Social Sciences
Volume 5, Issue 2, April 2016, Pages: 7-15

Target Killings in Karachi, Pakistan

Muhammad Anjum Saeed*, Rao Nadeem Alam

Department of Anthropology, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Email address:

(M. A. Saeed)

*Corresponding author

To cite this article:

Muhammad Anjum Saeed, Rao Nadeem Alam. Target Killings in Karachi, Pakistan. Social Sciences. Vol. 5, No. 2, 2016, pp. 7-15. doi: 10.11648/j.ss.20160502.11

Received: February 5, 2016; Accepted: February 29, 2016; Published: March 28, 2016


Abstract: Target killing has become a worse phenomenon and it is difficult to justify the state’s atrocities against her citizens. States are adopted this tool for controlling uprising and mutiny within the legitimate boundaries. This paper tries to find out the basic reasons for target killing. This paper also instigates the rise of ethic extremism in Pakistan particularly in Karachi.

Keywords: Target Killing, Karachi, Terrorism, Money Extortion & Crime


1. Introduction

Target killing is considered an intentional act of killings which is done by a state and a group of people inside the country against its indigenous population. In today’s world, target killing has been adopted as a tool to control over the mutiny against the state and law. Target killings have a long history of aggression against the humanity. In the 1990s, targeted killings were used as a war tool in Somalia, Rwanda and in the Balkans during the Yugoslav War [1] Targeted killings have also been adopted as an apparatus for controlling narcotics traffickers in the United States but the authenticity of targeted killings have always remained dubious. Perhaps this kind of killings have become a common phenomenon for achieving certain goals. For example, the killings of innocent Palestinians by the Israel army are considered to be a part of their defense strategies which they have been using for decades [2]. Pakistan has a history of violence since its inception when thousands of Muslims lost their lives in the result of partition. The worst kind of sectarian killings became the part of history which could not be ignored. Later many incidents took place where innocent people have been killed in the name of religion, political affiliation, ethnicity and linguistically. During the war in Vietnam (1956-1976), the U. S intelligence agency (CIA) used targeted killings as a vital component of the Phoenix Program that was attempted to get rid of Vietcong sympathizers. According to different estimates more than 40,000 persons were killed under this program [3]. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U. S, the Bush Administration reviewed the policy to become more acceptable adopting targeted killings as a tactics of war against terrorism [4]. The phenomenon of target killings have different definitions for depending upon how it is perceived and used for different circumstances. First it’s against the killings of humanity but simultaneously, it is being used against the terrorist around the globe.

Pakistan has been facing economic instability for the last two decades; therefore the government of Pakistan has come under fire from outsider, sectarian and racial elements that are fueling the fire of hatred and disgust nationwide [5]. The utmost acts of discriminating crimes have been reorganized in many parts of Pakistan, where people are being killed in the name of religion and ethnicity. The law enforcement agencies have completely failed to control over the killings of innocent people and target killers are operating their network freely where as they want. Metropolitan city Karachi and largest city in Balochistan Quetta are the main examples of such atrocities where even the law enforcement authorities are ineffective in finding the responsible for the deaths of innocent people. Although there are many who beg to differ regarding such anarchy calling it circumstantial homicide not target killing. Karachi has become the multicultural place in Pakistan that has been serving as a home to Bihari’s, Punjabis, Pashtoons, Muhajirs and many more ethnic communities [6].

2. Capability-Intention Nexus/Model

Capability-intention nexus is a nexus which presents a broader picture of security structure. Groups which pose a threat to the security of a state and create a security situation can be judged by the capability-intention model. Both are the scales which present a scope to gauge the threat posed by the militant groups, extremists or any other state or non-state actors which threaten the peace and normalcy of life. It is a preliminary structure to develop a bird’s eye view of a whole structure, as it produces results to maintain equilibrium inside the society which is itself complex in nature. The main course of this model is dependent on the back ground data of certain groups which come under the umbrella of threat perception.

While applying this model of target killing in Pakistan in general and in Karachi in particular, there are certain parameters which ought to be maintained in a strict manner to achieve results. Target killing in Karachi is not liner in its nature and structure, it moves like a stream of consciousness with a proper set of principles and values to disrupt the societal structure. To curb this mode of terrorism, first of all, there is a dire need to acknowledge and understand the phenomenon because this mode of killing comes under the lose borders of theoretical frame work and in addition to this lose borders philosophy of target killing, structure of Karachi also presents amorphous sketch of its composition. This amorphous structure of Karachi’s society complicates this issue of target killing, so in order to minimize the complexity, target killing in Karachi can be regarded as an offshoot of terrorism because there is no solid definition to define this phenomenon of persuasion. Like terrorism, target killing, is always goal oriented and it also represents blueprints of means to an end strategy. The main objective of target killing like terrorism is to persuade and to achieve certain goals which are intangible in a way of soft power.

Figure The tools for measuring the strength of target killings.

Similarly, in the case of target killing, certain groups are involved which are thoroughly goal oriented as they choose to inflict chaos in order to maintain the writ of their will to the opposite side. Here, at this juncture, capability can be applied. Capability can be judged by the sayings of certain groups which have their track record in this case of spreading terrorism. This capability can be monitored by keen observation and research of newspapers and other archives. Second step which comes right after the capability is to measure the intention of certain groups; this also can be monitored by historical study, but in a different way. It can be studied by the study of groups which claimed the responsibility of certain acts of terrorism. By this track research, a map of certain groups can be obtained which are to be monitored under the strict eyes of administration or law enforcement agencies to protect the civil lives.

3. Statement of the Problem

Karachi has been considered the economic hub and the largest coastal city of Pakistan and it has a population of 18 million approximately [7]. It is a cosmopolitan city and is ranked amongst the largest cities of the world. Karachi is located in the south of the country; sharing the coastline of Arabian Sea. As being the financial hub of the country, Karachi attracts migrants from all over Pakistan. If we analyze the manufacturing sector of Pakistan almost 30 percent comes from Karachi and it shares 20 percent of total GDP of Pakistan. A research study conducted by Price water house Coopers in 2007 said that the GDP of Karachi would reach US\$ 193 billion in 2025 [8]. But the main issue which has been seen for last two decades is money extortion. Criminal gangs have become strong and they have political affiliation and openly they send their workers for asking money. The culture of ‘money extortion’ (Bhatta) by the criminal gangs that has ruined the image of friendly business city of Pakistan. The Pakistani business community in Karachi has been shifting their business abroad, due to the increasing number of money extortion threats.

These criminal gages are working under the patronage of political and militant organizations are also doing the same practices. For example, if a strike is announced in Karachi for one day that creates economic losses of about US$ 17 million to 57 million per day crippling Pakistan’s economy [9]. It is directly posing threats to the economy of Pakistan and no foreign investment will come to the country and therefore the unemployment ratio will be increasing which creating social unrest among the society. Karachi considered the most secular city in Pakistan where people do practice their secular and religious affairs accordingly. It has retained the titled of ‘Mini Pakistan’ since 1960s.

4. History of Violence

Pakistan has its history of violence that was started after the inception of the newly born country in 1947. Thousands of innocent people were killed from both sides of the border in the name of religion and ethnic basis but these atrocious crimes have become a routine matters in Pakistan, where the killings of people has continued [10]. It may be due to the legacy of the partition. Ethnic clashes have continued in Karachi for acquiring control over the city affairs that leads towards the foundations of antagonism among various parts of the society. The imperative trait of this situation is to be remained dominant for the politics inside and outside of the city.

After partition, a huge number of migrants have chosen Karachi for living and those people came from different parts of British India. One important reason behind this settlement was that Karachi always remained an economical hub and its strategic importance always attracted the people from Sindh and outside the province [11]. When these migrants came to Karachi after inception, most of them were highly educated and belonged to the middle and upper class. Many were appointed on key posts and some of them started business there. As a result they took control over the economic affairs of the city that was not acceptable for the Sindhi nationalists as they opposed this business community and the atmosphere of enmity thus began [12].

If we see in the context of "Fall of Dhaka" a large number of Bihari’s did not go back to Bangladesh and they had preferred to live in Pakistan. These people considered Muhajirs also known as Urdu Speaking people, approximately 10 million Urdu speakers are living in Pakistan in which 6.5 million are living in different parts of Sindh including Karachi and Hyderabad.

Many ethnic groups have been living in Karachi since the inception of Pakistan and Karachi is a city of diverse culture and ethnicities. Before the first Afghan war in 1979, Karachi remained peaceful and was recognized as a business oriented city in the world. The outcomes of the Afghan war could be seen as thousands of Afghan refugees came to Karachi and have settled there. Since 1980s Karachi’s beauty turned into bloodshed [13]. The politics of Sindh is different from other part of the country because Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is the strongest political party that has deep roots inside rural Sindh. But in the case of Karachi, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has the strong hold in Karachi and the city politics has based upon on ethnic groups.

The results of past elections (1985-2013) have been indicated that MQM got majority votes by using all means of power to such an extent that they ruled over Karachi in the times of military rule as well as the democratic elected governments. The problem arises when politics is being practiced on the bases of ethnic identities and every ethnic group is promoting its ideology then that creates an atmosphere of mistrust among the different interest groups. As a result, ethnic clashes started and killings of innocent people have continued in the name of ethnicity. According to the Express Tribune report that was published in 2014, an increasing trend of killings in the past few years have been seen in the city, in which 1,981 people were killed in 2010, 2,382 were killed in 2011 and 3,105 persons were killed in 2012 respectively [14]. It is totally a matter of gaining power in Karachi by adopting the tool of killing persons.

However, the issue of target killings are not tagged or associated with single political party. In Karachi, some of the political parties have their militant wings which are involved in killings and assassinations. The dilemma is that at the same time they are involved in killings, on the other hand pretending as the victim party. More than 6000 people have lost their lives in the ongoing violence in Karachi for the last decade [15]. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that in 2012, approximately over 3000 people were killed in Karachi which showing the vulnerability of the security forces in the city [16]. The intensity of violence between urban ethnic and sectarian in Karachi has increased since 2007 that created serious security threats.

 During the PPP government (2008-2013), Awami National Party (ANP) and MQM have accused each other for the target killings in the city. Ironically, both political parties have enjoyed their government tenure as allies to PPP.

Pakistan People’s Party and Muttahida Quami Movement have common interests in Karachi’s politics, therefore they are likely to be supported to each other. The basic reason is that both PPP and MQM do not lose their vote bank and domination in their respective areas. They do not even challenge each other’s vote bank in few constituencies of Karachi and Hyderabad. However, MQM has street power in Karachi which has become important factor for its natural alliance with PPP.

5. Reasons for Target Killings

The matter of concern so for is that what are the reasons for the target killings in Karachi and who is the responsible for these killings? Many elements have been involved in the deteriorating situation in Karachi such as land mafia, drugs and arms dealers that have created separate gangs and they are involved in doing target killings and kidnapping for the purpose of ransom. These gangs are also involved in street crimes and other social inhuman activities.

The law enforcement authorities including Rangers and Police are unable to protect the citizens and playing a silent role on the killings. One reason behind this worse condition is that the Police have become politicized in Karachi and they follow the orders of their affiliated political parties. All political parties have divided their areas in Karachi that have become ‘no go areas’ for other people [17]. For example, Nine Zero is the head quarter of MQM and Lyari is occupied by Baloch ethnic people and Banaras and Hub Choki associated with Pushtoon dominated people [18]. The target killings have become a rising form of violence which has led towards instability and insecurity all over Pakistan for the last three decades.

The major apprehension is that Karachi is divided linguistically and those who speak Urdu language are considered immigrants (Muhajirs) and MQM represents them at large. This kind of division in the society brings drastic consequences because every community tries to impose its language and culture prominences as a result the spirit of nationalism gets weaker. The division on the basis of languages directly associated with the ethnicity and no one wants to compromise on their ethnicity, if society is divided on such above mentioned parameters that create disharmony in the society that becomes serious threats for national security as well.

The question arises here that what are the reasons for target killings? A simple answer is that to see the patterns of powers and how power is being exercised in the country and what are the main stakeholders for the game. If we analyze the situation of Karachi city in 1970s, it was a peaceful and business friendly city but eventually in 1980s the situation in Karachi was getting worse and worse, and the city fell into pieces. The perpetrators of violence were trying to massacre entire crowds by exploding bombs and had machine guns placed on their motor cycles [19]. Today, the violence is more targeted and while that is not a good thing, it also does mean that it is not limited. Some important factors have been involved for the target killings in Karachi which are given below.

5.1. Structural Factor

5.1.1. Weak State (Power Struggle Between Interest Groups)

Nation-states fail, when they are troubled by the internal violence among various ethnic groups and even that can no longer carry out positive political atmosphere for people. In this scenario, governments lose its legitimacy, and the extreme nature of the particular none-state actors itself becomes legitimate in the minds and hearts of the people [20]. This is even worse, where law enforcement agencies failed to protect the writ of the state and people look at another power which may be non-state actor or illegitimate powers.

5.1.2. Intra State Security Concerns

Security remains important for running the affairs of state which is defined in the constitution of the country. When nation-states defined security, they see many elements which could be dangerous for the state structure including drug traffickers, weapon smugglers, terrorist outfits and religious and ethnic groups [21]. Intra state security conflicts mean that the violence started within the border of sovereign state and these elements create space while observing loopholes in security parameters and openly challenging the state apparatus. Since, Pakistan joined the war on terrorism (WoT); many drastic consequences have observed regarding internal security of the country. In the name of religion and ethnic based politics, that have created a new kind of security dimension for Pakistan and intra community and intra religious conflicts started in the country that is simply exposed national security.

5.1.3. Ethnic Geography

Karachi city is home to many ethnicities, in 1947 city had the population of 450000 persons which has now reached to 18 million in 2010. It’s all about the economic significance of the city, therefore people has willingly shifted in Karachi [22]. The ethnic clashes erupted in the city over the killing of young Urdu speaking girl named Bushra Zaidi that was killed in roadside accident by a Pushtoon bus driver in 1985 [23]. That accident triggered ethnic violence wave against Pashtoons, as a result violence started in the city which is continued to till date. Many incidents were taken place in Orangi and Qasba colony where a large number of targeted killings were committed against the Muhajir community and hundreds of people lost their lives.

5.2. Economic Problems

When there is scarcity or insufficient resources to satisfy the basic needs of people, wealth gap is widening vastly, economy is weak, no more social infrastructural developments, bad governance and negligence of law enforcement agencies that create disharmony among the different groups of society [24]. This kind of exercises could be seen in Karachi where above mentioned parameters of the social development indexes have failed to portray the healthy picture. As an economic and financial city of Pakistan, Karachi could not bear even a single day strike, but imagine strikes have become a common phenomenon to put pressure on government and allow them to treat the city affairs according to own wishes. When this kind of circumstances appeared that simply means state has failed in maintaining the writ of the government which is not beneficial for national economic growth. That is a vicious circle for Pakistan in generally and Karachi particularly because city is burning for so many years and no serious efforts have been made to find out a proper solution for the city.

5.3. Political Factor

5.3.1. Elite Politics

Country like Pakistan, where people love to do power politics and wants to be remained as a dominant part of domestic politics of the country. Where they do politics in the name of religion, caste based, linguistically and ethnically divided but the pivot of power always remains in few families and they choose the destiny of 180 million population. Since the evolution of human history, the elite politics have always been used to run the state affairs; even in the courtyards of kings, where elites had always played an important role and religion had also used to protect the king decisions for running the state’s affairs. The slaughtering of innocent people remained as a tool to control over the state affairs and even this is continued as part of policies.

According to C. Wright Mills that the governing elite always chooses three areas where they can find the proper ways to control over government affairs such as the highest political faction, corporate owners and high ranking military officers [25]. Above mentioned three cults make connection among them and intact to each other for the protection of their interests. They don’t even bother whether they snatching the privileges of others or not. Intoxication is very bad habit either it is taking drugs or grabbing other’s fundamental rights because it is morally and ethically wrong.

5.3.2. Exclusionary National Ideologies

Anti-immigration rhetoric has become complex in recent decades, particularly in South Asia. If people have been migrated on a large scale then it is to be more likely that individual promoting hatred and violence toward each other. It is natural phenomenon that every individual thinks different and interpreted from others. Still we have has colonial legacies in almost every part of life [26]. We are living in colonial ethos and using colonial system that has bonded us in certain mindsets. The promotion of different ideologies in Karachi was started after the inception of Pakistan where a mass migration was taken place from different parts of India. After 1970s, the wave of violence was started in the name of language controversy, ethnicity and religiously (sect).

During the period of General Zia regime (1977-1988), the Afghan war has put patrol on fire when huge number of Afghan refugees came to Karachi and later they became settlers. Soon after, clashes were started among various factions of society. In 1980s that has covered the whole city. Currently, almost every ideology has occupied its areas which has become ‘No Go Areas’ for others [27]. When these kinds of ideologies have been promoted, as a result the cause of strong nationalism damaged. In the case study of Karachi we can find that different ideologies are being promoted and killings of innocent people to be continued in the name of these ideologies. This steady modification in the balance between so-called "natives" and non-natives in Karachi becoming widening and perhaps could trigger bad consequences for the national security.

5.4. Cultural and Lingual Factor

The first language controversy was started between Urdu speaking community and Sindhis in 1970s, when Urdu speaking people remained committed to the ‘Two Nations Theory’ and claimed that the adoption of the Urdu language as the source for unity and identity of Pakistan. Sindhis felt such assertion as an attack on their culture and traditions [28]. That action was totally disliked by the Sindhi Nationalist parties and rejected it on the bases of Sindhi nationalism. The protests and clashes were started in various cities such as Hyderabad, Larkana and Mirpur Khas. After quite a sometimes, those protests were erupted in the Karachi city and first time Urdu speaking community raised their voice for the demand of Karachi as a province for them. Sindhi nationalists have strong reservation on this proposal and they claimed that it is not possible for them to split Sindh into two provinces. To somehow, it is good for Sindhi nationalism but brining bad consequences for the Pakistani nationalism because if we divide them on the bases of linguistics then that would be catastrophic for the nation. If we segregate them as administratively then culture would be remained harmless and strong nationalism would emerge.

Nations always recognized for their culture and traditions, when they split into many sub-cultures than there are possibilities for conflicts. To prevent the conflicts, it is necessary to bring all the communities on same board and tries to find out remedies for their problems. This will create sense of security among them and they feel proud to be a one nation. Unfortunately, it is missed for the promotion of Pakistani nationalism and every ethnical group endorses its ethnicity and the concept of single Pakistani nation has become bleak.

5.5. External Factors

5.5.1. Role of Contemporary Powers

The role of great powers has always remained dominant in the foreign policy of undeveloped countries. In the past, major colonial powers have had directly occupied the country and ruled over for acquiring their interests. In the modern times, the concept of making colony has vanished but the thrust for controlling other countries never ended. If we see the history of ethnic clashes in Pakistan, we find that major powers such as USA, Iran and Saudi Arabia have played a critical role, for example during the Afghan war both countries (USA and Saudi Arabia) have created an anti-Soviet atmosphere and supported the Jihad for Afghanistan [29]. Unfortunately, we have a shared border with Afghanistan and the military government of that time has decided to become an ally against the Soviets. The Petro-Dollar economy of Saudi Arabia and the weapon aide from USA put Pakistani society on that holly war which was fighting in Afghanistan [30]. After the demise of Soviet, USA has left Pakistan alone and stopped all necessary aide which has led to drastic consequences for the national security of Pakistan.

5.5.2. Role of Neighbors

The role of neighbors also play an important role for maintaining their foreign policy. You cannot change your neighbors, for example if any country has hostile neighbor than things become more complex and security of the state has come on priority. For the promotion of Shia ideology in Pakistan, Iran has always taken serious parts and Iranian revolution gave momentum to sectarian wave in Pakistan. Vis-à-vis Iran, Saudi Arabia is also supporting Wahhabis concepts of Islam which has created disharmony among Shia and Sunni sects inside Pakistan [31]. Pakistan is the only unfortunate country in the world where religion is free and state has no control over it but in Iran and Saudi Arabia religion is being controlled by the state and any religious sermon without the consent of the state is prohibited. Even India is also creating security problems in Pakistan and her presence in Afghanistan is causing serious security threats in Balochistan and other parts of the country. India has opened many Consulate Generals in Afghanistan and they are taking active part in anti-Pakistani activities. Many times government of Pakistan has discussed this issue with India but Indian hostile mindset does not ready to except these reservations.

6. Ethnicities in Karachi

If someone wants to understand the politics of Sindh especially in Karachi city that could only be understood by its demographics, being a cosmopolitan city, there are nine ethno-linguistic groups are residing. These groups are listed below.

Native Sindhis: It has comprised over the local population of Samat and Baloch origins that can speak, read, and write in Sindhi language and claim to be the Sindhi identity.

Baloch: These People have belonged to the Makran coastal areas with Baloch backgrounds that speak Balochi and claim Balochi identity [32]. Actually they have settled from hundred years ago; nonetheless they understand and speak Sindhi language due to being local residents of Karachi.

Gujarati and Lasi origin people: In this category of population includes who speaks Memoni and Kutchi dialects of Sindhi language, migrated from Kutch and Bhuj of Gujarat India and later settled in Karachi before and after the foundation of Pakistan in 1947 [33]. Although people from Lasi tribe migrated from Lasbela Baluchistan to Karachi.

Rajasthanis: These People were migrated from Rajasthan during united India and majority of them are Qaimkhani Rajputs, Silawats, Gazdars and Sheikhs [34]. They speak different dialects of Rajasthani language; but they also speak and understand Sindhi language. On the invitation of Pir Pagara the Silawats migrated to Sindh in 1930s.

Malayali Maplas: Malayali Maplas originally migrated from Kerala province during British Raj. They recognize themselves as Mapla or Malabari.

Urdu speakers/ Muhajirs: After the partition, Muhajirs migrated from different parts of India many of them have settled in Karachi. They speak Lukhnavi and Khariboli dialects of Urdu language, most of them have been migrated from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh India [35]. They accounted 20 percent of the Sindh population and classify themselves as Urdu speakers or Muhajir [36].

Bihari: Bihari community migrated from Bangladesh after 1971 when Pakistan was separated into two pieces, they called Bihari.

Punjabi: After the creation of Pakistan many Punjabis migrated from Punjab to Karachi. They migrated for the sake of employment in Karachi. During 1951-71 Punjabis landless peasants acquired land in the Sindh province and started migration towards different parts of Sindh [37].

Pashtoon: Pashtoon community migrated to Karachi when Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan ruled out the country by imposing Martial Law. After that a large number of illegal Afghans came and settled in Karachi, because that time they were doing Jihad against Soviet Union in 1980s.

7. Political Parties Stance on Karachi’s Situation

Political parties of Pakistan have different point of view of the fatal situation of Karachi. Although all the major political parties of Pakistan considered the issue of Karachi on their priorities but all want to solve it by their own ways. The newly elected government of Pakistan Muslim League has shown its serious concerns over the drastic situation of Karachi because it is an economic hub of the country and Pakistan’s economy could not be able to face economic strikes and closing of other commercial activities in the city. Therefore, they have decided to take serious actions to curb the criminal activities in Karachi. In the previous government of PPP, no serious actions were taken on the issue of target killings and other criminal activities which showed the incompetence of the previous government.

7.1. Pakistan Muslim League (N)

Pakistan Muslim League is of the opinion that the government would establish the writ of state by using all available resources to bring peace in Karachi. The peace in Karachi directly put impacts on other parts of the country because the representation of every ethnicity could be seen in the city. Karachi city is burning for the last three decades and no serious efforts have been made to solve the grave condition in the city. PML (N) government believes on negotiations and wants a peaceful settlement of the issue without losing the life of innocent people. They have adopted a practical approach in dealing the situation by talking to all stakeholders of Karachi. They announced that they will use all tools to bring peace in the city because if there would be no peace and stability then the foreign direct investment will not come. The government is taking serious efforts against the money extortion (Bhatta) because it has become common phenomenon to worry the business community in Karachi. The government is allowed more powers to the Rangers and giving them free hands for maintaining the peace in the city. They believe that their rescue efforts for maintaining peace would bring the status of Karachi as the city of lights again.

7.2. Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM)

MQM role is dubious in target killings in Karachi, one side they are claiming that their workers have been killed but on the other hand MQM is running its torture cells where they bring people from different ethnicities and political background for killings. However, the stance of MQM is that Rangers have failed to deal with the unabated violence in the city; therefore, they are seeking help for the armed forces. Even they do not talk much about the role of Sindh Police because in Police they have recruited people of their own ideology and they have no issues with the progress of Police. MQM is unhappy with the role of Rangers operations in Karachi because Rangers are arresting target killers and closing the illegal persecutions. It also claimed that "Talibanisation" has started, drug and land mafias have trapped the peace of the city. In Karachi, there are some areas where even Police and Rangers cannot enter that is why they want the army to step in and handling the situations which has become a grave security threat for country.

Even in all political parties meeting, all parties were agreed upon the target operation with the help of Police and Rangers but MQM demanded that there should be a joint and army led operation. It is of the opinion that Police and Rangers have seen ineffective and it would remain result less if government does any operation without the presence of army. MQM is the main opposition party in Sindh government has vigorously called for handling Karachi’s situation to Army which is not acceptable for other parties and even PPP will not entertained this demand happily.

7.3. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)

PPP always remained dominant in the politics of Sindh and it has large scale vote bank inside rural and urban areas of the province. Historically, some issues have seen as stalemate where PPP and MQM confronted each other. Sometimes, they remained allies and sometimes MQM joined PML (N) to oppose PPP government in Sindh. PPP is the main political party of Sindh and even in the time of martial laws the popularity of PPP never trembled. Remaining as a power house of Sindh politics, PPP is still ruling on Sindh province. PPP suggested that the operation should be held under the supervision of the Chief Minister and the Provincial Government because they are the main stakeholders for the Provincial Government.

One thing is clear, if someone wants peace in Karachi, first of all there should be ban on political militant wings. Major political parties including PPP and MQM are operating militant wings. In the past the armed clashes could be seen to get control over Karachi. For PPP, Karachi is so important because it is the provincial capital and economic life line of Pakistan. PPP will oppose any Army operation in Sindh due to its provincial position and always trying to keep everything in their hands. If any military operation takes place in Karachi that will create rift between the provincial government and the PML (N) which is the ruling party in center. PPP will play its all cards very carefully and never allow any political party to challenge its position in Sindh.

7.4. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)

It is the first time for PTI that has made government in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and won little presence in Sindh Assembly wants the settlement of the issue peacefully although they did not participate in the meeting which was held under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif in Karachi. PTI’s stance that time has come to create peace in Karachi and all problems should be resolved through a fresh and visionary approach. PTI believes on genuine negotiations and let leave aside all political parties pressures for tackling the burning problems with determination. Chairman PTI, Imran Khan is of the opinion that police should be depoliticized and no recruitment would be made politically and all political parties should remove their militant wings. He is against the military operation in Karachi. He argued that it is not possible for Army to open new military engagement inside the country. Military always use against the enemy for the protection of sovereignty of the state, now the use of military force is not feasible option within the country when country is in turmoil.

7.5. Awami National Party (ANP)

ANP had turned into one of the powerful contenders for controlling the metropolitan hub; the pushtoon dominated party had posed some serious challenges to the other gigantic stake holders of the city in the past. Moreover, because of large population influx of pushtoons as a result of migration form Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and Balochistan, there exist a large community of these people, thus, ANP is regarded as the representative political party of large pushtoon community, interestingly, the pushtoons are having their large businesses in Karachi which also gives them a protective blanket in shape of ANP against the other mafia groups operating in Karachi.

There was a large tussle and rivalry between MQM and ANP on the issues of power and influence in different areas of Karachi which results in unrest and violence every second day that is one of the reasons behind the rising violence in Karachi. ANP is time and again asking the Federal government for conducting operations in Karachi so that the menace of terrorism could be cleaned but no clear stance has come from ‘Mardan house’, Senator Shahi Sayed has repeatedly asked the government to take actions against the groups causing unrest but the organizing operation is still a big question.

8. Position of Pakistan Army

Pakistan Army’s stance that Police and other law enforcement agencies have the right to protect the lives of citizens in Karachi. If any disturbance creates in the future then Army could be involved for handling the situation of the city. Previous Chief of Army Staff General Kayani has assured that Army is ready to assist the civil administration in Karachi for maintaining peace and stability. If the civil government demands for the role of Army for bringing peace and any kind of military operation against the criminals that would be done without any political pressure and political discrimination. Army is always ready for maintaining peace and stability inside the country. But Gen. (r) Kayani has made one thing clear that the democratic elected government should evolve a broad consensus before launching an operation in Karachi. Therefore, he met with Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and briefly discussed the security situation of the country. He was determined that Army can take any military operation inside the country on the request of prime minister and it has the capability to curb the menace of terrorism and extremism.

On the findings of the intelligence reports, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Sharif adhere the policy of maintain peace and stability, and announced the Ranger Operations against the criminals and illegal mafias in the city. After the starting of the Ranger Operation in Karachi, a strong criticism was observed by the Provincial government of Sindh and they declared that Federal government is influencing on provisional matters. However, the Ranger and Federal government made it clear that this operation is taking place against the terrorists and criminals and the Provincial government does not need to be worried.

It is a good opportunity for the democracy of Pakistan where every institution and group recognizes its responsibility and does work cohesively under the law and constitution of the country. On the issue of Karachi, both military and civilian government are on the same board and feel that the killings of different ethnic minorities groups could be harmful for the national security of Pakistan. In this regards, the current Army Chief Gen. Raheel Sharif made sure that the Army may be deployed in any part of the country for desiring peace and serious actions should be taken for bringing peace and stability back.

9. Suggestions

Powers to the Rangers should be increased for doing any operation in Karachi city.

 Reduce the communication gap between the police and intelligence agencies which are working in Karachi.

Strong legislation is needed to improve the situation and criminals get bails from the courts because nobody is willing to be witnessed for the incident.

There should be built up political consensus over Rangers operation against the criminals.

Militant wings in Political Parties should be demolished and government should take serious actions against them.

Government should adopt a policy regarding deweaponisation in Karachi.

First identified the criminal targets then launch military campaign against them.

Use of force without any discrimination whether criminals have relations with ruling party or not. To make sure that no innocent person would be arrested.

National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) should provide the official foolproof data about the criminals from their records and necessary information about them.

There should be an involvement from the civil society including senior citizens, retired bureaucrats and media persons by using their soft power for creating awareness among all ethnic groups.

Role of religious scholars are very important for creating harmony among different sects of religion.

10. Conclusion

Peaceful atmosphere is very important for economic stability and national prosperity. If country faces violence then there is possibility of economic disaster. In Karachi, different kinds of violence have seen that is creating unrest among the various fractions of society including ethnic and sectarian issues, political division, a large scale migration and bad governance on the part of provincial government. The peace of Karachi cannot be assured as long as the above issues are not addressed with true spirit and intentions; the problem of Karachi is a kind of complex web that needs serious determination to solve the issues otherwise the peace will still remain a dream unfulfilled.


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