KARACHI: At least 22 people were killed in the last 24 hours in the city, including Geo News reporter Wali Khan Babar. Since then, the situation Karachi has been tense and the two main parties, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Awami National Party, have once again resorted to verbal sparring.
For its part, the MQM, in a press conference on Friday to discuss the worsening law and order situation in the city, alleged that more than 21 Urdu-speaking men were targeted and killed in the last 24 hours.
Addressing the press conference at the Khursheed Memorial Hall, MQM’s deputy parliamentary leader in the Sindh Assembly Faisal Subzwari condemned the target killings and said the murders were a conspiracy to paralyse the city’s economy and to start a fresh wave of ethnic violence.
Condemning Babar’s murder and the attack on ANP office-bearer Bashir Khan, Subzwari demanded a “high-level impartial inquiry” into the murder of the journalist — who, he said, had reported the Pehlwan Goth violence and a clash between two Pakhtun groups there.
Subzwari claimed that Babar was murdered because he reported the clash between ANP and the Mudasir chief group.
“If we accept the allegations of the ANP leadership about the killing of Wali Khan Babar, then Mian Iftikhar should also accept the fact that Bashir Khan was targeted at the Micasa Apartments area, which is the centre of ANP workers,” he stressed, regretting the allegations of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa information minister against MQM.
He asked the ANP leadership to come clean about their interests in Pehlwan Goth. “The ANP has failed to control the law and order situation in Khyber-Pakhtunhwa and in an effort to hide their failings, they like to raise the issue of target killings in Karachi,” Subzwari said.
“Why does the ANP give a freehand to their activists who kill Urdu-speaking people in Orangi Town, Rabiya City, Banaras, Katti Pahari and other areas?” he asked.
ANP press conference
ANP Sindh chapter president Shahi Syed has demanded strict legislation to purge Karachi of both licenced and illegal weapons and make the city safe.
Addressing a press conference at his residence, Mardan House, on Friday, he expressed concern over the murder of Wali Khan Babar and paid tribute to him. He demanded investigative agencies inform people of the “hidden facts” behind his assassination and expose the people behind it.
“Target killings have shot up during the last few days and the ANP has lost eight workers in the last 10 days,” he said. On January 13, our party’s acting general secretary and his guard was also attacked, he added. “We have asked the authorities to take the target killings seriously but they cannot do anything due to their political needs.”
According to Syed, the basic reason behind the target killings is extortion money.
The extortionists kill their rivals and innocent people to create terror so that they can achieve their aims easily. “As long are these extortionist groups and mafia are in the city, there is no chance of peace.”
The ANP appeals to the authorities and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to play their role and provide protection to the innocent people of the city, journalists and politicians, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2011.