Turf wars or offshoot of elections?: Violence grips Lyari once again

Kutchi community alleges that its people are being forced to leave their homes.


Lyari streets emptied once again on Thursday as Kutchi residents protested the target killings of their community members. As the protesters burned tyres and threw stones on police vehicles , women were seen running for cover. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

KARACHI:


No matter how the political landscape of Karachi changes after the elections, residents of the troubled neighbourhood of Lyari seem resigned to the fact that the violence that has enveloped the area will not go away any time soon. Over a period of almost six days, 13 people have been killed while those living in the area have become confined to their homes as groups of men roam the streets, terrorising anyone seen outside.


The hostage-like situation started on May 18 when three people, including a 12-year-old girl, were gunned down in Hingorabad - all this while Rangers and policemen continued to ‘patrol’ Lyari. Since then, ten more people have been killed. “The situation right now is very bad,” shared a hesitant resident on the condition of anonymity. “We are too scared, we can’t even think about standing outside our house.”


Lyari streets emptied once again on Thursday as Kutchi residents protested the target killings of their community members. As the protesters burned tyres and threw stones on police vehicles , women were seen running for cover. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

Most of the people who were killed in the firing were reported as bystanders or passers-by or have been claimed by the Kutchi Rabita Committee (KRC). The most affected areas are those where members of the Kutchi community reside in majority, along with Baloch, Mohajir, Punjabi and Pashtuns.

On Thursday, the situation in Lyari took a turn for the worse during a protest held by KRC on Maripur Road against members of the rival group. A leader of the committee, Ibrahim Kutchi, who was in charge of KRC’s Jumma Baloch Road unit, was shot dead. Protesters claimed that the police killed Ibrahim to support the “gangster mafia”. “We went to Maripur Road to register our complaints against gangsters,” KRC leader Hussain Kutchi told The Express Tribune. “But instead, they killed our man - now tell us where should we go and what we should do.”



Seven other people were injured in separate firing incidents and a cracker attack in the area.

Tightening their grip

Residents of the affected areas named gangsters as the masterminds behind the recent attacks. According to them, the rival gang was trying to establish its writ over the areas where they couldn’t before due to the dominance of the Kutchi community.

The Kutchi leader claimed that the rival group was also making announcements for people to leave the areas. “This violence is linked to the general elections as we did not support the Pakistan Peoples Party on behalf of the Peoples Amn Committee,” Hussain Kutchi explained. “Now, that group is killing our people, warning us to evacuate our areas and also threatening to disconnect the electricity and water supply in the KRC-dominated areas.”


Lyari streets emptied once again on Thursday as Kutchi residents protested the target killings of their community members. As the protesters burned tyres and threw stones on police vehicles , women were seen running for cover. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

As always, the episodes of violence have started to take their toll on the businesses in the area. “How can we run our business?” questioned a shopkeeper. “Yesterday, the owner of a burger joint opened his cabin and the gangsters killed his employee and severely injured the owner.”

Denials and dialogues

Meanwhile, the police appear to have been taken aback by the assault launched over the last six days. “I have never seen such a protest during my service in which the protesters open fire with Kalashnikovs on police and Rangers,” Lyari SP Sardar Najam Tareen told The Express Tribune. “We didn’t fire a single bullet - the KRC man was killed by weapons of his own people.”

Police believe instead of force, the matter should be resolved through dialogues.



Lyari police chief said that he also held a meeting with the outlawed Peoples Amn Committee in which they assured the police that they had no enmity with the Kutchi community. “PAC told me that a ‘third party’ was trying to disrupt the peace of Lyari,” said SP Tareen, adding that he will hold a meeting with the elders of PAC and KRC to resolve the issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2013.

COMMENTS (8)

shiraz | 8 years ago | Reply i do request to mqm plz be with krc this is the time u can finish amn commitee and lyari gangwars.i also wish to join mqm to fonish these killers if any mqm member see my comment so email to me on my id
Abid P. Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

@aiman: "police chief had a meeting with “outlawed” Peoples Aman Committee. Don’t expect anything better here." . My friend, I let you on a secret. I cannot differentiate between "men of law" and the "outlawed". Can you really do it?

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