City of death

Published: July 8, 2011

People have been reduced to the status of mere pawns in this tussle their lives do not matter, the tragedies faced by thousands of families seemingly moves no one. PHOTO: AFP

Violent death, with its shroud of red, once more walks along the streets of Karachi and besides the 15 million people who live there. More than 90 have died within four days — 13 in attacks on three buses. The gunmen who freely roam the streets shoot indiscriminately, though there is, as before, an ethnic dimension to the killings. Political parties have been accused of fuelling these tensions, using murder and terror as a tactic in the ruthless game played out in the city. People’s lives have been paralysed in many neighbourhoods, where a state of siege prevails, preventing anyone from stepping outdoors as the terrifying sound of gunfire echoes constantly.

There have been 490 deaths in Karachi in the first six months of 2011, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, while 748 targetted killings took place the previous year. The latest orgy of death is then neither a new phenomenon nor an unexpected one. What we must ask is precisely what the government is doing to control the situation. The police and paramilitary troops out on the streets seem to be serving little purpose as the violence continues. For several years now, Karachi has been used as a theatre to play out political power games; people have been reduced to the status of mere pawns in this tussle their lives do not matter, the tragedies faced by thousands of families seemingly moves no one.

This simply cannot continue. The rhetoric we hear once again from the interior minister — who claims to know who is the behind the violence ­— and other leaders is meaningless. The words being spouted out have been heard before. They offer no reassurance or confidence at all and the vague promises of ‘crackdowns’ are not combined with any measures that can act to reduce the regular upsurge of violence in Karachi. What is urgently needed is a programme to de-weaponise the city — where there are some 20 million small arms present in the hands of civilians, according to international monitoring groups — make security forces more effective and tame the demons that have turned our commercial capital into a zone of death which poses a threat to everyone who lives there.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • black rose
    Jul 8, 2011 - 11:11PM

    good job editor, nice to see the suggestion of unarming the city. its really very important, i hope those political morons who are responsible for this situation or are being quite at that would see this.


  • john dahodi
    Jul 9, 2011 - 2:07AM

    Looking to the worst condition of Pakistan and killings and burning in Karachi, the founding father; Mohammedali Jinnah must be crying in his grave. Pakistanis have miserably failed him and his dream. If Jinnah would have controlled his emotion, 160 million Muslims of Pakistan would have better lives staying with India.


  • Irshad Khan
    Jul 9, 2011 - 1:22PM

    Recovery of illegal arms is very good idea but its manufacturing, smuggling, supply and sale should also be controlled. There is strong mafia involved in these activities, particularly those who say arms are our jewellery: In this twenty-first century, where do they stand?


  • Rajeev
    Jul 9, 2011 - 2:24PM

    All these killings on the streets of Karachi are being sponsored by CIA and Mossad. Oh, how can I forget RAW !!!!! Because “muslims never kill Muslims” so all these murderers must be uncircumcised Hindus or Christians.


  • mosiqar
    Jul 9, 2011 - 7:52PM


    Please don’t Laugh at this. In India more then 233 districts are inflicted by the Mao’s and many other terror ‘s group. Khalistan is not dead yet in Vancouver Canada still talks about it. Every country have many issue like Pakistan and I think it should be resolve by dialogs rather then violence



  • Arifq
    Jul 9, 2011 - 8:11PM

    De-weaponization for whom? Citizens of Karachi? What about rest of the country, manufacturing centers, supply routes. Dear Editor, your suggestion is sensible had it been isolated events but as we all know this is a country wide problem, more importantly state has demonstrated their total inability to provide protection then why should it’s citizens abdicate their security? Questions that need to be answered.


  • Ali
    Aug 3, 2011 - 2:24PM

    @john dahodi – Failures of Pakistan are not in any way ascribable to Jinnah – these are the failures of our existing leadership. Had there not been a division of the sub-continent, Karachi would have remained a small fishing town instead of becoming a metropolis.


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