq’s era and since then the city has become battle ground for the political, communal and sectarian fights while the mandate of the MQM, PPP and ANP in 2008 election was a clear massage from the Karachi voters that they wanted to see Karachi as metropolitan city and political parties must respect this mandate.
The decision was taken in Sunday’s meeting at CM House that helicopters will carry out surveillance the city in the daytime while law enforcement agencies will check the CNIC of every citizen and a partial curfew will be imposed in the city. These decisions indicated that the ruling political forces failed to control the situation.
Political observers believe that there will be no need for curfew and air surveillance if the ruling parties are interested in maintaining peace in the city and their stronghold areas.
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