Before the political parties and their proxies in Karachi decided to indulge in their latest round of bloodletting they might have stopped to consider that outside forces might take advantage of the violence and cause some mayhem of their own. That is what seems to have happened in Malir on April 5, where a suicide blast targeting a senior superintendent of police, Rao Anwar, resulted in the death of four people. It is still not known who is responsible for the attack but all signs point to it being the work of a militant group. One possibility is that the perpetrators belonged to the Sipah-e-Sahaba, as Anwar was on his way to appear in court in connection with the murder of a former Malir Bar Association president who is also believed to have been killed by the same militant outfit.
While the primary responsibility obviously lies with those who carried out the attack, the city’s political parties need to accept responsibility for having created a space where militant groups can cause havoc and confusion. With Karachi already on edge, the fear caused by such attacks is immeasurable. In fact, just a few hours after the attack, rumours arose that there was a second suicide blast in Malir, although these reports remain unconfirmed. Interior Minister Rehman Malik has often blamed a “third hand” for the violence in Karachi, which has always come across as an excuse for the government’s inability to get its own political allies to cease and desist from violence. The Malir attack shows that third parties like militant groups may not be primarily responsible for the violence but that they will certainly take advantage of it.
In light of the damage that has recently rocked Karachi, the political parties need to immediately purge their ranks of armed elements and restore a semblance of peace in the city. Otherwise we can expect to see similar chaos wreaked by militant outfits to destabilise Karachi.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.
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