Before the general elections of 2013, in his election campaign, Nawaz Sharif vowed to restore law and order in Karachi. He promised to make Karachi the “city of lights” again and that peace would be restored there.
Karachi has suffered terrorism and targeted killings for decades. Law and order in Karachi has always been a serious challenge, for prior government administrations as well. According to the Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC), in 2012, more than 2,300 people were the victims of targeted killing and terrorism, which not only affected people of Karachi but also the economy of the country. According to the CPLC, between January and May of 2013, more than 800 people have been killed in targeted killing and terrorism, and in June 2013 more than 200 people lost their lives in terrorism in Karachi. Now, about 18 million residents of Karachi are demanding that the issue of law and order be dealt with as a top priority.
The federal government does not seem to be effectively tackling any plan to address the unstable state of law and order in Karachi. In an interview with Truth Tracker, a political activist from the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Sadiq-ul-Farooq, said, however, that restoring peace in Karachi was a top priority for PML -N but that they were giving the provincial government a chance to address law and order in Karachi as soon as possible. The “Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has had several meetings with intelligence agencies to revive the working relationship between all intelligence agencies and the government and, so far, Chaudhry Nisari has been successful in it”, Farooq added. He further maintained, “We have witnessed in past that reconciliation policy has failed to bring peace in this city and we won’t go for the reconciliation if it violates peace in the metropolitan area,” he said. “People have trusted us and we won’t break it.” He further said that according to 18th Amendment in the constitution of Pakistan, law and order was a provincial subject but, in the wake of the provincial government’s failure, it would request that the federal government interfere.
So far, in June 2013, more than 200 people have been killed in Karachi in a new wave of terrorism and the federal government did nothing except address the issue in meetings only.
The promise of Nawaz Sharif to bring peace in Karachi has been compromised because there is no evidence of concrete steps taken by the federal government. Nor has the federal government initiated legal steps to ensure peace in Karachi nor has the provincial government tried to bring violence at halt in the city.
Akhtar Baloch, Board Member Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), told Truth Tracker that Karachi had multi-dimension population density and terrorism issues and there was political enmity among political parties: land mafia, drug mafia, banned outfits and various gangs were also operational in the city, which has caused more bloodshed.
“In order to bring peace to this city, [the] government should empower police and must equip law enforcement agencies with modern technical tools of investigation,” Baloch suggested. “Besides that, police should be depoliticized.”
Baloch further mentioned that after the 18th Amendment, it was the provincial government’s responsibility to ensure law and order in Karachi and that the government had no other option left but to bring peace now.”
Political and security analyst, Mubashir Farooq, talking withTruth Tracker by phone, shed light on the context of the violence. He said that law and order in Karachi had been deteriorating since 1992 when then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif launched an operation against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on June 19th. Government rule was declared in Sindh and the operation in Karachi backfired. Since then, the law and order situation in Karachi had been getting worse day by day, according to Farooq.
Farooq further said that the so-called stakeholders, the Pakistan People Party (PPP) and the MQM, were not serious about bringing peace to Karachi.
“If the situation of law and order remains unstable for long, then no one would be able to stop the worst civil war ever,” Farooq opined. “People are sick and tired of the anarchy and someday they (people) will take law in their own hands, which will result in nothing but more bloodshed,” he told Truth Tracker.