“Sohrab Goth and its adjacent areas were strategically very important for the ANP, as on the direction of party command, the members had capacity to block Super Highway within five minutes, disconnecting the city from the rest of the country”,
KARACHI: A man with AK-47 roams around main gate of ‘Gulshan View’ apartment whereas Deen Muhammad Wazir tells about the threats workers of Awami National Party are facing.
It’s one of the January 2013 evenings when this scribe was doing a story on Taliban’s presence in Karachi.
Red flags would wave on the main gate and throughout the apartment, which was ‘unofficial’ headquarters in ANP’s stronghold, where Deen Muhammad Wazir would regularly sit alongwith other two of “DIT” – Ismail and Tariq Tareen.
Wazir’s worries regarding open threats to his life proved real by the end of the year when Taliban gunned him down near Janjal Goth on December 2, 2013.
In the coming years Tariq Tareen emerged as sole force of Al Asif Square, Sohrab Goth, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Rabia city and Mekasa apartment.
No Go area for rivals
“With most powerful men from Pakhtun Student Federation (PkSP) reining the area, it had become a ‘no go area’ for rivals of ANP, including MQM, JI, PTI and JUI-F, who couldn’t dare to hold a rally or organize any political activity here,” recalls *Ayub Dawar, a shopkeeper and worker of ANP.
Dawar remembers the day when ANP and MQM workers would fight with each others for controlling most of Abdul Hasan Isfahani road, forcing the then Town Nazim of MQM – Wasay Jalil, who is now MQM’s central leader – to strike a written agreement with Gulshan-e-View boys.
According to the agreement, Dawar informs, the MQM workers couldn’t cross the bridge in front of famous Bara Market, which is situated few yards away from Abbas Town. Jalil, despite several attempts to reach him, was not available for comment.
Change of regime
Though still the posters of ‘Shah Kalam Shaheed’ and ‘Deen Muhammad Wazir Shaheed’ hang at the entrance of ‘Gulshan View’ and red flags have been replaced with Pakistani flags – also flags of Mustafa Kamal’s newly launched party. The name of Pak Sarzameen Party has also been inscribed at the main entrance.
At right side of the apartments local chief of ANP Umar Badshah Mehsud has setup a stall to campaign for the May 12 to remember the day when dozens of ANP workers on their way to Jinnah International Airport to greet the then deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry were bathed in blood by rival party.
Inside stall few of the ANP workers are sitting. “As we are going to mourn the deaths of our fateful fellow workers, Shahi Syed is holding Valima Ceremony of his son in Islamabad,” a disgruntled ANP worker complained.
Tariq Tareen alongwith several workers of ANP and PSF announced to join the Mustafa Kamal’s Pak Sarzameen Party in its debut public gathering held at Bagh-e-Jinnah, Karachi on April 24, 2016.
A local ANP worker and former comrade of Tariq Tareen (TT) told this scribe that like many MQM’s tented workers, TT found it good opportunity to get ‘dry cleaned’ at Mustafa Kamal’s Defence laundry.
“Tareen who “manages” some 370 flats in different apartments is still ruling alongwith Deen Muhammad Wazir’s nephew Sultan Wazir the areas of Rabia City, Jauhar, Micasa Luxury Apartment and Al-Asif Square,” he said. Wazir hasn’t left ANP yet but it’s Tareen who has say in everything, a worker said.
“When Tareen was picked up by Rangers in 2013 people took to streets and burnt vehicles, carts and tyres near Rabia City in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, showing his influence in the area,” he recalls, adding Tareen would also help PSP to gain ground in Gulistan-e-Jauhar and Sohrab Goth.
“Sohrab Goth and its adjacent areas were strategically very important for the ANP, as on the direction of party command, the members had capacity to block Super Highway within five minutes, disconnecting the city from the rest of the country”, another ANP leader said on the condition not to be named.
The ANP spokesperson, however, claimed Tareen had never been part of Awami National Party. “When Tareen was president of Pakhtun Student Federation (PSF), the party leadership dissolved PSF just because of Tareen wrongdoings,” Abdul Malik, the ANP Sindh’s spokesman said.
“We still have impact in Sohrab Goth and other parts from where hundreds of workers have come to attend the party’s May 12 public gathering in Banaras today,” he said.
“It’s the criminal record of Tareen, due to which he was refused the basic membership of ANP,” Malik added.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
Published in The Frontier Post