A 30-day ban has been clamped in Karachi on all types of rallies and processions to avert any untoward incident following a long drawn wave of target shooting which was threatening to turn the provincial metropolis into a sectarian and ethnic battleground.
The home department of Sindh imposed the ban on Tuesday under section 144 “to restore law and order and protect the life and property of citizens”.
The order comes into force from June 15. Funeral prayers and processions are exempt from the ban.
Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has issued orders to the police to implement the ban and ensure legal action in case of any violation.
The city’s law and order situation was also a dominant theme in the Senate proceedings on Tuesday where Interior Minister Rehman Malik appealed to the Ulema “to douse the fire of sectarianism in the port city, not add fuel to it”.
The house echoed with lamentation over the recent spate of killings in Karachi. Safdar Abbasi of the PPP talked of the notorious gang warfare in Lyari area of the city and urged the government to do something about the worsening situation in the PPP stronghold.
Zahid Khan of the ANP demanded that those behind the killings in Karachi should be exposed “no matter what political party or mafia they belonged to”. Salim Saifullah of the PML-Q said the government should inform the house as to how many people have been arrested in connection with the loss of 600 to 800 lives in Karachi over the past few months.
Professor Khursheed Ahmed of the Jamat-i-Islami said it seemed that some major political parties were involved in the killings. Raza Rabbani said an international conspiracy aimed at making Karachi a market for MNCs consumers was responsible for the mayhem.
He alleged that the privatisation of the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) was also part of the same conspiracy so that the utility failed to provide electricity to the city’s industrial units and the city became a market for consumer goods.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said some international conspiracies were afoot to destabilise Pakistan. First an effort was made to create ethnic conflict in Karachi and when that failed, another effort was made to create sectarian strife in the city.
He said some people were disbursing money to create unrest in Pakistan. He said now the situation was under control as the Sindh government had taken action and made some arrests.
He said the President of Pakistan had formed a committee that would meet clerics to defuse the situation. He said he was ready to provide an in-camera briefing to the house on the situation in Karachi.
Meanwhile, Senators from Sindh demanded to know which federal authority was blocking the Thar coal project. Maula Bux Chandio of the PPP referred to a statement of Sindh chief minister in which he had said that some forces at the federal level were creating hindrances in the way of the project.
Chandio said the crisis of power shortage in the country has become very acute and in such a situation attempt to stop power generation from the Thar coal is against the national interest.
Raza Rabbani of the PPP said the Thar coal project was being sabotaged because of “an international conspiracy” which was also responsible for the killings in Karachi.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 16th, 2010.