Telling figures: Targeted killings drop, deaths by law enforcers go up

HRCP compares criminal activities during targeted operation with rest of the year.

Rabia Ali November 08, 2013
HRCP compares criminal activities during targeted operation with rest of the year. PHOTO: IRFAN ALI/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Criminal activities in Karachi in September dropped by 40 per cent and in October by 34 per cent, revealed Human Right Commission of Pakistan’s report shared with The Express Tribune, which credits the improvement to the targeted operation by law enforcers.

The data has been compiled in comparison with August when the operation hadn’t been launched. The targeted operation was launched on September 5 when the Federal Cabinet gave the go-ahead to the Rangers and police to cleanse the city of the targeted killings, kidnappings, extortion and other crimes. The first phase of the operation, according to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has already been completed.

In the ongoing year, figures reveal that September and October have been the overall least violent months for Karachi. Since January, 2,789 people have lost their lives in violence-related incidents. In August alone, 334 people were killed. In comparison, 199 lives were lost in September and 219 in October.

Targeted killings have also seen a decline, with 121 people killed in August, 73 in September and 74 in October. Same goes for targeted killings of people with political affiliations - 33 were reported in August while 11 were reported in both September and October.

Sectarian killings were nil in the last two months while number of kidnappings also went down, with two in September and eight in October as compared to 14 in August.

While the number of bodies found also went down - 52 in August, 28 in September and 33 in October - last month saw a surge in killings because of the Lyari gang war - 14 were killed in October, nine in August.

October also witnessed two deaths because of bomb blasts, two murders over karo-kari and one incident of murdered after rape, all three crimes were nil in August and September.

Frequent encounters

While the targeted operation has been successful in bringing the number of killings down, the number of deaths in encounters has gone up. Around 12 people were killed in police encounters in August before the start of the operation - 16 were killed in September and 17 in October, the latter being the highest figure of the year.

The HRCP data reveals that while no person was killed by police torture in August, the next two months saw one death each. Similarly, three people were killed by the paramilitary force in both September and October, none in August.

Commenting on the decline of crime, HRCP’s Asad Iqbal Butt said that it was a step in the right direction but a long-term solution was needed so that peace could prevail. “We have seen a rise in sectarian violence at the start of Muharram. The law enforcers should reveal who is behind the violence,” said Butt, calling for dialogue between political parties and law enforcement agencies.

DIG East Munir Shaikh said that the targeted operation has given the police the powers to operate with professional independence. “There is no interference and we have the freedom to operate fully and freely,” said Shaikh, adding that the decline in street crimes was due to the joint effort by the Rangers and police. “Criminals know that if they get arrested, there is no one to save them.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th,2013.


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