Indiscriminate Targeted Operation in Karachi
The targeted operation against terrorists, target killers, and kidnappers continues unabated, while the Rangers with the help of Police have arrested several criminals besides capturing huge catches of arms and weapons.
The Present Government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched the present operation after obtaining consensus of all stakeholders like political parties, business community and members of civil society who wanted peace in Karachi. In this regard, Karachi has been handed over to the Rangers with power to take action against the culprits without any discrimination.
In this context, Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali shah said on September 15, this year that the targeted operation initiated without any discrimination and the Rangers and Sindh Police had been directed that even not to spare any person belonging to ruling party, if involved in crime.
On the other side, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Governor Sindh Ishratul Ibad Khan has reportedly submitted his resignation, as MQM dubbed the operation as one-sided action against its office bearers. While, this party had itself supported the operation, and even demanded to hand over Karachi to Army. It is illogical reaction of the MQM which has dominating position in Karachi, and seeks to blackmail the federal government by creating hurdles in the operation. In fact, MPA of MQM, Nadeem Hashmi was arrested on September 10, owing to firing at a police mobile in the Haideri area of the city in which the two policemen were killed.
Following his arrest, on September 11, the protests and acts of violence in Karachi, Hyderabad, and some other cities of Sindh forced schools and business centres to be closed, while transport remained off the roads. Meanwhile, MQM Chief Altaf Hussain who has also been creating prejudices through his misperceptions by inciting the members of his party—termed the targeted operation in Karachi as replay of 1992, alleging that the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) government is once again doing the “ethnic cleansing of Muhajirs.” He further asked the party workers to ‘physically’ get ready to face ‘state oppression.’
No doubt, it warrants political will and a comprehensive action plan to eliminate the culprits; however, demands to hand over Karachi to Army are totally unfounded and unjustified.
It was shocking when Attorney General submitted a government report before the Supreme Court (SC), revealing that Mohajir Republic Army was present in Karachi besides other criminal groups. For face-saving, MQM denied its truth, terming it as ridiculous, while others demanded to launch a targeted operation against criminal gangs using the Rangers and Police. Reportedly, besides MQM, other political parties like PPP and Awami National Party have also their militant wings in Karachi which must be disbanded and criminal elements be brought to books. In this context, Directory General Rangers disclosed in the Supreme Court that a container full of arms was brought to Karachi in the recent past—and the statement given by the Inspector General Sindh that 6000 criminals were recruited in the police by the previous government, make it quite clear that who were responsible for pushing Karachi into flames. Reports also suggest that the PPP, MQM and ANP have their militant wings trying to establish their ascendancy over each other in the game of land grabbing. The resultant turf war among them is the root cause of target killings in the city. So, the situation in Karachi is indeed very complicated. It has criminal as well as political dimensions. The patronage of the criminal gangs by the political parties amply indicates as why no decisive action was taken against them and why the Rangers were not given full powers to deal with the situation in the past. The PPP and MQM were coalition partners in Sindh and the Centre and the former could not act against the militants of the latter due political exigency, and ANP which was a coalition partner in the Centre was also involved, while the PPP simply could not afford to annoy its coalition-parties.
Notably, the political parties and religious outfits have publicly shown their support for crackdown against the militants and terrorists, but there is a possibility that behind the scene, they might try to use their political influence to save their skin. To castigate this possibility, the government should confront the leaders of these organizations with the evidence that is available with it about the involvement of their workers in the targeted killings and the patronage provided by their respective parties and if possible also make it public to unmask their ugly faces. Besides internal dynamics, we cannot ignore external elements which are behind unrest in Karachi. It is owing to this factor that despite the present operation in Karachi, targeted killings of the innocent persons and personal of the law-enforcing agencies continue in the city. As a matter of fact, rational analysts saw an international conspiracy against Pakistan which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Lawlessness in Karachi is also part of the same game. In this connection, impending US invasion on Syria, Iran, situation in Afghanistan and Indian provocations along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir must be implicitly understood in the same perspectives. In this respect, on July 18, 2011, the former Interior Minister Rehman had openly stated, “Over 200 miscreants have been arrested…Israeli-made weapons including AK-45 rifles have been recovered from them.” Police investigations have also proved that the culprits, who disturbed law and order situation in Karachi, were not permanent residents of the city. In fact, anti-Pakistan secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have recruited smugglers, criminals and employees of the security companies who are committing terror-acts in Karachi. They are receiving training in terrorist camps located in India and Afghanistan. As regards Karachi, due to political instability, poverty and unemployment—the jobless youth fall into the hands of criminals who are assisted by the external elements who use them for conducting targeted killings and other violent acts. These internal culprits, some Indian Muslims and foreign insurgents who are particularly backed by RAW have joined the ranks and files of the militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), Sipah-e-Sahaba and other religious sects. They have also got the membership of MQM, ANP and PPP. Besides killing the leaders of the rival religious parties, and attaking the offices of the opponent political parties, these are real miscreants who target the Pushtuns, Urdu-speaking people and even the people, belonging to the interior Sindh. However, CIA, Mossad and RAW manipulate the ethnic division of Karachi through their paid-agents.
In the past few years, gang warfare, criminal activities, violent rioting and target killings have taken the lives of thousands of persons. Each murder saw a retaliatory attack or similar killing. A rise in Sunni-Shia violence has also resulted into several casualties.
In fact, Karachi is Pakistan’s largest port and financial hub with the largest commercial markets, collecting 70 per cent of the country’s tax revenue. So, besides causing unrest in the city, creating instability in Pakistan, another aim of the foreign hands is to cripple the economy of the city as Karachi is intermittently brought to a halt with shut-down strikes—many shopkeepers remain reluctant to open their shops due to violence which is fuelling the flames. Besides, foreign agents misguide the disgruntled elements that national institutions are not made to develop other areas of Pakistan and policies formulated at Islamabad are not congenial to other provinces except Punjab.
Unfortunately, the situation again aggravated in Karachi because the leaders of the political parties started playing their role against each other at the cost of national interests.
Now, a ray of hope has reemerged that peace would be restored in Karachi from the permeating diabolical situation. In this context, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken the initiative to identify the nature of the challenges and the strategy needed in this regard. It has rightly been decided to give a free hand to the Rangers by also providing legislative backing for carrying out operation against the outlaws and to form monitoring committees to evaluate progress. While the personal of the Rangers, who have already been sacrificing their lives are conducting the ongoing operation in Karachi, so by setting aside their affiliations, all the political parties, media and civil society must encourage the operation in Karachi. The ruling party must also not come under the pressure of MQM, as it is indiscriminate targeted operation in Karachi.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power