Despite the various meetings held over the last few days to discuss the situation in Karachi and the reassurances meted out that violence would be controlled, just the opposite has happened. We are seeing a return to the city’s most troubled times, with bodies in gunny bags turning up in street corners and the sound of gunfire filling the air. At least 30 people have died within a day, following the murder of former PPP MNA Waja Kareem Daad in Lyari on the morning of August 17. Police report that bodies in bags have turned up in various parts of the city – left there by unidentified persons even as helpless security personnel watched. This is a situation Karachi has witnessed in the past and one that its residents would have preferred not to witness again. Worse still is the fact that the shootings are continuing, with no indication as to when they will end. The toll seems certain to climb; more bodies are likely to turn up. The gang warfare is currently focused in Lyari but other localities are also affected and the radius could spread over the coming days.
The question is, what is to be done now? The same query has been made many times before over the past year. No answers have so far been provided; promises have been proved to be nothing more than rhetoric. The situation is an unacceptably dangerous one for the country as a whole, and of course for Karachi in particular. There has been far too much mismanagement of affairs in the city, allowing tensions to heighten and the wave of death to grow in size. It is essential that a strategy be devised to end the mayhem. Security forces at the moment appear to be unable to do anything at all. We wonder why this is the case. Their performance and abilities need to be reviewed. At the same time, all political parties involved need to adopt a more responsible attitude and play a role in ending the spree of killings that have taken so many lives and left behind a trail of terror.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2011.