The gruesome killing of former MQM law maker and a progressive political activist Ali Raza Abidi is not only big loss for his family but also for Karachi’s politics. Karachi lost a vocal liberal, secular, and progressive political voice. CCTV footage showed two men speeding towards his car as he was entering his home, firing several rounds at him. He had no security on him.
He was martyred at a relatively young age of 46 years. Ali Raza Abidi contested the July 25 general elections against PTI chairman Imran Khan in Karachi constituency. He lost the election and later resigned from MQM-P after developing differences with leadership.
He was elected member parliament in the general elections of 2013. He stood on ground even in the worst times. He was among those MQM leaders who tried to unify the different factions of MQM. He stood with Farooq Sattar when MQM-P was divided between PIB and Bahadurabad factions.
He was very vocal to express his liking and disliking. He was critical of selective accountability of different politicians. He was open to argument and debate, and would be willing to support any position he would find convincing. He would never shy away from taking controversial positions. Abidi came through the ranks of APMSO, the student wing of MQM, like the most of MQM leaders. He had a very good sense of humour.
Abidi was very active on the social media and regularly shared his views on different issues. He was a vocal critique of PTI and never hesitates to criticize the PTI government’s policies. I was use to interact with him through social media. He was friendly and polite even when in disagreement.
He voiced his opinions everywhere, whether responding to enthusiasts within his own party, mediating between the supporters of different MQM factions, and taking on the shenanigans of the federal cabinet’s members, commenting on the corruption cases against the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, or raising voice against human rights violations.
Ali Raza Abidi was an architect of the MQM’s social media strategy; he helped to organize volunteer teams in every town, sector and unit comprising reporters, freelance writers, bloggers and social media activists. With a soft-spoken Abidi at the helm, the strategy was instrumental in allowing the party to defend its positions and influence the mainstream narrative during the worst of law and order situations in Karachi.
Those who target Ali Raza Abidi not only killed an enlightened politician but also tried to destabilize the peace and stability of Karachi. In the chaos that makes up Karachi’s political landscape, with various groups competing for power and resources, it is unlikely we will ever know the full truth of who was behind these killings. But the resurgence of violence in recent times is troubling, especially after a period of peace and what had seemed to be a return to normalcy.
The incidents of political violence suggest that the danger is not over and that various groups — sectarian, ethnic and political — may still be trying to make a comeback in order to destabilize the city once again. The law enforcers must keep an eye on all those forces that are targeting the peace and stability in Karachi.
The government should properly investigate the killing of Ali Raza Abidi from all angles. The motive of his killing should be unearthed and his killers should face the fate they really deserved. An independent judicial commission or powerful JIT should be formed to investigate this brutal killing.
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17 November, 2019