Terror Inc

Published: October 19, 2010
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At least 27 people were killed in Karachi on Tuesday. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

At least 27 people were killed in Karachi on Tuesday. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

What is happening in the country’s largest city and its commercial and business heart? For the layperson, the answer would seem to lie in a complete abdication of government authority and breakdown of law and order. In the past three days or so, over 60 people have been killed – or as the phrase now goes ‘target killed’. What that, presumably, means is that these individuals were targeted for a reason and that the intention is to spread terror. In all likelihood, the targeting relates to either a person’s sect or ethnicity and in this bout of violence it is probable that the latter factor is at play. This however begs the questions: who is behind these killings? Why are they doing it and what do they have to gain from it? Why aren’t the police and the Rangers doing anything to stop these killings? Is the Sindh government really that clueless and ineffective that it is unable to stem over 60 people (including at least 10 at one time in a market) killed in a city in less than 72 hours? Had something like happened in a city in any civilised law-abiding nation, there would be a major show of force by the law-enforcement apparatus and action would be taken against the killers without caring for their political allegiances or group affiliations.

The interior minister came to Karachi a day before this late surge in killings. He did the usual: he presided over a meeting to take stock of the city’s law and order situation and made the usual hackneyed statement that the government would catch the killers. He also visited the headquarters of the MQM and promised action to stop the target killings. He went and the next day over 20 were killed. The people of the city, and in fact of the country, deserve answers – and above all, they deserve effective and decisive action by the government against those carrying out the killings and their backers and masters. Given its scope and magnitude and the havoc it wreaks on the country’s largest city, this is really the least any government would do. Failure to act now and stem the killings, catch the murderers and prosecute them will only prolong the violence.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Oct 20, 2010 - 12:05AM

    The violence in Karachi seems to have the entire city hostage. Rightly, said those responsible need to be tracked down, evidence gathered, convicted and locked up, rather than allowing them to hold the country’s largest city ransom to their own whims and agenda’s.

    That said, given the insecurity of an entire city, the media uproar and the concern demonstrated by individual citizens, we should spare a thought for all of those Pakistani’s in the North West of the country who have to live in fear of militants and terrorism. The hundreds of thousands who have been left to fend for themselves as the state abdicated its responsibility to protect these Pakistani’s. Why did it take us so long to act in Swat? When people were arguing to stem the killings there, critics argued that we shouldn’t cow to “Western agendas”. What about stemming the bloodshed in North Waziristan? Are the 350,000 souls, lorded over by the Haqqani’s, smack in the middle of an insurgency and drone attacks, our silence is ominous.

    Its much easier to play politics with the lives of people far off in parts of the country beyond the realm of everyday exposure. When the violence hits home we are shocked by the lack of empathy and reaction from the state and peoples from other parts of the country.

    The perpetrators must be dealt with as petty criminals, rather than extensions of political actors. And thats that, there is no need to even attempt to justify this orgy of violence by framing it in a ethnic-politico picture.I think the people of Karachi will agree to that, and then perhaps extend the same sentiments to the rest of the country. Recommend

  • Oct 20, 2010 - 1:03AM

    Once again over 50 innocent citizens have been murdered in Karachi. The President as usual has condemned it, so has the PM, the CM, and others. MQM has declared a day of mourning and the ANP has made a call that the army be called to sort out the culprits. There will be a meeting of the “Core Committee” , the Rabita Committee, followed by the Interior Minister visiting Karacvhi and the MQM threatening to quit the coalition. After the chorus of rhetoric and condemnation, everything will be forgotten and it will be business as usual. The 50 dead will be mourned for ever by their kith and kin, but for the Sind Govt, they will be a mere statistic. This is the value for human life in Pakistan. In this battle for turf, those killed don’t matter at all. The cycle will repeat after a lull and than another storm. Recommend

  • Ishaq Narejo
    Oct 20, 2010 - 11:57AM

    those rsponsible are sitting in government. all karachi people knows and can’t talk about them.Recommend

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