I have watched Godfather trilogy only once. And despite being able to appreciate the appearance of actors such as Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in the prequel, the endless popularity of films is always difficult to understand. But they are popular. Nearly 50 years later, few will not recognize references to the “horse in bed” scene or continue the “sleep with fish” dialogue. The list can continue.
Aside from technical expertise, what makes these films so great? Bollywood has made several remakes over decades – unfortunately – and from Feroze Khan to Aamir to Abhishek Bachchan, all took the risk of playing the role of Pacino.
Is it only iconic directions or scenes or legendary performances that make this film great? Or is it the story of a young man who is forced to live the life he has chosen to stay away from? How can an educated young man who does not want to join the business world of the underworld be forced to move, one decision at a time, until he smoothly turns into a “monster” that kills without remorse?
This story may be as interesting as revenge or redemption or victory of the oppressed.
However, Godfather at some level the glamorous version of this ancient story. The grittier version may not be very convincing, but it is more general than we have ever realized.
The Karachi JIT case
To pieces, the story of all the young men, whose crimes are being surrounded when we shout, scream and exchange accusations for The joint investigative investigation team of Karachi reported, Not much different from young Michael Corleone Godfather.
As usual, our political debate focuses on the obvious – who is responsible for the violence, as if it is not yet known – but little attention is paid to the youths who turn into monsters. How did Uzair Jan become Sardar Uzair Baloch? What possessed a young man who had competed and lost a local election against a PPP candidate in Lyari to become a gangster who played soccer with the head of an enemy?
Like Michael Corleone, Uzair Jan joined the gang war after his father was tortured and killed by gangsters in Lyari. His father was convicted of refusing to pay extortion money for the safety of his transport truck. And he was fortunate then when Rehman Dakait’s “death” catapulted him to a central position in Lyari.
Publicly available information about Uzair, Rehman Dakait, Arshad Pappu makes it seem as if young, ambitious people from Lyari have several choices besides the life of crime. News reports say Rehman Dakait dropped out of school in sixth grade and a few years later he sold drugs. Drugs took him to murder, and it wasn’t long before he was said to have killed his own mother, suspecting he had told him.
But apart from the animal side, he is also known as Robin Hood of Lyari who built schools and libraries in the area. In addition to a better environment, he is also said to want a better future, more respectable for himself, but ambitions that look beyond Lyari cost his life. He was killed by the police in a meeting and was replaced by Uzair. That’s when Uzair Jan became Sardar Uzair Baloch.
Such stories are not only found in Lyari but also throughout the city of Karachi. The rise of MQM to power has also led to many such transformations.
Saulat Mirza, at one time, was no less famous than Uzair Baloch. He is also an ambitious young man in Karachi. As the killing machine of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Party, his mysterious interview from a death cell created as much noise as JIT today – but the grain he spilled was not brought to the “mantaqi [logical conclusion]”, Which might also happen in the JIT report.
The name Mirza also became a byword for violence but, unlike Lyari’s gang war, the story of how the “monster” in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was created was rarely covered. Fear of party makes people unable to dig deeper. Lyari is not a restricted area. As a result, little is known about how Saulat Mirza, a boy from Nazimabad, became a “symbol of terror”, as he was called in the news. Apparently because he was arrested and tortured by police in the early 1990s, the story said.
Or what prompted Hammad Siddiqi to become a man who could coldly command a factory to be burned down?
There is little detail to be found about them, but a story in Laurent Gayer’s book about Karachi gives a little explanation of how their story might have developed. Gayer tells the story of a young man named Iqbal – the writer does not use his real name – who does not even speak Urdu even though he grew up in Karachi. Dropping out of school, he was picked up by police after a demonstration. In prison, prisoners from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement protected him and then in 2001 he joined the party when his father encouraged him to run in local government elections as a career opportunity. From there, just moments before he was involved in party militant activities.
Maybe others also have a similar story, which led them to this path of violence. But each story is related to Karachi in a certain way, a city that offers violence as the fastest – and for some the only – route to a better life. Karachi is not alone in this matter; every metropolitan city will have a similar story.
Until cities offer better opportunities for young people, political parties and militant groups will always find cannon food for their evil purposes – and the ruling of the Supreme Court in Karachi writes that all parties are involved in it. The young men will be used and then discarded and replaced. And while the parties can and will be blamed for Uzair or Saulat Mirza, who do we blame for the greater failure?
This article first appeared in Dawn.