While it also governed in the centre, the PPP painstakingly distinguished itself by mollycoddling the religious extremists and their militant wings. In the face of their weak influence on the establishment and thus being unable to unilaterally impose their will, the Pakistan government led by PPP colluded for five years with radical Islamic forces, including terrorist organizations like LeJ. It connived at them in order to ensure the safety and continuity of its regime. This is what, more than anything else, caused the PPP’s popularity decline. While PMLN seems to be in a permanent strategic association with these radical Islamic forces, PPP’s flirting with them has been a series of temporary marriages of convenience to achieve specific short-term outcomes. Even today it seems more intent on hurting the MQM rather than weeding out the SSP cohorts and the TTP. Which means that Sind’s people continue to be deprived of key information to understand the roots of violence in the province and the role that government institutions and intelligence agencies, who pose as our protectors, have played in endangering us.
The situation today is that the TTP –along with Shia-hating SSP- are the de facto masters of large swathes of Karachi. Being plagued with an infectious violence and a contagious growth of crime, limiting connectivity or social media is something Karachi –the country’s economic hub- can only ill afford. Having banned You Tube in the past, the PPP has now learnt to trespass the beyond which pluralism of information sources (freedom of information and expression) are threatened. Censorship can have many different faces, for example, structural censorship coming from media concentration. Pakistan already suffers from high vertical concentration of media houses and such measures serve as a further deterrent to alternate free and pluralistic media. Evidence from a large cross-section of countries strongly suggests that a free media is bad news for corruption as well as mindless isolationist extremism and that direction causation runs from higher freedom to lower extremism.
Bilawal Zardari’s flippant attitude towards his countrymen where he thinks that only the ‘burgers’ (sic) use Skype, Whatsapp, and Viber. This too from a provincial government that has presided over more than six thousands killings in less than six years in Karachi alone and that has done nothing to stop annihilation of Shias based solely on their faith. Mr Zardari Junior, stifling social network and media will diminish whatever little democratic credibility the PPP may have got left. Also Pakistan is more net savvy than you seem to imagine. Social media provides more of a connecting opportunity to average Pakistanis than the more well-off people who you spurn as ‘burgers’.
A fable that describes the approach Bilawal has decided to take:
Once a wolf entered a village an created havoc. The village elders ordered preparation of a very, very large cage. When the cage was ready, all the villagers were invited to attend its inauguration. Expecting that now attempts will be made to to entrap and cage the wolf, they were somewhat surprised when the elders asked all of them to enter the cage, so that they could be locked in and protected from the wolf.