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Unabated Karachi killings

Editorial in Daily Mail News, Islamabad


THE current wave of target killings, which has been continuing since Thursday last, has so far claimed 30 precious lives. Despite deployment of heavy contingents of Rangers and police and search operation in sensitive areas, the killing continues unabated. With the growing incidents of killings, the political leaders have once again demanded of the government to hand over the city to army for curbing the menace. Unfortunately, it has been reported that the law enforcing agencies, including the police and the Rangers, remained silent spectators to firing by people, who not only targeted people on public transport but also when they walked the street.

 It is because of this that claims are being made that the government is involved and is sponsoring these killings as part of a grand design to obtain political benefits. The head honcho of the Sindh Interior ministry, who is supposed to be responsible for the security of the lives and properties of the citizens, Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, has already laid the blame squarely at the doorstep of his party’s partner in the Sindh coalition, the MQM, for being behind the target killings.

The MQM, touched to the quick by this blatant accusation, withdrew from the government, and only returned after the Prime Minister himself made the pilgrimage to party headquarters at Nine Zero, though it has so far resisted from rejoining the Cabinet. Analysts are still at a quandary to discover the root cause of the killing spree. Some blame it on land mafia, others on power politics, while yet others consider it flexing of muscles. The MQM, ANP and PPP continue to trade accusations and barbs. The cold-blooded assassination of a working journalist has exacerbated the violence. Targeting the media is fraught with greater risks for any political party since it alienates an active pillar of the state.

Under the precarious circumstances, the head of the state has proceeded to the US to attend the funeral services of a two-bit minion of the US State Department, Ambassador Holbrook. It is enigmatic, since he did not spare time for participating in the last rites of his favourite whipping master, Punjab’s gubernatorial scion Salman Taseer, but he has decided to leave Karachi burning for the healthier climes of Washington DC. He had done the same when 4/5th of Pakistan was under a deluge but he chose to take time out to inspect his private property in France, the 16th-century chateau, Manoir de la Reine Blanche (Manor of the White Queen) built for the widow of King Philippe VI. That yatra made Mr. Zardari the butt of international as well as national criticism for his heartlessness.

It is possible that anti democratic forces are at play in destabilizing Karachi, however, the situation is grim and merits the personal attention of the President. The tension and strain in Karachi has reached such a proportion that it is akin to a loaded powder keg, which can explode at the strike of a spark. The Daily Mail proposes a two prong strategy to defuse the tension. First and foremost, the leaders of all three parties involved should ask their party members to exhibit restraint.

 Blaming each other or hurling the barbs of accusation at each other will work to the detriment of peace, law and order and ignite more fires rather than dousing them. As a second step, the provincial government in Sindh and the other major players in the strife torn provincial capital of Sindh, namely the MQM and ANP should endeavour to pinpoint he origin and root causes of the violence and develop a joint mechanism to prevent its instigation in the future. In order to preserve the democratic process, all the political forces must sink their differences and join hands to stop this wanton killing spree in Karachi. Even the religious parties must chip in. They can muster their forces to launch a “Namoos-e-Risalat” rally comprising millions of people, but they should unite the people on one platform to stop killing each other and propagate a “live and let live” principle.

Source: Daily Mail