Devastatingly serious charges have been made in the BBC report against the MQM. These include receiving funds by MQM from India and training of hundreds of MQM militants in explosives, weapons and sabotage for the last many years. Further, according to Mr. Bennet Jones, a BBC correspondent, “in the course of enquiries, the UK authorities found a list itemizing weapons, including mortars, grenades and bomb-making equipment in an MQM property”.

In the BBC news hour porgramme Mr. Jones also revealed that the “BBC learnt from an authoritative Pakistani source that British authorities held formal recorded interviews with senior MQM officials who told them the party was receiving Indian funding”.

Both the Indian authorities and the MQM have rejected the BBC report and have described it as baseless.

The government of Pakistan has taken notice of the BBC report and according to the Interior Minister it is seeking information from the British government.

One has to wait and see how the government proceeds to deal with the matter. The reaction from the political parties and in the media has been quick and sharp. Voices have been raised to initiate legal proceedings against MQM, some even suggesting banning it invoking relevant laws. Others have counselled to verify the charges and if found valid, to take the matter to the court.

Here it will be of interest for my readers to see what a leading Indian newspapers, the Indian Express wrote while splashing the BBC news story: The BBC had reported, on Wednesday, that investigators in the United Kingdom had conducted recorded “interviews with senior MQM officials who told them the party was receiving Indian funding”. The BBC attributed its report to information to “an authoritative Pakistani source”. Even as the report generated furious reactions from political groups in Pakistan, the BBC shut down its office in Karachi, fearing attack from the MQM — a party that represents the Mohajirs, or Partition migrants from India, and has been linked to gang violence in the city.

Now a few words about the PPP government in Sindh. Attempts made by some of the party leaders to contain the damage caused by Zardari’s outburst seemingly have failed. The gifting of 9000 acres to the army (the request for it was made more than a decade ago) as a gesture of appeasement has not worked. Zardari himself in his subsequent speeches has been praising the role of the army in fighting terrorism.

It is indeed most unfortunate that PPP, a leading political party of the country has fallen down to the provincial level and that its record of performance as the ruling party has been abysmal.

The Sindh administration is saturated with corruption. It has also been egregiously incompetent. Law and order is in tatters. In fact it can be said there is a complete breakdown of law and order. Recruitments in police and other departments are done on personal whims and wishes. One has heard about ghost schools and teachers. The provincial Education Minister has himself admitted that 30,000 teachers were drawing salaries without their posts having been sanctioned. Thousands of schools are closed. Most of them are occupied by waderas or other local influentials. A considerable part of the education budget is eaten up by politicians and government employees.

The other day one learnt from a newspaper report that besides ghost schools there also are ghost hospitals.

It is common knowledge that the real authority in the provincial government is not the chief minister. Orders come from the Bilawal House or from Zardari’s minions.

Ironic indeed that it is the same provincial government which had invited the Rangers to come and help manage law and order and is now seeking to stop or dilute the operation.

With conditions having grossly deteriorated in Karachi and brutal violence taking its daily toll, the said operation was launched in Karachi by the federal government with the cooperation of the army. An Apex Committee was constituted with the Sindh chief minister as its chairman. The local Corps Commander too got involved with COAS taking keen interest in the planned action. It didn’t take the Rangers long to discover that sources of trouble, of violence and corruption and the mafias were linked to pockets of the ruling elite. To bring the culprits to book certain offices and departments had to be raided to apprehend the evil-doers. It was only natural that their patrons felt alarmed as the long arm of the law could, sooner or later get to them too. Mr. Zardari’s outburst possibly was an attempt to stop the operation on the ground that the mandate of the operation was being exceeded.

How to explain Zardari’s sudden decision to leave the country for Dubai? His politician sister too has left. And so has Bilawal. With the party sinking by the day, here was a great opportunity for young Bilawal to get hold of the helm and make sincere and serious efforts to work for a change by selecting a team of honest and competed party members and seek to cleanse the Augean stables of Sindh. It looks, however, that he is not up to the task. His leaving Karachi at a time when more than a thousand residents had died of heat stroke speaks volumes for the kind of mindset he has and how he views his obligations and responsibilities.

The decline and fall of the party is a tragic loss for Pakistan. Some of its worthy stalwarts like Aitzaz Ahsan and Raza Rabbani should get together and address the challenge of rebuilding the party. They owe it to the high positions held by them to realise their role and responsibility at this critical hour.

Unfortunate indeed that because of politicians’ misdeeds and poor performance civilian space is being yielded to the military. Hopefully the army will do its duty and not cross the red line.