The death toll from target killings in Karachi rose to 18 by Tuesday morning as the city saw violent protests on Monday evening.
According to Superintendent of Police Liaqatabad, late Monday night unidentified gunmen opened fire on rangers after the funeral of another target killing victim, Tanvir Rizvi.
The exchange of bullets killed two people and injured two others. Protestors later took to the streets, setting fire to three vehicles near Golimar Chorangi.
Updated from print edition (below)
Target killings jolt already jittery Karachi
With the city already tense, the phenomenon of target killing has reared its head again. At least five people were killed on Monday – taking the toll to 15 over the last 24 hours.
With tensions rising further in the city as funerals of those killed on Sunday night were taken out, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani called Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah and asked him to take immediate steps to restore law and order situation.
According to media office of the prime minister, he also telephoned Interior Minister Rehman Malik and directed him to take note of the situation.
However, the city’s ruling party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), has expressed no confidence in those responsible for maintaining law and order.
In fact, the MQM has directly accused the Sindh home minister and federal interior minister of being responsible for renewed targeted killings and unrest in the city and said they had failed to maintain peace and security in the Sindh metropolis.
Addressing a press conference at Nine-Zero, the party’s headquarters, on Monday, MQM’s Deputy Convenor Dr Farooq Sattar said they were actually responsible for maintaining the law and order situation in the megapolis.Dr Sattar was accompanied by members of Rabita Committee including Nasreen Jalil, Mustafa Kamal, Wasim Aftab, Kanwar Khalid Younus and Dr Sagheer Ahmed. Urging the president and the prime minister to take notice of this issue, Dr Sattar said although MQM has always tried to keep peace and security intact, there are certain elements who wish to see the city constantly cowering under the shadows of terrorist activities. He vowed to foil conspiracies to create an ethnic rift in the city. Dr Imran Farooq’s murder was a big tragedy in the history of Pakistan and MQM leaders and all its workers have always struggled to bring peace to the city, but terrorist elements want to establish that the fresh targeted killings were being carried out in reaction to Dr Farooq’s murder. Notwithstanding the 10-day mourning, Dr Sattar said, MQM workers were carrying out flood relief work. Presenting a breakdown of the death toll, he said that 12 people had so far been gunned down in various city localities, including two MQM workers, three workers of Sipah-i-Sahaba and one of Jafaria Alliance.
Criticising inefficiency of security agencies, he said that gun-toting terrorists were roaming free in the city despite heavy presence of law-enforcement personnel. “No one is willing to take action against them.” He said that security agencies’ silence makes one wonder: If the interior ministry was not involved, why does the government not expose elements involved in criminal activities. Urging the international community to understand the situation in Karachi and try to unveil the real actors behind the conspiracy, Dr Sattar appealed to MQM workers to follow party discipline at all cost.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2010.