Karachi unrest: Cabinet’s nod for ‘surgical operations’

Published: August 24, 2011
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Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani chairs the cabinet meeting held at the PM Secretariat in Islamabad on Wednesday.
PHOTO: PPI

Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani chairs the cabinet meeting held at the PM Secretariat in Islamabad on Wednesday. PHOTO: PPI

Prime Minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani chairs the cabinet meeting held at the PM Secretariat in Islamabad on Wednesday.
PHOTO: PPI Rangers unit moves to a target location for conducting search operations. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS Residents shout slogans on a street during an operation by the Rangers against criminal gangs on August 24. Politicians, industrialists and citizens stepped up calls for the army to intervene to quell violence destabilising Karachi, where more than 100 have been killed in a week. PHOTO: AFP
Paramilitary soldiers escort a man with a covered face towards a ranger's van after being detained during a house to house search in Karachi August 24, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS Paramilitary soldiers guard men with covered faces as they sit at the back of a ranger's van after being detained during a house to house search in Karachi August 24, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS Several suspects have been arrested and a large cache of illegal arms has been seized. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/FILE
ISLAMABAD: 

The federal cabinet approved ‘surgical operations’ in nine identified areas of Karachi against target killers and decided to mount the crackdown indiscriminately – transcending political considerations. However, the identity of the localities where the operations are to be conducted have not been disclosed.

The cabinet also resolved that it will not allow Karachi to become hostage to terrorists.

Announcing these decisions at a press briefing on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said that with the support of the law-enforcement agencies, the situation in the troubled city would normalise and that there was no need for the army to step in. “We don’t want to give Karachi a new wound by calling out the Army,” she said.

A ‘Youm-e-Dua’ (Day of prayers) will be observed on Jumatul Wida for peace in the city. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has appealed to religious scholars and clerics to offer special prayers for peace and stability in Karachi.

She defended the government’s decision not to invite the Army to stop violence in Karachi by saying that it would merely be a cosmetic treatment while political solution was the only lasting way out.  “Military operation in Karachi could only be a temporary solution but the government was trying to find a permanent answer to the issue through political means,” Awan said.

“We cannot be dragging the army to every city where there is instability,” she added. Army actions in Karachi in the past could not deliver the desired results.

(Read: ‘Army under no circumstances’)

Responding to a question, she said that the Pakistan Army was an important national institution which had always come to the aid of the civil administration whenever its help was needed. The Army had rendered unprecedented services for the nation in fight against terrorism and during last year’s floods, she added.

She quoted the prime minister as telling the cabinet: “A handful of people cannot be allowed to take the country hostage. Action had to be taken to eliminate gangsters and target killers.”

The minister said that the Sindh government wanted to utilise the services of Rangers, police and other civil law-enforcement agencies to restore peace in the metropolis. These agencies would get to the bottom of the matter and even expose foreign sponsors involved in Karachi violence.

She said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik is in Karachi overlooking special cells called ‘operation rooms’ that are being established for these culprits. Once caught, the criminals would be exposed and their credentials along with affiliation of groups would be shared with the media. “Nothing would be hidden,” said Awan.

She told a questioner that it was the right of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leadership to decide when they wanted to rejoin the coalition governments at Centre and the Sindh province.

(Read: No timeframe yet for MQM’s return)

Taking a potshot at some politicians, she said the leaders should not talk through the media but instead call each other directly.

While briefing about some other decisions taken during the cabinet meeting, Awan said that a committee was being formed under the chairmanship of finance minister which would be meeting regularly to work on steps to end load-shedding in the country. The cabinet also approved the financial document for the 425-MW power project at Checho Ki Malian and Nani Pur.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Dee
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:42AM

    Note for terrorists: Run to other areas while they kill time in these four areas and go back to these areas while they shift their attention to other areas.
    Note for government: Don’t forget to announce each and every move you make so that ‘dear extortionists’ can plan accordingly.
    Note to public: Pray, that’s all we can do!

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  • Aamir
    Aug 24, 2011 - 12:08PM

    Why not keeping things secret? The real ones might have been tipped earlier to leave the raid targets. We will see cosmetic actions only though this might calm situation for few weeks. Karachi will not be clean untill these bhatta mafias are kicked out for ever and regular search operations are carried out.

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  • azhar
    Aug 24, 2011 - 12:10PM

    I simply dnt understand that y there is no operation going on in lyari bcz of ppl leaves their doing protests they should strt operation in lyari as well bcz every one knows where mafia leaves n who is protecting them :@

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  • Aug 24, 2011 - 12:32PM

    MQM had strike yesterday so that everyone could hide their weapons in other places. Security forces were also having a sleep day yesterday. So what is the use of this farce, Mr. Prime Minister.

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  • Nasrat Baloch
    Aug 24, 2011 - 12:37PM

    @azhar: Everyone in Pakistan knows where the Mafia HQ is (90) so why not start from there? you ask sahi sayed , Munnwar Hassan , Nawaz Shareef, IM Khan, Agencies Sunni Thereek &Sindhi Nationalists all will tell you that where terrorists breed and who has been taking bhatta since 80s, who use to send sacked-tied boddies of rival groups. Untill last month there was no name of lyari and killing was going on on the street then who was responsible? who killed 45 persons on 12 may and who burnt lawyers on their chambers? yes lyari people wount allow you to kill them and go safe not at all.

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  • woohoo
    Aug 24, 2011 - 12:48PM

    I know that Pakistanis dont believe in karma. But, this looks like Mumbai attacks + compound intrest
    And Karachi is indeed the financial capital

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  • ali
    Aug 24, 2011 - 12:55PM

    MQM must have already moved its target killers and their arms and ammunition to its hideouts!!!
    AMAN COMMITTEE is not letting the rangers enter liari for the operation!!!
    What a SAD and SLOW response!

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  • MAK
    Aug 24, 2011 - 12:57PM

    “…with the consent of political parties” – Please tell your hitmen and terget killers to go in hiding or flee before we start the operation. This is what it actually means!

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  • Arsalan
    Aug 24, 2011 - 1:07PM

    we all can agree on this that these terrorists belong to our parties like MQM ANP and PPP….ANP does not use voilence to get votes in peshawar….PPP cant use voilence to get voles in interior sindh punjab or baluchistan…… so why does they do it in karachi …. cuz the most powerful party in karachi has the power not only cuz of sum real supporters but cuz of weapons, threats , voilence and fear too…. so if ANP or PPP wants a share of karachi …they ll have to go the same way…. CAN nawaz sharif have 5 seats in karachi without weapons? things should not be like this … but unfortunately…. ALLAh save us ALL

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  • xOYA
    Aug 24, 2011 - 1:14PM

    What a Shame that Rangers could not handle The Lyarians .

    No Army & now these rangers could not act well. Prime Minister looked like a puppet waiting for his strings to be Pulled.

    What a Country where citizens are left alone with these Gangsters & all know who these Gangsters & Bhatta Collectors are

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  • Lobster
    Aug 24, 2011 - 1:22PM

    So peace for let’s say 10 days? Who says terrorist don’t need a break? Dear extortionists, your patron in government will allow you enough break.Please have vacations in peaceful areas before returning back!

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  • hammad
    Aug 24, 2011 - 1:51PM

    do surgical strikes in Lyari damn it…. Rangers are paramilitary soldiers not CDGK milk price controller, who left the area after protest by locals….!!

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  • azhar
    Aug 24, 2011 - 2:39PM

    @nusrat baloch all are same every party but the thing is that Govt should do operation in all areas of karachi nt in 9 specific area n you can see that no police or ranger is allow to enter in lyari or in old golimar bcz of protest n now we should forget (90) n lyari the main thing is this govt should wipe out khi do search operation visit every buildings, bungalows, each n every single place of khi. only thing i can say is I love my city khi n every one is Pakistan no mahajir, baloch, pathan , sindhi, punjabi, if some body ask u how r u we should nt say majahir or wht every they belong to we should say that i m Pakistani, if we all strt saying this i m asure that then there will no killing of Innocent ppl :)

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  • grinz09
    Aug 24, 2011 - 3:38PM

    Lyari mafia succeeds in their blackmail. This whole operation will be doomed for failure.

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  • grinz09
    Aug 24, 2011 - 3:47PM

    strong text “She said that earlier on political groups were collecting extortion but in recent times the Peoples Amn Committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party had transformed in to a ‘Bhatta Committee’ to collect extortion money by terrorising the people of Karachi.”
    — ASMA JAHANGIR, CHAIRMAN of HRCP for many years

    So now it is apparent why Sindh Govt will be reluctment to have operation in Lyari.

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  • antony
    Aug 24, 2011 - 3:48PM

    I thought Pakistan is an islamic republic where during ramzan people should not eat in the public else arrested just for eating food .But you see Killing people in ramzan by fellow muslim is allowed !!!. No Islamic cleric is raising fatwa on “karachi killings” where muslims are killed in ramzan .Govt is ready to say Leave the place to killers but ready arrest the people who eat food during ramzan day times.

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  • grinz09
    Aug 24, 2011 - 6:20PM

    @Nasrat Baloch:
    What have you got to hide in Lyari? Why are rangers not being allowed there?

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  • Amjad
    Aug 24, 2011 - 6:38PM

    @antony: Haven’t you seen Muslim countries? Look at Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Kirgistan; Don’t forget about Iran, Afghanistan and Somalia. Muslims killing Muslims is allowed year round- even in Ramadan. Sad but true. Think about the killings in other cities in Muslim countries; it’s even worse than Karachi which is a city of 20 million.

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  • Pragmatist
    Aug 24, 2011 - 7:14PM

    There was a tv report on a Pakistani channel about the fate of the police inspectors who were involved in “cleaning” up Karachi in the mid-nineties. Not one of them were left alive. They were all targeted and killed. That’s the reason why the police and Rangers are afraid to catch the real killers. They will catch a few innocent people and put them in jail for the TV cameras. The real killers will remain at large.

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  • Aug 24, 2011 - 8:02PM

    You are invited to please think about it.
    that is reality attributed to the incident recently occurred in Lyari.

    On the routine,rangers and police contingent was going on in a vehicle,
    target killers already in the way,waiting them,on the approaching near,they fired
    on the vehicle,resulting in 5 rangers/police men were martyred at the spot/

    There was encounter,and after serious combat,police and rangers captured them
    some of them managed to flee.

    Interior minister announced on the occasion,the person arrested would show the public
    appearing on the media.
    Now the question before us is that who is responsible for the entire unrest in the city,called financial hub of Pakistan.

    According to my anxious consideration,it is very hard to control such elements who have such powerful approach and support,rangers and police are not enough for their total mayhem ,so for this purpose military action is indispensable.

    Our constitution,in view of such condition granted permission in this connection.Recommend

  • Hatim
    Aug 24, 2011 - 8:03PM

    How many hours before they are released?

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  • Imran
    Aug 24, 2011 - 10:01PM

    I would request media to show these culprits.

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  • Grace
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:06PM

    Note to terrorists and criminals; just find some newspaper guy and tell them that your weapons are plastic so if the Rangers try to arrest you, you can bet let off. This is what the public really wants. They say they want peace and order but then they support criminals over the Rangers!

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  • Shahid
    Aug 25, 2011 - 12:42AM

    People of Karachi have been taken hostage by these three political parties: MQM, PPP and ANP. It looks like, culprits of this killing are in these parties and they probably have blessing of their leaders. This needs to be investigated, but the irony is who will investigate? These monsters can destroy the whole city. These parasites have no value for human life. The ultimate responsiblity lies with the existing governing authorities. Citizens of Karachi, and for that matter citizens of Pakistan can request United Nation to look into this horrifying situation and help them to get rid of these life sucking monsters.

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  • far
    Aug 25, 2011 - 1:19AM

    .now i get it why altaf said ek mahine ka raashan jama kar lo

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  • Cautious
    Aug 25, 2011 - 1:22AM

    I suppose this is “surgical operation” Pakistani style. Use a fancy name that connotes a well thought out professional operation – you get lots of press – make a small number of arrests – and then are driven out of the neighborhood by a bunch of women. Go figure.

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  • syed hasan atizaz
    Aug 25, 2011 - 4:38AM

    saab gol mal hai bhai saab gol mal. –

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  • Rao
    Aug 25, 2011 - 5:43AM

    But why women participating? It seems Rangers chose wrong area to initiate action.

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  • Jehanzeb
    Aug 25, 2011 - 7:37AM

    What a farce!

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  • Save Karachi
    Aug 25, 2011 - 8:45AM

    No entity can be trusted except the ARMY. People of Karachi are being cheated by their leaders and politicians. Karachi has been wounded and is bleeding. Rangers and police are political and controlled by politics, while Army is not. The constitutions will allow the Army to step in. Army must step in atleast for some time to stop the bleeding and heal the city of Karachi. With so much destruction and bloodshed . . what more proof does the Army need? Enough is Enough . . .stop the cruelty and genocide! If there is political hand in this genocide, then the Army should force its way into Karachi without any hesitation and the public will Welcome them with open arms!!

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  • RizwanTKhan
    Aug 25, 2011 - 10:40AM

    City is in Red Alert situation and our PM and other fools are having gazillion meeting to decide whether to take action or not. Actually they are giving time to hide these culprits who are undoubtedly member of these (MQM,ANP,PP) parties. Stop fooling public, PM.

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  • syed Imran
    Aug 25, 2011 - 10:53AM

    Govt has taken so long in deciding what action to take,this also seems deliberate and now loud announcements about the impending surgical operation to allow opportunity to the target killers to move away from these areas and avoid being killed or apprehended.
    Net result zero as these target killers would reappear after a few days to repeat the scenerio.

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  • JIK
    Aug 25, 2011 - 11:12AM

    This whole operation will be fail because the Rahman malick sb is just like acting hero.. Every single person knows in Karachi that MQM is big arm wing to control the whole city .. Unless GOVT not clear and swept through MQM .. no rest is possible in Karachi.. ANP & Liyari gang war are small fishes only MQM is big fish.. After eid all activities will be again started..

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  • Jin baba
    Aug 25, 2011 - 11:49AM

    Rangers should first remove the barriers which are installed on each street to make NO GO AREAS…

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  • ETReader
    Aug 25, 2011 - 12:21PM

    When the london leadership has the capability to shutdown the whole city on one call, then why it doesn’t call target killers to leave their weapons ???

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  • Aug 25, 2011 - 1:12PM

    The solution to the Karachi’s problem is de -weaponisation of Karachi if the Government has the will to do so.

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Aug 25, 2011 - 2:20PM

    Interior Minister Rehman Malik is in Karachi overlooking special cells called ‘operation rooms’ that are being established for these culprits. Once caught, the criminals would be exposed and their credentials along with affiliation of groups would be shared with the media. “Nothing would be hidden
    This is once again just a statement like many previous ones.Recommend

  • Imtiaz Rasool
    Aug 25, 2011 - 8:44PM

    The tragic situation in Karachi has not changed much since the mid-1980s when the city was first engulfed in ethnic conflict. People hailing from different ethnic backgrounds have made Karachi their abode because of job opportunities. Ethnic tensions, fuelled by an ethnic group wrongly termed as political party, have grown over the years, often bringing the seat of economic power to a grinding halt. This ethnic group always ostensibly fuelled ethnic violence to safeguard its own interests. Since its inception Karatchiis did not breathe a single sight of relief. It always kicks off volatile activates and starts blame game, more precisely the policy of beat and weep. It has promoted a culture of ethnic violence, plunder, murder, extortion and target killing. After pushing Karachi into complete turmoil demanding military’s deployment in Karachi, which is totally out of question. Army is there to safeguard territorial integrity not to interfere in civilian issues. Furthermore the army is not trained for urban warfare but to fight the enemy where every bullet has to be accounted for. It will be in the interest of the country if all political parties support government in restoration of peace rather than political point scoring. Recommend

  • Karate kid
    Aug 25, 2011 - 11:15PM

    @Imtiaz rasool -The modern warfare also includes urban warfare. This Urban warfare has been happening since quite sometimes in various parts of Pakistan and to say Pakistani Army is not trained in this is insane – on the contrary they have received excellent on the job training fighting insurgents. Not to worry, Army knows best and is well trained in all aspects of the war living in this rough neighbourhood of hot spots!!Recommend

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