With the country’s worse fire claiming the lives of over 250 people, September has turned out to be the bloodiest month this year for Karachi, according to a report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).
The report based on newspaper reports states that 566 people died across Karachi in violent incidents and mishaps in September alone. In August, the figure was 221. Since the beginning of the year, 2,291 people have lost their lives.
Regarding the number of victims of the Baldia factory fire, the HRCP claimed that 267 people died in the tragedy - the number conflicts with the official death toll put at 259. The commission says that 238 male workers, 22 females and 7 children were the victims of the factory inferno.
The month also saw a sharp rise in sectarian killings, murder after abduction, apolitical killings and people killed by stray bullets. In September, 52 people were abducted and killed later as compared to the figure of 30 in August. The highest number of sectarian killings this year also took place in September, with 14 people gunned down in targeted attacks. The previous month was a deadly one for the city’s policemen also as 20 cops were gunned down across Karachi. At least 19 people were killed by stray bullets and 17 were slain because of personal enmities.
While the murders of political activists went down slightly in September than August, 99 people who had no political affiliations were also targeted. Last month, 37 political activists were killed while the death toll was 53 in August.
“Kidnappings and killings are becoming a dangerous phenomenon. People who refuse to give extortion mostly face this type of violence,” said Abdul Hai of the HRCP. Talking about sectarian killings, he termed the Ahle Tasheeh community the most vulnerable one. “A number of Shia youngsters have gone missing. Many others are being shot in targeted attacks.”
“For the affected families, the most disturbing aspect is the lack of response from the authorities concerned,” Hai said. “Police are becoming helpless day by day and are failing to answer people.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2012.
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