‘Not even America can control target killings’

Published: October 18, 2010
Email
One of the people injured in riots late Saturday night is brought to a hospital (top), policemen and women appointed at polling stations on Sunday (middle). The map shows violence in the city. The red marks deaths while the orange dots indicate injuries. Blue marks incidents of vandalism. PHOTOS: AFP/ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

One of the people injured in riots late Saturday night is brought to a hospital (top), policemen and women appointed at polling stations on Sunday (middle). The map shows violence in the city. The red marks deaths while the orange dots indicate injuries. Blue marks incidents of vandalism. PHOTOS: AFP/ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

One of the people injured in riots late Saturday night is brought to a hospital (top), policemen and women appointed at polling stations on Sunday (middle). The map shows violence in the city. The red marks deaths while the orange dots indicate injuries. Blue marks incidents of vandalism. PHOTOS: AFP/ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS One of the people injured in riots late Saturday night is brought to a hospital (top), policemen and women appointed at polling stations on Sunday (middle). The map shows violence in the city. The red marks deaths while the orange dots indicate injuries. Blue marks incidents of vandalism. PHOTOS: AFP/ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: After at least 34 people were shot dead across the city in two days just as the by-election got underway in Orangi Town, a seemingly helpless home minister said that no one could control “target killings” – even if the contract were given to America, it would fail to ensure peace.

Addressing a hurriedly called press conference along with advisor Sharmila Farooqi at Chief Minister House on Sunday, Zulfiqar Mirza said this time around, 25 activists were killed. This toll rose to 34 by day end and all political parties were equally responsible for creating a law-and-order situation in the city.

He linked the target killings to the murders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Izharul Hassan and Mohammad Asif, saying that after these deaths the violence took a turn for the worse. Not every murder is a target killing, he cautioned, adding that some people were exaggerating the situation.

Mirza said that some time ago, an activist was killed near a park and it was called a target killing. Investigations revealed, however, that it was about a love affair gone wrong.

Similarly, three bodies found in a car were also called target killings but extortion notes were found in the pocket of one of the victims.

The police found out later that it was a land grabbing problem. “How can you reach the conclusion within minutes that these incidents were target killings?”

On a Muttahida accusation that its workers were killed by activists of the Peoples Aman Committee, Mirza said that the police and law-enforcement agencies were tying to apprehend the men nominated in the cases. “We have conducted more than four raids, but they are still at large.”

He stressed that it was wrong to say that the government was silent and not doing anything. “More than 60 people have been arrested from three zones. These people were involved in the killings. They are from different political parties and ethnic groups and a few of them are [well known] criminals,” Mirza said.

Fifty-three alleged target killers have been arrested so far and most of them were political activists. Investigations revealed that a majority of them had killed at least a dozen people each.

He appealed to leaders to rid the city of the killers who have defamed Karachi and caused it a financial loss. “I request them to bring the peace back and make it once the city of lights,” he said.

He said that he was neither an “angel” nor did he have a “magic wand” to overpower killers before they commit a crime.

On relations with Abdul Rehman Baloch alias Rehman Dakait who was in charge of the Peoples Aman Committee, Mirza said he had no contact with him. No surgical operation was being carried out against any one group, but the law was taking action criminals.

ANP reaction

Awami National Party Sindh’s Shahi Syed said five party workers had been killed in 24 hours despite the fact that his party had boycotted the elections.

“October 17 is one of the blackest days in the history of Pakistan,” he said at a press conference at Mardan House on Sunday. “[Even] the legendary Hakeem Said was martyred [on this day].”

A bitter Shahi Syed said that even though they had appealed for a delay, they were ignored as “usual”. But when the government had postponed the elections on Sept 22, the ANP had not been asked.

The ANP had boycotted the by-poll because of a lack of security.

“We feel sorry that we are still being targeted and blamed despite the fact that we took the path of silence,” he said.

The ANP was dejected with certain “unbalanced reports” on some television channels, he said, adding that if this one-sided treatment continued they would boycott them.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2010.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (6)

  • ali hamdani
    Oct 18, 2010 - 11:43AM

    I feel sorry for ANP whose 5 workers were killed in target killings. One aspect is that this might be the work of under current terrorist who have de stabilized the commercial capital.Recommend

  • Abdul Nasir
    Oct 18, 2010 - 2:26PM

    My dear Zulfiqar Mirza ,

    There is no justification for you to be Home Minister of Sindh. Recommend

  • Imran
    Oct 18, 2010 - 3:51PM

    This is just washing off the resposibilities by a Govt Minister. Is life so cheap in your days of governance.

    Let me ask you minister “will you utter these words if your son or daughter is killed’ so blatantly.Recommend

  • F. U. Khan
    Oct 18, 2010 - 8:27PM

    Wow!!!! A provincial Home Minister like Zulfiqar Mirza , in a press conference uttered “ even if the contract wass given to America, it would fail to ensure peace”. How would one take this utterance – a sheer cowardice – a parochialism – incompetence or what? This distinctly reflects the entire force of PPP Federal and Provincial ministers, MNAs, MPAs secretaries and advisors are just worthless. All these soldiers of PPP are earning bad name to the staggering government. A bunch of such so called ‘soldiers of PPP’ who are holding the rudder of the government’s ship, will very soon capsize it. And before it sinks to the bottom, all its gladiators will desert the ship. Mr. Mirza is generally considered as worst ethnic administrator. The PPP government should remove him forthwith from his present position and launch inquiries against him for his advertent failure to curb the criminals. This statement of minister is worth laughing a stuff for other equistatus countries.Recommend

  • maliha h
    Oct 19, 2010 - 10:21PM

    Dear America,
    We don’t need your bombs to send us back to the stone age.. we can manage to do it ourselves, thank you very much.
    good point f.u.khan by the wayRecommend

  • Hafiz shah Ali
    Oct 20, 2010 - 8:05PM

    Dear Home Minister,

    It is obvious that you have failed in your responsibilities. You should tender your resignation as people in democratic civil societies do.

    As citizens we only want peace and safety; evidently we are getting neither.

    Thank you in anticipation.Recommend

More in Sindh