ISLAMABAD: The ongoing surgical operation in Karachi will not remain confined to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) soon other political parties which are believed to have militant wings will be targeted.
The deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi is the result of an enduring turf war between major political parties, says a recent intelligence report that sheds light on how alleged militant wings of certain political parties have wreaked havoc on Karachi.
The report claims that besides the MQM, other key political parties also have militant wings in the metropolitan city.
The intelligence agencies recommend an across-the-board operation against criminals and militant wings of political parties to restore normalcy in the country’s financial hub.
The ongoing crackdown on criminals by the Rangers was launched in light of the report. “The raid on Nine-Zero is just the beginning … soon this campaign will target other militant wings,” said a security official.
In response to the Nine-Zero raid, MQM chief Altaf Hussain accused the military of being selective in its approach to deal with the law and order situation in Karachi and the rest of the country.
However, the security official dismissed the allegation and said it had already been decided that all political parties’ militant wings would be disarmed without discrimination. Under the National Action Plan, all non-state groups will be disarmed, he added.
He said that in terms of fighting extremism and terrorism, there was a clear strategic shift in the approach of the current military leadership. “There is a greater realisation now that for too long have we tolerated groups that use violence to further their interests,” said another official.
PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said his party supported across-the-board action against all criminals, irrespective of their party affiliations. Asked if the PPP has a militant wing in Karachi, Senator Babar said: “All I can say is that there should be an across-the-board operation to restore law and order in Karachi.”
ANP Senator Shahi Syed, however, denied his party had a militant wing in Karachi. “We have given a free hand to the Rangers. If they think our people are involved in any criminal activity, then they should be named and shamed.”
But Syed believes the operation alone is not the answer to the problem. “Unless the Karachi police are depoliticised, the law and order issue will prevail.”
A similar operation will be carried out in Punjab against sectarian groups inciting violence across the country, said an official. A targeted campaign is already under way but it would be stepped up once the security forces establish the state’s writ in the tribal areas and restore law and order in Karachi, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2015.