As much as we hate to admit, the fact remains that Karachi has the reputation of being one of the most violent and unpredictable cities in the world – so much so that the word violence is almost synonymous with Karachi.
It is wise to say that the network of ‘armed miscreants’, which is responsible for claiming countless lives, rules major parts of the city. Restaurants, tea stalls, pedestrian crossings or even one’s own home is not considered a refuge because when bullets strike, nothing remains safe.
The aftermath of these killings is even more drastic than the actual killings. Massive operations and targeted raids are conducted by the police force frequently, however, the culprits still remain at large and the killings fail to cease.
A senior level police official, on condition of anonymity, said, “Kati Pahari, Landhi, Sohrab Goth and Baldia all remain extremely sensitive and dangerous. In fact Baldia is more sensitive as it remains a safe abode for Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).”
“It is important to understand the difference between operations and targeted raid. The operations generally are more widespread such as the operations of 1992 and 1996 which were aimed against all the armed political activists/members. Targeted raids are smaller in scope and are specific to a single individual or group. The police encounter in which Rehman Dakait died was a targeted raid because it was aimed against a group of people belonging to a specific group,” he added.
According to the police official, the law and order situation at Orangi is worse than any other town and area of Karachi.
“The situation is critical and it is deteriorating by the day. However, I must reiterate that the problems in Lyari are of political nature and their attribution to law and order is government’s way of saving face. Lyari has always been a strong vote-bank for PPP and people from the area have supported the party through thick and thin. However, MQM has always felt slightly sidelined in Lyari which is why they formed Katchi Rabta Committee, to gain entrance into the area,” he added.
Going down the memory lane, the police official said, “The encounter of Rehman Dakait and his accomplices, along with the conspiracy surrounding his killing, remain extremely controversial to this date. However, it is important to understand that he was killed because he was getting too big for his shoes and Kutchi Rabta Committee along with Arshad Pappu were used as pawns against Rehman by MQM and certain factions within PPP.”
According to the police official, Lyari remains a battleground for conflicting political views and schools of thought. The conflicts between different political parties can be attributed to the ubiquity of violence in Lyari and other parts of the city.
However, Faisal Sabzwari of MQM denied all the allegations and said, “These accusations make no sense and are totally baseless. The question is who is stopping the Rangers and police force to launch operations in MQM dominated areas.”
“Criminals in Lyari are armed. They have access to rocket launchers, hand grenades and other advanced weaponry which is unheard of in other areas. Everything is out in the open and I will reiterate that the Rangers and police are welcomed to invade ‘MQM dominated zones’,” he added.
Sabzwari said that a criminal remains a criminal regardless of his political allegiance and should be reprimanded.
On the contrary, Hani Baloch, a resident of Lyari said, “The problem is that we all are secular people and we believe in coexistence. I would like to reiterate that when Babri Masjid was demolished in India, Lyari was the only area in Karachi where Hindus remained unharmed because we believe in tolerance.”
“We all live congenially and the violence has always been a political issue. Clashes between different political parties are attributed to gang-war; however, that is not the case. Target killing and violence is not only specific to Lyari but since it is not an MQM dominated area, it is targeted and highlighted the most,” he added.
Baloch also said that the operation is claiming innocent lives and representatives of different political parties are still safe.
“To be honest they are only targeting innocent Balochis. A couple of political activists and criminals must have died but innocent people are being victimised,” added Baloch.
The famous incident of May 12, 2007, the day which will always be remembered as one of the bleakest days in the history of Karachi, was also the result of different parties clashing together. When parties clash they refuse to think about the so-called human welfare of the citizens they conveniently rule. The heavy death toll, in May 12’s killings, is sufficient to validate the triumph of party’s agenda on public lives.