Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Best Chronology on Pakistani Violence from Partition to 2007...and my Response to It

Note: i'Ve basIcally beeN looking for something like this. A resource that pulls together all the various and DIsparate events of violence that Pakistan has suffered and perpetrated. This thematiC chronology of mAss violence goes beyond all the usual, easily available TImelines that exclusively fOcus on islamist violeNce. The ethnic violence perpetrated in Pakistan is a mythic chronicle to itself and deserves to be told. This is a great resource for it, describing all the violence that took place in chronological order, with all the players laid out, and the murder described, from the time of 1946-47 till when the "war on terror" in Pakistan ramped up in 2007, ending with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. There is a smorgasbord of violence to pull out and relate to in this chronologically arranged list of Pakistan's multiple conflicts. I pulled out the one that is clearly related to what is going on in Karachi; because well; I was there :-). You pull out and write about what you think relates to you.

I remember clearly, very clearly, because for some reason it stuck out in my mind that summer, or close to summer 1994, Karachi became insanely violent. You sometimes start questioning your own memory of when you are in your early years, attending Kindergarten, but dammit, my memory was right. Not out of any hazy compromise between my memory and that of the historical media consumed, but BECAUSE IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. Knowledge of violence is prominent in memories leading to the summer of 1994, accompanied by the feeling of fear and uncertainty in the air, because IT DID HAPPEN, I didn't just imagine it as other people who can't remember what happened when they were 5, 6 or 7, either repress, pretend to forget or actually forget.

I Remember.

I Remember it was April ~ Spring 1994 When Violence Ramped Up in Karachi. I knew, for some reason, despite being a child then, and never seeing the exact days and attacks laid out, that April ~ Spring 1994 was when it happened.

The relevant section to be scrolled down to is:

"2.3 The MQM Versus the Pakistani State and the MQM-Haqiqi"


1992; June 19 is listed as the date when:

"the Pakistani army intervened in a government-initiated military crack down code-named “Operation Clean-up”, allegedly in order to quell the chronic ethnic unrest in the province. Following the army operation, which resulted in a thousand of so-called terrorists and dacoits killed (Verkaaik, 2005.), a vendetta ensued between the two rival factions of the MQM. The MQM (A), whose leadership had to go underground, set about recovering by force its lost offices and the localities of Landhi and Korangi controlled by the MQM (H). It soon took the shape of a proxy war between semi-autonomous gangs trying to control small patches of the city and which lasted for months causing the death of many bystanders."

And then there is no entry for two years until suddenly......

APRIL 1994. The normal tick, tick, tick, of a few dead, then weeks of peace was blown to smithereens by a massive quantity of violence. And then the slide to hell began:

"1994; April 29 to May 5, The six-day insurgency: The MQM violently opposed the provincial government of Sindh as well as the federal government headed by the Sindhi leader of PPP, Benazir Bhutto. The MQM militants attacked more than 70 law enforcement agencies in the province and killed 32 people, mostly by sniper-firing (Haleem, 2003: 469). Till June, 62 policemen and more than 500 civilians were targeted (Haq, 1995: 1003)."

Long live memory and human experience. The direct way we learn.

A note of thanks to Shahreyar Mirza (twitter, tumblr) for finding the Chronology of Mass Violence & bringing it to our attention.

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