Why Karachi is Burning?
By Sajjad Shaukat
Although intermittent terror-acts such as target killings, suicide attacks, hostage-takings, intense exchange of firing between two ethnic groups and workers of political parties in wake of setting buildings, shops, vehicles on fire and sectarian violence have continued in
Karachi since the last year, yet situation in the areas of Lyari has deteriorated in the end of April, this year, where more than 20 people including police men have lost their lives as the gun-battle between police and gangsters continued for eight days.
The criminal militants have been using heavy-weapons like rocket-launchers, hand grenades, machine guns in the areas of Lyari. Besides these arms, police also discovered anti-aircraft guns from some places. On May 3, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik has given 48 hours deadline to miscreants in Lyari in order to put down their weapons.
Rehman Malik disclosed, “There is someone behind the scene who is providing modern weaponry to culprits in Lyari,” and militants, belonging to the banned outfits of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Baloch Liberation Army were creating disturbance in Lyari.”
In the last four months, more than 400 people including several personal of Police and Rangers have been killed by the terrorists in the city ofKarachiin various acts of sabotage. In this regard, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the National Assembly onFebruary 2, 2012that the aggravated situation inKarachiwas the result of a well-planned conspiracy. He revealed that links between the BLA and Sipah-e-Sahaba had been uncovered in carrying out joint terrorist activities, while Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has also indicated “foreign hands” behind theKarachiunrest.
It is notable that on April 5, this year, the banned outfit, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan(TTP) claimed responsibility for 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 were also 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 context, a shutter-down strike was observed in Balochistan. However, the 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 inKarachi.
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 inKarachi. While heads of these parties have appealed for peace in the city, so question arises, why Karachi is burning?
It is mentionable that in 2011, terrorists took the lives of more than 1500 people inKarachi. 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,IndiaandIsraelhad been caught.
In this connection, on July 18, 2011, Rehman Malik, while disclosing the involvement of foreign hands in Karachi, 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 inKarachi, were not permanent residents of the city.
However, we cannot see the civil-war like situation inKarachiin isolation as it is part of various subversive acts, being arranged by anti-Pakistan secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and sectarian violence which also enveloped Gilgit-Baltistan recently. These agencies are in connivance to ‘destabilise’Pakistanfor their common strategic interests.
These secret agencies have recruited smugglers, criminals, employees of the security companies, experts of the psychological warfare, and journalists in order to fulfill anti-Pakistan designs ofAmerica,IndiaandIsrael. A majority of the militants who are committing terror-acts especially inKarachiare receiving training in terrorist camps located inIndiaandAfghanistan.
As regardsKarachi, 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.
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 onJuly 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 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 inPakistan, another aim of the foreign hands is to cripple the economy of the city asKarachiis 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 ofPakistanand policies formulated atIslamabadare not congenial to other provinces exceptPunjab.
Nevertheless, aggravated law and order situation demands a programme of de-weaponisation and detection of foreign-backed terrorists which is essential to curb violence inKarachi. Nonetheless, 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 which is burning.
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