THE factors that cause frequent shutdowns and violence in Karachi are part of the nebulous and apparently endless war for dominance between different political parties and groups. The damage done and the losses incurred, however, are all too tangible. This week saw yet another round of violence; numerous people were killed and vehicles torched. Tuesday’s bloodshed was followed by a strike on Wednesday during which yet more people were killed and arson attacks carried out. As the smoke cleared and the city started to resume some semblance of normality, traders presented the estimate that the losses incurred over the two days when wholesale and most other markets remained shut, and supplies from the port and from upcountry were disrupted, stood in the region of Rs5bn.

This may be the situation in Karachi currently, but it is replicated with regularity across the country whenever strikes and demonstrations turn violent. Vehicles are burnt, businesses attacked and private property is looted, with the law-enforcement mechanism on the whole standing by helpless. Behind each vehicle, commodity or business destroyed or damaged is a citizen, suffering through no fault of his own. To whom should such victims turn? In the absence of a strong insurance network, he must pick up the pieces and do as best as he can. After particularly serious rounds of violence, state functionaries sometimes announce piecemeal ‘compensation’ that may or may not be enough to cover the cost of repair and might not even materialise. What does this gain for the state, or for the cause of those orchestrating the posturing that leads to violence? Nothing but the further alienation of the people. As a polity, we need to learn that our right to protest ends where someone else’s property begins. As for the law-enforcers, they need reminding that their basic job is keeping the peace.

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Comments (7)

T.Hussain
May 25, 2012 4:06 am
News media has lost the courage to report the facts, the truth, who is behind these crimes. Do we have any govt in Pakistan? May be its in the interest of ruling party to just turn their face and let the infighting among political groups go on. So there is no strong opposition party to question the govt for their misdeeds and corruption, effectively. Its very disturbing for the Pakistanis in USA. They don't feel safe visiting Pakistan. People are robbed and killed in day light ..right at public places as airports, taxi stands you name it. Some visitors returning from Pakistan have told the horror stories. Its a shame to say we have democracy in Pakistan.
Zar Murad Khan
May 25, 2012 5:32 am
When violence brake out in a place then it is difficult to restore peace in this region so I think that those people who have been arrested during these period of destruction and before,must be asked about their network and should be punished in front of the people that one could think so many time to do such kind of violence.But unfortunately an accused is arrested and showed in a tv channel after that either he is released or jailed for some time without investigation.I mean to say that why a gang is not arrested after the member of this has been arrested.Is it not shameful?
Qaimat Karim
May 25, 2012 8:44 am
Violence in Karachi is due to failure of law enforcing agencies, specially police and rangers. We all know who are behind this terror but nobody dares to speak. It is all about political dominancy, every political party want hold in their area by force. If the political parties are themself involved in massacre than who will arrest whom.
Haji Ashfaq
May 25, 2012 11:01 am
Violance, target killing, arson - the political parties are the sponsors. All know that. But all (ALL) are helpless. Crimes are committed by 'unknown' criminals, FIRs are registered in the names of 'unknown' people. Police only cordon areas of crimes, collect spent shells and many a times reported in the press that 'so far no one has been arrested. Hundreds of crimes are committed each day throughout the country but.... the Government (if there is any) is helpless !!!! Another doctrorate of Crime control should be awarded to Dr Rehman Malik. There could be no bigger shame in the name of 'democracy' in this country.
ASHRAF JAFRANY
May 25, 2012 11:07 am
The situation in Karachi in particular is very complex . Due to large number of illegal weapons and their back up cover of so called political, religious and ethnic parties and groups it is very hard for the government o curb this menace . Moreover the Karachi is the hub of Pakistan and the capital city of Sindh province . If it is affected by day to day terrorists attacks and violence the whole country get affect . The new wave of a so called province movement in a province is such a move will let the whole Sindh in particular in the grip of political and economical turmoil . It is the duty of so called national media which calls itself independent and impartial should come forward and portray the picture as it is without being blackmailed or hijacked by certain factions of ethnic and political groups. The so called rating has so for indulged the electronic media in commercialism rather than professionalism.
Malak Ghulam
May 25, 2012 4:40 pm
Like Everybody I too a comment but I do hope DAWN will turn all of these comments to an Action Plan. So I thought Democracy would resolve all problems in Pakistan and Karachi. Peace and Harmony would be projected from Top to Bottom or maybe from Bottom to Top; Power Bearers to Common Citizens or Common Citizens to the Power Bearers. Peace is very HARD and there are always trouble makers that make is Harder. But for even trouble makers they need to find the Unhappy Masses and right now that is the Entire Citizens of Pakistan less those who are in POWER or are connected to them who have the Wealth and Resource to be HAPPY. So what Role is Dawn going to Play. Please denote a list to the action list set small task for the citizens to band together for the Common Good of Pakistan. PLEASE DAWN.
Agha Ata
May 25, 2012 8:07 pm
When some one has a hammer, he thinks every problem is a nail. Take those hammers away. Make it a gun less society. The question is . . . who should do it? The Government? OK, but why isn't government doing its job? It has one of the most powerful army of the world. The ruling party claims it has the best brains in the nation. why can't they make this nation a gun less nation? Why not? I suspect that there are people on the top who don’t want it. Either they use guns against their political opponents or they make money selling guns.
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