KARACHI: More than 100 people have been killed during the last four days in an ongoing wave of violence that has hit Karachi and paralysed life in the port city. While President Zardari has ordered the commissionerate system to be restored in Karachi.
The violence continued on the fourth day even as the city bore a deserted look following a call by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to observe a ‘black day’ on Friday in honour of those killed in the violence.
At a high level meeting in Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari ordered that the commissionerate system in Karachi be restored. While Manzoor Wasan was made the new Sindh Home Minister.
The MQM opposed the move and said they would protest the revival of commissionerate system in the assembly.
Sindh Rangers had received a written notification for taking charge of the troubled areas, to conduct operations and take all ‘necessary’ actions to restore peace. Meanwhile, the police said that they had arrested over 100 people in connection with the ongoing violence in the city.
A Rangers spokesperson said that they will be undertaking operations in the troubled areas with police providing back-up.
Along with the expected arrival of 1000 FC personnel to beef up security, 1000 policemen from Interior Sindh had also been summoned to add steel to the ongoing security efforts in the city.
End of live updates.
Late on Friday, as Sindh’s new home minister visited Karachi, at least eight more lives were lost to the 4 day long wave of target killings while nearly a dozen reported wounded. According to reports a driver was killed while six, including two women, were injured in an attack on a bus near Hassan square in PIB colony. Reports of sporadic killings in new town, baldia town, lines area and Kati pahari were received as well.
As far as 1500 rangers personnel had repeatedly tried to enter the Kati pahari area to conduct an operation and rescue affected families but to no avail.
Karachi’s police chief said that they did not have enough armoured personnel carriers and other equipment to efficiently carry out operations. However, the police will take stricter action against criminals.
Capital City Police Officer, Saud Mirza, while talking to The Express Tribune said that as many as one thousand policemen from interior Sindh had also been called in to help control the law and order situation in the city.
He added that more than one hundred miscreants had been arrested over the past two days, while two miscreants were killed in Pak Colony during an encounter.
The promised FC regiments was expected to be deployed in the city over the next day or two.
A Rangers spokesman told The Express Tribune that Rangers jurisdiction had been extended to the affected areas of the city.He said that Rangers were preparing to conducting overnight operations especially in the affected areas of the city.
He said that the Rangers would be leading the operations, while the police would provide backup. He said that the Rangers have also increased patrolling and snap checking in entire city and flag marches had also been started in the city.
He said that the operation would be initiated at any time.
According to sources the Sindh Government has given special powers to the rangers to restore peace in Karachi.
After receiving the written orders on Friday, heavy contigents of rangers reached the most affected area of Kati Pahari.
Using armoured vehicles rangers took out the women and children confined in their houses and shifted them to safe places.
Sources also said that the rangers have been given the task to restore peace by any means necessary.
President Asif Ali Zardari issued orderes to restore the commissioner system in Karachi.
The decision was taken at a high level meeting in Islamabad which also proposed amendments to the local bodies system.
Meanwhile, the MQM has opposed this decision. Raza Haroon said that MQM will oppose it in the assembly.
The meeting, which included Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Zulfiqar Mirza among security officials.
It is also believed Manzoor Wasan will be asked to take charge as the Home Minister of Sindh.
Express 24/7 correspondent Shaheryar Mirza reported that the overall death toll from four days of violence in the city had reached 95.
The police and rangers were currently evacuating families from the troubled area where intermittent firing was still going on as dusk fell, Mirza reported.
He said that one by one, police and rangers armoured vehicles would venture in to Qasba colony and extract estranged families. These families were then dropped off at Shahrah-e-Noorjehan. Police had promised them protection and the provision of food and other items, however thin deployment of law enforcement agencies meant the families extracted only got a ride out of the troubled area.
He reported that heavy firing was continuing in Metroville area.
The Karachi University has postponed all exams for Saturday.
A Karachi University spokesperson said that all examinations scheduled for Saturday had been postponed and new dates will be announced at a later time.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that the situation in Karachi has begun to improve.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani are holding a meeting to discuss the situation in Karachi.
According to sources, the future of Zulfiqar Mirza was also discussed and it is believed that the Sindh Home minister will be given an ‘important’ role in the province.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rehman Malik briefed President Zardari over the situation in Karachi.
The Sindh coordinator for the ANP, Shahi Syed addressed a press conference at Mardan House. He urged the media to objectively report over the recent killings, naming the areas where the murders have taken place and what reports have been filed with the police.
He said that Rehman Malik had not contacted the ANP during his emergency visit to Karachi. On the other hand, he said that the ANP Sindh chapter was in contact with the Chief Minister.
Syed said that the ANP did not believe violence was the answer and would not want to take up guns. However, their patience was running out.
Responding to questions on whether the 1000 FC personnel promised by the Interior Minister would help solve the situation in Karachi, he said that without empowerment, no institution could be successful in tackling the problem. “If the Rangers are properly empowered, then peace can be established”.
However he maintained that government’s writ was not visible on the streets of Karachi.
Shahi Syed called for a weapons-free Karachi as a solution to the repeated episodes of violence in the port city.
He also urged ANP workers to remain calm.
President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Muhammad Saeed Shafiq told PPI that the local business community is suffering a loss of Rs2.7 billion a day due to the ongoing violence.
“How can one expect the boost economy And improve living standard of Karachiites when law and order is worsening with each passing day?” said Shafiq.
Citing an estimate, he said Rs7 million loss was suffered by petroleum industry in Karachi on average strike day.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has said that the PPP, MQM and ANP are responsible for the ongoing violence in the city and that the parties would have to arrest their own workers to control the situation.
Opposition leader in Sindh Assembly, Jam Madad Ali says the government has failed to restore peace in the city. He said that the interior minister knew who was responsible for violence in the city and that bringing in the FC will not restore peace in the city.
Express 24/7 correspondent, Shaheryar Mirza reports an operation is currently underway at Kati Pahari.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and MQM have submitted a joint requisition for calling a National Assembly session on the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.
The requisition calls for a debate on the worsening condition in the city and failure of the law enforcement agencies in maintaining peace in the city.
Express 24/7 correspondent, Shaheryar Mirza reports firing has not stopped in Qasba Colony despite two police trucks arriving in the area.
Residents in the area are saying gunmen have started going into houses and are shooting people and setting houses on fire. Firing and screaming can be heard in the area, reports Mirza.
Radio Pakistan has started special broadcasts to meet challenges rising out of the ongoing violence in the city, PPI reported.
In case of emergency, people can call 021-99232096 and 021-99230464 for assistance. The helpline will communicate difficulties being faced by the people to the concerned departments.
Thirteen people have been injured as a result of firing in Old Sabzi Mandi and Qasba Colony.
Anwer Kazmi, who works for Pakistan’s largest charity, the Edhi Foundation, said it was difficult to deliver food and water because of incessant gunfire.
“Seven of our ambulances have been fired on so far and one of our volunteers has been shot and injured,” he told AFP.
Local residents in troubled neighbourhoods spoke of their fear, saying they were running out of supplies and could do little but cower at home.
“The walls of my house are riddled with bullets. Many of our household items have been destroyed. Most of time we duck inside the house to save ourselves from frequent volleys of bullets,” said Akber Khan from Orangi neighbourhood.
“We are so afraid. We haven’t slept for nights. One day I was on my balcony, when some bullets were fired at our house, Allah saved me. I haven’t been on the balcony since,” said third-grade student Shaista Ahmed, eight.
“Most people in our neighbourhood are short of food and water. Our children are hungry and thirsty,” fellow resident Mohammad Imran also told AFP, as gunfire could be heard in the background down the telephone line.
Witnesses said many people have started fleeing troubled neighbourhoods to stay with relatives in safer areas.
The worst affected areas are impoverished, thickly populated neighbourhoods in the western part of the city, dotted with construction sites where armed men of different ethnicities are exchanging gunfire.
Malik said both the MQM and ANP had identified troubled areas and the government will focus on these spots after verification.
He said that well trained FC personnel have been called in from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The interior minister said the government was using Google maps to identify troubled areas. He said the law enforcement personnel have been ordered to take action against miscreants regardless of their party affiliation.
He said an operation will soon be launched and no media personnel will allowed in those areas due to safety reasons.
The interior minister said miscreants were using children and the elderly for protection and police was taking action against them.
He said out of the arrested very few had political affiliation.
Malik said the late night operation could not be launched properly due to power cuts in the city.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik is addressing the media in Karachi.
Malik has said that 89 people have been arrested since targeted operations were launched last night. He said out of the arrested 12 were found to be Urdu-speaking, 19 Pakhtun and 3 Baloch.
Irfan Aligi reports that people with injured relatives have been forced to stay at hospitals due to nonavailability of transport and heavy firing in different areas.
Aligi also reports that Bacha Khan flyover, Kati Pahari and Bab-e-Khyber in Metrovile have become volatile areas for those using public transport.
Four shops have been set on fire in Paan Mandi and Khara areas.
Two police trucks have arrived in Qasba Colony, reports Express 24/7correspondent Shaheryar Mirza.
An MQM and ANP leader were involved in a heated debate on a television channel and blamed each other for the ongoing violence in the city.
Irfan Aligi reports sources have said the MQM has issued stern directives to all unit and sector incharge to stay vigilant in their respective areas.
Special watchmen teams have been formed to guard areas adjacent to affected localities.
Aligi reports that people in different areas did not offer prayers atjamia masjids and either stayed home or went to smaller mosques in the vicinity of their residences.
Attendance is low at the offices of City District Government Karachi (CDGK), Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) and Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB).
Aligi also reports that town level offices remained open but with very low attendance.
“This can be summed up in five words – a turf war between political parties,” security analyst Imtiaz Gul told Reuters.
“This is a turf war between the MQM, and ANP and the PPP, for territory – for political space in this big city.”
The Express Tribune reporter Saba Imtiaz says that the Sindh Rangers have arrived in Joona Market. Gunfire has reportedly stopped.
Here’s the Twitter update:
zehrarizvi Annoying that stories about Karachi violence (very city specific–political and ethnic) end with something about the Taliban…NOT RELATED!
Saba_Imtiaz Right, felt like that last volley went off right next to us.
sohails1977 I wish we could have every day in Karachi so quiet and calm like today…of course…minus the violence…well…just a wish!!!
Express 24/7 correspondent Shaheryar Mirza reports that 89 suspects have been arrested in Karachi by police.
Mirza reports that 20 pistols and one kalashnikov have also been seized, and that there are raids taking place in three zones of Karachi according to IG Sindh.
Mirza added that firing resumed again as about four shots are fired in Qasba Colony at the Gazzafi Chowk.
Irfan Aligi reports the Awami National Party has claimed that 161 families have been forced to migrate from District East areas, including Korangi, Shah Faisal Colony and Malir to Pushtoon dominated areas.
Sources have said the MQM is gathering data of people who have been forced to migrate to safer areas and is making arrangements for rations and other essential commodities.
The Express Tribune‘s Saba Imtiaz reports that there has been a volley of gunfire in Juna Market.
Saba_Imtiaz Karachi’s cameramen and photogs are pulling off some heroic stuff today.
hiranajam wow Karachi, talk about being deserted.
Irfan Aligi reports load-shedding has worsened in some areas. A high tension electricity cable has fallen on the street in Qasba Colony.
A police officer has said that he has not been able to go on duty for the last three days as a result of heavy cross firing. He says rations have finished and all markets in the area are closed.
Aligi spoke to another resident in the area who said that families were being forced to migrate to safer areas. He said people will be forced to become IDPs and take shelter in refugee camps if the situation did improve.
The Express Tribune’s Irfan Aligi has reported that the MQM is expected to announce a new schedule for the protest rally and MQM MPAs are also expected to submit an adjournment motion in the Sindh Assembly tomorrow (Saturday). The rally was postponed as a result of situation in the city.
Residents of violence hit areas have started fleeing to homes of relatives located in nearby areas.
There is a shortage of flour, milk and other cooking items in Qasba Colony.
Aligi reported an MQM MPA, under police cover, had fetched rations for people in affected areas. Residents have said more ration is required.
MatthewGreenFT Karachi getting uglier, residents reporting killings in neighbourhoods that have been peaceful in previous bouts of violence
jahanarawattoo Karachi has become Titanic, but whoever doing this, its really not worth it over so many dead bodies
saadbinshahid Inshallah ~ A day will come, when there will be all good in Karachi and all of us will live here happily after forever.
MQM has cancelled the protest rally which was to be taken out from Karachi Press Club to the Chief Minister House.
Express 24/7 correspondent, Shaheryar Mirza reports fighting has spread to different parts of the city, including Kharadar, Banaras, Kati Pahari, SITE, Baldia Town and Korangi.
Miscreants are reportedly firing from the rooftops and windows of houses in different areas.
“What good is a day of mourning? We haven’t had any food, water or petrol in the last three days,” a resident of Qasba Colony said in response to the MQM call for a day of mourning.
There are no reports of Rangers or Police conducting raids. Police is yet to enter some neighbourhoods.
ammaryasir Situation in Karachi is all time worse in recent times but running tickers like: Khi main khoon ki holi etc is only sensationalizing news.
kashaziz Why Dr. Ishrat ul Ibad left Karachi for Dubai as soon as he resigned as Governor Sindh?
bilalshaw Dont you think that the citizens of Karachi must remove the flags of different political parties from the roof..
BinaShah Oh, Karachi, my love.
jahanarawattoo Karachi has become Titanic, but whoever doing this, its really not worth it over so many dead bodies
Three people have been killed near Hassan Square and Sabzi Mandi.
The Embassy of the United States in Pakistan has expressed concern over the escalating violence in Karachi
A statement released by US ambassador, Cameron Munter, called on all parties to refrain from further violence and work towards a peaceful resolution.
tasnimfatima We are sick of being shut down every now and then !
khan_maaz Only if the political parties understand the cost of a strike… Karachi
Pin drop silence in a commercial area Karachi
mirza9 Death toll is increasing by the half hour, impossible to keep up. going to stop updating the death toll. crossed 85 now Karachi
Aadill If there is no writ of the government, and it is the case, Army should be called up to restore the order in Karachi.
The Karachi transporters union, traders association and several petrol pump owners have announced a strike to protest the ongoing violence.
More than 90 percent of the petrol pumps in the city have shut down,Express 24/7 reports.
Major markets are also shut down in the city.
Transporters are complaining the government is not providing them enough security.
Saba_Imtiaz Abdul Sattar Edhi appeals for calm as the city goes up in flames. Again. Dozens of their ambulances have been fired on.
AndieDeArment sad for Karachi today but always amazed by the resilience of the city & its people
baylinveil Ethnic violence in Karachi, offices closed, long weekend. This feels like, well, all of my childhood except I’m not excited about it anymore
Hafsa_Khawaja To say our hearts bleed for Karachi, would be an understatement. Whats the solution to its situation other than massive deweaponization?
NadeemfParacha Karachi quiet. But more birds in the sky than usual. Chalo, something good coming from a strike that’s not a strike is a strike.
shyyawn Any updates on the Karachi situation. Do we go to offices normally or should we wait and see? What’s the scene out there?
Saba_Imtiaz Very little traffic on the roads. Cabbie says he was stopped by some men on Shahrah-e-Faisal and told not go further.
Heavy contingents of police have been deployed in Baldia Town, Ghousia Mohalla and Muslim Mujahid Colony.
All shops and markets in Hyderabad and interior Sindh have been shut down.
Security forces are set to launch a crackdown against miscreants but no arrests have been made so far.
Eleven people have been killed overnight.
One person was killed in North Karachi and a body was found from Soldier market.
Two people were killed in Orangi Town, one person was shot dead in Joriya Bazaar, two in Kharadar, two in Qasba Colony, one near Kati Pahari and two people, including a 6-year old boy, were killed in New Karachi and Baldia Town.
A slideshow of pictures from Karachi on Friday can be seen here.