There is no shortage of tales of horror in Karachi these days – particularly of how bodies of those abducted are being found in ‘gunny bags’, often mutilated.
However, defying this trend is a story of about two dozen abductees that have made it back home to their loved ones over the last 24 hours – alive.
Either something has finally fazed the ‘unidentified armed men’ that prowl the streets of Karachi, or their masters have called them off.
One thing that is certain though: the police and Rangers had nothing to do with their release – not having to fire a single bullet, or conduct raids of serious consequence.
The only possible explanation would have to be that Rehman Malik and the chief minister’s 24-hour deadline for the release of hostages expired on Saturday. But that would mean that the government may have more control over the city than they admit to.
While the reasons remain debatable, few will complain – particularly Danish, father to a 20-day-old baby girl.
Danish, who was abducted by four armed men in a white Corolla on Thursday morning, was released, alive, within 18 hours. He was opening his shop near Gulistan-e-Jauhar Morr when the men abducted him. And his observations while in captivity may have a potent message.
Danish identified his abductors as being of separate linguistic backgrounds. “If I am not mistaken, then one of them was a Mohajir, one was Baloch and two were Pakhtun,” he told The Express Tribune. “[Perhaps] this proves that this is not a Pathan versus Mohajir versus Baloch fight but a political tiff.” They made him sit in the car, pulled a cloth over his head and told him to sit quietly, facing down, throughout the journey.
After driving him around for at least half an hour, they stopped the car outside a house. Danish was kept here in a small, windowless room with only one exit. There was no electricity. Early on Friday night the men returned, put him back in the car and left him on a main road.
“They did not speak to me, it was as if they were waiting for orders,” he recalls with a shudder. “I thought they were taking me somewhere else to kill me. I couldn’t believe it when they let me go.”
When an unharmed, but very shaken Danish got home, a crowd of waiting relatives told him of the federal interior minister’s statement and he understood why he had been spared. His family members who had feared the worst were also surprised. “This means that political parties are using mixed-ethnicity militant and criminal wings to do their dirty work,” mused a relative.
“I was just thinking of Allah and my family while awaiting my death,” explained Danish. “I figured that as it was Ramazan it wasn’t a bad time to die but luckily my time has not come yet.”
Additional IG Saud Mirza did not make the politicians look any better and hinted that it was backdoor negotiations that led to the successful release of the hostages who were taken by political parties. “The police and Rangers also helped return the missing people to their homes,” he told The Express Tribune, refusing to let all the credit go to the kidnappers.
(Read: Killing sprees backed by political machines)
“A heavy contingent of police and Rangers tightened security around the areas where the hostages were being kept at. This built pressure on them and they let the people go.”
The police chief also felt that there was no real ethnicity that these groups target, and that they just look for a good opportunity.
It appears that the relationship between these criminals and the parties is a synergetic one. An official told The Express Tribune that it was not the first time that it has happened. “There is no doubt that criminal groups need political parties and political parties need criminal groups,” he said. “They use each other to achieve their ends.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 21st, 2011.
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