Who are Behind Karachi Unrest?
By Sajjad Shaukat
While various subversive acts arranged by anti-Pakistan foreign elements continue in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and sectarian violence which also enveloped Gilgit-Baltistan recently, unrest has again engulfed the provincial capital of Sindh, Karachi where in the last three months, more than 300 people including several personal of Police and Rangers have been killed by the terrorists in target killings, suicide attacks, intense exchange of firing between two ethnic groups and workers of political parties in wake of setting the buildings, shops, vehicles on fire and hostage-takings.
On April 5, this year, the banned outfit Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility of a suicide attack which targeted the vehicle of Police, killing three Police men including two other individuals. On the same day, three policemen were killed by unidentified gunmen in a separate incident. In the new wave of violence, this year, besides other innocent people, leaders and members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muhttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) were murdered in the target killings, while dead bodies are also being recovered from various places intermmittently. In February, 2012 three Shia lawyers, two activists of the Sunni Tehreek (ST) and a doctor including Baluch MPA Nawabzada Bakhtiar Khan Domki’s wife were brutally killed in separate assaults In this regard, a shutter-down strike was observed in Balochistan. However, the new year of 2012 shows that foreign-backed terrorists who had gone underground for some months due to the collective operation of Rangers and Police have reappeared in Karachi
It is mentionable that on April 4, leaders of the major three coalition parties, PPP, MQM and ANP attended a joint meeting hosted by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, and they ensured indiscriminate action against miscreants in Karachi. While heads of these parties have appealed for peace in the city, so question arises, who are behind Karachi unrest?
Regarding recent violence in the city, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik revealed on April 1 that foreign powers are involved in terror-related activities in Karachi, while Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also indicated that “foreign hands” are behind the Karachi unrest. Rehman Malik had told the National Assembly on February 2 this year that the deteriorating situation in Karachi was the result of a well-planned conspiracy. He pointed out that links between the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Sipah-e-Sahaba had been uncovered in carrying out joint terrorist activities.
In 2011, terrorists took the lives of more than 1500 people in Karachi through similar acts of sabotage. The city was handed over to the Rangers and Police whose personnel conducted search operations in various phases, and seized weapons, suicide jackets, explosives and hand grenades from fugitives’ custody. A number of militants along with huge cache of arms and ammunition, made of US, India and Israel had been caught.
In this respect, on July 18, 2011, Rehman Malik, while disclosing the involvement of foreign hands in Karachi, had openly stated that the miscreants were using Israeli-made weapons for fomenting unrest in the city. He added, “Over 200 persons have been arrested…Israeli-made weapons including AK-45 rifles have been recovered from them.” Police investigations have also pointed out that the culprits, who disturbed law and order situation in Karachi were not permanent residents of the city.
However, we cannot see the terror-events in Karachi in isolation. In this regard, American CIA, Indian secret agency RAW and Israeli Mossad which have been supporting separatism in Balochistan including subversive acts in other regions of the country, have rapidly established their collective network in Pakistan. They are in connivance to ‘destabilise’ Pakistan for their common strategic interests—and to ‘denulearise’ the country after weakening it.
These secret agencies recruited Pakistani nationals who are vulnerable and, giving them high financial incentives to work for them. They have recruited smugglers, criminals, employees of the security companies, experts of the psychological warfare, and journalists in order to fulfill anti-Pakistan designs of America, India and Israel. A majority of the militants who are committing subversive acts in Pakistan, especially Karachi are receiving training in terrorist camps located in India and Afghanistan.
As regards, Karachi, owing 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, and 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 and persons 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. CIA, Mossad and RAW manipulate the ethnic division of Karachi through their paid-agents, while especially leaders of ANP and MQM accuse each other for murdering the people of their-related ethnic or linguistic community.
It is also fault of our political leaders that they raise one after other issue, unintentional benefiting the anti-Pakistan elements to manupulate the same. In this connection, recently question of new provinces in the country started a controversial debate among the rival political parties. On January 29, this year, on the call of the Sindhi nationalists, a province-wide strike was observed in protest against the 20th Amendment bill tabled by the MQM in the National Assembly regarding new province. The Sindhi nationalists opposed it, saying that once this door is opened, more and more provinces will be carved out on an ethnic basis, particularly in Sindh.
While, the ethnic tensions in Karachi between the Pashtun and Urdu-speaking people have also created rift between ANP and the MQM, but the issue of new provinces could peacefully be resolved in accordance with the constitution instead of giving the external elements to exploit the differences.
Nevertheless, in the past few years, aside from gang warfare and criminal activities and violent rioting and target killings have seen a steady increase with some high profile deaths. Each murder sees a retaliatory attack or similar killing. A rise in Sunni-Shia violence has also resulted into several casualties.
Particularly, Pushtuns led by ANP and Urdu-speaking people by the MQM have been fighting against each others intermittently, while on July 26, 2011, six people including activists of Sindh Peoples’ Youth Organisation (SPYO) and those of the MQM were also killed. Last year, accusations and counter-accusations between the leaders of the MQM and those of the ANP were traded in particular and MQM and PPP in general. Some MQM leaders had held the rulers of the PPP in Sindh and at center for inciting ethnic riots in Karachi. As a matter of fact, CIA, Mossad and RAW had succeded in creating and manipulating the ethnic and linguistic division in Karachi. The situation had so aggravated that leaders of the ANP and MQM Chief had requested to Pak Army and Rangers for intervention so as to save the lives of people.
Notably, Karachi is Pakistan’s the 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.
It is mentionable that more than one million illegal small and heavy weapons contribute to violence in Karachi. In this context, first of all, unlike the previous action, a well-coordinated search operation should be conducted with an aim to cut off the supply chain of illegal weapons in the city and root out culprits from the most affected areas. But a programme of de-weaponisation and detection of foreign-backed terrorists is essential to curb violence in Karachi. In this regard, the ruling party should be fully determined to take stern action against the miscreats and outlaws without any discrimination.
Karachi unrest also demands that our political parties including media must stop exploiting various problems and disparities at the cost of the country which is already facing multiple crises of grave nature. And security forces are coping with sporadic battles with the militants in some tribal areas, while our external enemies also want to engage Pak Army in Karachi.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations