The various kinds of violence that confront Karachi form a puzzle that seems to be becoming increasingly difficult to understand, let alone unravel or solve. The situation is further complicated because the precise contours of the violence keep changing. Sometimes, it assumes sectarian dimensions, while at other times it takes on an ethnic or social shape. This multi-dimensional picture makes matters very difficult to comprehend and even more difficult to tackle with any degree of lasting success. Certainly, so far, the authorities have failed in all endeavours to either identify or resolve the source of this violence and mayhem.
However, the latest episode of blood-letting to shatter Karachi was relatively easier to comprehend since it was quite evidently political in nature. The Awami Tehrik, which faced the brunt of the attack in which at least 12 people died and another 35 were injured, had been staging a rally to protest recent demands, by hitherto unknown quarters, for a Mohajir province in Sindh, while also protesting the operation in Lyari. The president of the party, Ayaz Latif Palijo, had announced some days ago that his party would hold the rally following which he said he had been receiving threatening phone calls. The banned Peoples Amn Committee, the PML-N and other groups had joined the protest, as had other smaller forces to support the cause. Even though the situation turned brutal, the threat of greater violence lies ahead. Perhaps not entirely unnaturally, the Awami Tehrik has vowed to avenge every drop of blood that was shed. The last thing we need in Karachi, or any other city for that matter, is of course, yet another bloodbath.
The question, of course, is how to stop it. Hatred and anger flows in streams through the streets of Karachi. In fact, it appears as though this terrible tide is spreading. We have seen Pathans pitched against other groups, Sunni extremists targeting Shias and now we have Sindhi nationalists entering the fray in a deeply divided province. No one seems to hold the ends of the rope that can tie it back together and this is, perhaps the most dangerous reality of all given the growing volatility of the situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.
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