The recent wave of violence in Karachi has spread panic in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). Thousands of people belonging to Skardu, Hunza, Chilas and Ghizer are settled in Karachi for the past several years.
“You cannot be at ease, no matter how far you are, when there is widespread unrest for such a long time,” said Minhajuddin, a local politician.
He said the people were extremely worried over the bloodshed, which, due to government’s unwillingness and “hollow claims”, has claimed more than 100 lives in the past one week.
“Where are the police, rangers and government officials?” questioned Minhaj. He added he was really worried about a friend who had gone to Karachi and hadn’t returned yet.
Mashroof Wali, another resident of Gilgit, said he had several friends living in Karachi and he was “really worried” about them.
The largest city of Pakistan, which is known for being poor-friendly, has little to offer to the poor due to the ongoing conflict in the city. With the rise in death tolls, the city has simply become ungovernable, as a result of which the people from far-flung areas have become scapegoats, paying the price for the sins they never committed.
Naes Khan’s son is one such person. He was killed in Karachi last year. He worked at an automobile workshop to earn a livelihood for his family back in Gilgit. However, Naes said, he doesn’t know the cause of his son’s death and whether the police carried out any investigations.
Even though the government has decided to conduct targeted surgical operations in the troubled areas of Karachi, people in G-B are doubtful of the government’s commitment to launch a crackdown against the gangs taking shelter under the banner of various political parties.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.