Security woes: Military chiefs raise red flag over Karachi unrest

Published: March 8, 2013
Despite concerns, the army is still looking up to the civilian authorities to handle the situation.

Despite concerns, the army is still looking up to the civilian authorities to handle the situation.

Despite concerns, the army is still looking up to the civilian authorities to handle the situation. Despite concerns, the army is still looking up to the civilian authorities to handle the situation. PHOTO: EXPRESS/MOHAMMAD NOMAN

Top military commanders on Thursday raised a red flag over the spiralling violence in Karachi and called upon political outfits to agree on a plan to immediately decommission weapons.

Talking to The Express Tribune after a corps commanders’ meeting chaired by Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Thursday, a defence source said “the situation in Karachi has deteriorated to alarming proportions and violence could get out of control if urgent action is not taken immediately.”

The military commanders held “lengthy discussions” on the events that followed the Abbas Town blast as well as the spate of targeted killings in Karachi, confirmed the source.

“It is high time that all political forces in Karachi sit down and agree on de-weaponisation of the city,” said the source. There is a general sense prevailing in the security establishment that the city’s problems primarily stem from the ‘turf war’ between major political parties, the source added.

However, the source said, the involvement of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has complicated the situation.

Yet the army, at least publicly, appears to be treading a careful path. A press release issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Thursday’s meeting focused on professional matters and a comprehensive review of the external security environment of the country.

However, a source familiar with developments disclosed that the top military brass was increasingly concerned about the lack of action by authorities to stem the tide of violence in the port city. The security establishment aired its concerns hours after bodies of two kidnapped Rangers men were recovered from the Mewa Shah graveyard in Karachi.

The slain officials, Hawaldar Muneer Ahmed Bhutto and Aijaz Ahmed Baloch, were from the intelligence wing of Sindh Rangers. They were abducted on Wednesday. A total of nine people were killed in Karachi during the day in separate incidents of violence.

One of the main worries of the security establishment is lack of prosecution of those involved in targeted killings. They believe political connections of the culprits result in them not being punished. Despite concerns, the army is still looking up to the civilian authorities to handle the situation.

A military official, who asked to remain anonymous, said the army had not been asked to take charge of the security of Karachi. “Rangers, police and other law enforcing agencies can still bring normalcy if they can plug the holes,” the official added.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Faraz
    Mar 8, 2013 - 2:56AM

    TTP: ‘I can smell your fear (first heard in Doom 3 by Saboath)’


  • Saleem
    Mar 8, 2013 - 4:04AM

    It is time for the army to do more beside having these meetings behind closed doors. If army is serious about its concerns that it must push to have in charge of Rangers in Karachi “Court Marshalled”, or what ever it is equivalent to that in Ranger. That man is equally incompetent as IG Karachi Police was. Unless house is going to be cleaned now it will be lot worse during election season.


  • Basit
    Mar 8, 2013 - 4:26AM

    We need special military courts that give punishment to terrorists as otherwise civilian judiciary is unable to convict.


  • Truth detector
    Mar 8, 2013 - 4:32AM

    Action, Action, Action…ruthless cleanup. No one culprit should be spared.


  • munaeem
    Mar 8, 2013 - 5:04AM

    License should be issued to everyone.


  • confused
    Mar 8, 2013 - 7:27AM

    We all know the ethnic terrorist who distributed 300,000+ weapons to kill people and not to be used at weddings! Why hasn’t the CJ taken any action?


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Mar 8, 2013 - 8:54AM

    Uncounted innocent people have been killed in target killings, suicide attacks and bomb blasts but Army was waiting for a green signal from the Civilian Gonernment.

    Police and Rangers are not capable to control Karachi situation and this is the only reason that casualties have increased manifolds.

    On the other hand the Chief Justice is also very much concerned about law and order situation.

    To put army into action there are only two ways.

    Either General Kiyani should write a letter and request the Chief Justice to permit army to take action in Karachi or the Chief Justice should ask the Chief of Army Staff to take action and launch a complete operation clean-up in Karachi.


  • Syed Zulfiqar
    Mar 8, 2013 - 9:45AM

    You can not deweaponise culprits. Instead give the weapons to the masses so that they can safeguard themselves.


  • Suheil Siddiqi
    Mar 8, 2013 - 9:54AM

    Wonder what too them so long to notice. Only last week did Nawaz Sharif finally noticed. It has been going on from at least 1987, give or take a couple of years.


  • Mar 8, 2013 - 9:54AM

    According to me De-weaponization of Karachi should be really implemented. Its high time that the parties take note of this.


  • Enlightened
    Mar 8, 2013 - 9:56AM

    The military is rightly concerned about Karachi’s deteriorating situation but what about TTP who despite killing thousands of innocent people including soldiers are not being tackled by them effectively and on priority needs to be answered first ?


  • Advice
    Mar 8, 2013 - 10:24AM

    @saleem @Mohammad ali siddique..

    Dear Brothers, Army can not take over karachi until or unless asked by the Government. Its our constitution which abides Army to take the control of any city on any grounds until or unless officially asked. The base of this Rule is wonderful as it was made to make the public representation and supermacy in making the important decision. unfortunately our Government doesnt not represent the public in real, still army is legally abide by the law to take over khi. Even CJ can not ask Army to take the control, he can only advice the Government or take suo motos against the Government. So its the only Government which is responsible as the public demands Army, Government rejects it for its own benifits for Coming Elections.

    However i think there is no need of the Army, As the Police and Rangers is sufficient. Dont forget IG police and DG Rangers are the servants of the Govt. and they can not go against the decision of Govt. so if they are not peforming its means govt. is forcing them to do so.

    Need of the hour is Change of the Govt. and empowerment of the police, Police alone can bring the situtation to the normal if only allowed, empowered, supported and backed by the Govt. to do so


  • Omer
    Mar 8, 2013 - 12:16PM

    Only thing Karachi needs is a local police.


  • A.M.Khan
    Mar 8, 2013 - 12:42PM

    This is democracy, is anyone asking Karachiites how they want it done?


  • Sultan
    Mar 8, 2013 - 12:52PM

    I remember when Late Naseerullah Babar cleaned up Karachi with Shoib Suddle & Masood Sharif Khattak. The key to the solution is depoliticise police, merit based postings of competent people. An honest & competent IGP+Chief Secretary, in 90 days time Karachi will be normal and peaceful.


  • mind control
    Mar 8, 2013 - 12:58PM


    We need special military courts that give punishment to terrorists as otherwise civilian judiciary is unable to convict.

    Really? The Judiciary very successfully removed a Prime Minister. Why is such a mighty Judiciary unable to convict terrorists?


  • khurram kaleem
    Mar 8, 2013 - 1:12PM

    GIVE POWER TO POLICE AIDED BY RANGERS 15 days is what requires for normalcy


  • liberal_pak
    Mar 8, 2013 - 1:33PM

    SC’s observations, Human rights reports and wikileaks all points fingures to political operating their own militant wings in Karachi. When will state take action against known militant groups of political parties? Real problem of Karachi is terrorist and militant wings of political parties. I wonder how so called middle class educated people of Karachi vote for known Urban party which unleash violence for its vested interests. Karachiites are educated, why are they giving vote to such groups? Is it because of ethnicity which is sole reason to vote for that party? or they are afraid of militant groups?


  • Hina
    Mar 8, 2013 - 1:46PM

    They were sleeping until now buying and selling plots in DHA


  • howzz
    Mar 8, 2013 - 1:56PM

    Army is the savior. Democracy is a Fail.


  • advice
    Mar 8, 2013 - 2:14PM

    @mind control.

    Becuase the prosecuttion is so week. Court will set free all the culprits, if the prosecutor fails to demonstrate the charges. on the oher hand, Removal of former P.M by SC does not mean that our Local and district are honest and competant. so there should be a whole new Judiciary system, whether it is military or Civil court. CJ should also take Suo moto on the local Court system as these courts serve the common man and the only source of justice for an individual.


  • Dani
    Mar 8, 2013 - 2:35PM

    Karachi needs another Naseerullah Babar to clean the dirt. I think army should take control of Karachi itself if the civil authorities do not take action because of the policy of so-called reconciliation. Even though it’s unconstitutional but nothing is more important than the lives of poor Karachiites. Military operation is the only option left.Recommend

  • Pakistanian
    Mar 8, 2013 - 5:53PM

    ‘democracy having its revenge on its own people’?!!


  • Rex Minor
    Mar 9, 2013 - 1:57AM

    Check Mate;

    A prepration to install Mushara, if the civilian Govt. cannot restore order with the help of police and Rangers National guard. The time bomb is ticking. Zarari/ Bhutto has no mre cards left to play. The formation of all parties i.e., National Govt. is the alternative to suppress violence or a military takeover. If there is amiitary take over, then this will trigger off a civil war, no more business as usual and the return of Khakis in the strret of Karachi.

    Both the military and the civies had their chances.

    Rex Minor


  • malik
    Mar 9, 2013 - 3:20PM

    They should transfer control of the police to the core commander karachi which will not only ensure professionalism in the institution but also get rid of political involvement in police.


  • B
    Mar 9, 2013 - 3:38PM

    It’s time to raise the white flag.


  • Rizwan
    Mar 9, 2013 - 4:17PM

    We all are corrupt


  • A. Khan
    Mar 10, 2013 - 12:24AM

    Its better than the white flag they keep raising when confronting our enemies.


    Mar 22, 2013 - 7:27PM

    the people of karachi lost the right to say anything since a while because they have been quiet and done nothing for themselves so far. now its time for other parties to take the situation in their own hands


  • Ishrat salim
    Mar 22, 2013 - 9:40PM

    @mind control:

    Dum… Yusuf jilani removed on civilian case and convicting terrorists is criminal case and need sufficient evidence and witness….both are absent in this case….our police investigation wing is very weak and primitive and prosecution is also weak,no witness comes forward because of security concern….so how do you think court can convict terrorists..? the law is also weak….and law is made by the parliament…and who makes law…MNAs….yes ! MNAs….the politicians of course… some homework before you comment….


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