By Sajjad Shaukat
New wave of subversive events such as target killings, setting the vehicles on fire, kidnappings etc. in Karachi have once again enveloped the city. Several innocent people, workers of different political parties including three Shia lawyers, two activists of the Sunni Tehreek (ST) and a doctor, two students killed in separate assaults. Besides Baluch MPA Nawabzada Bakhtiar Khan Domki’s wife and daughter were also murdered. In the past 40 days, more than 30 persons have been targeted brutally. In this regard, a shutter-down strike was observed in Balochistan for two days. However, the new year of 2012 shows the resurgence terrorists in Karachi.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the National Assembly on February 2 this year that the deteriorating situation in Karachi was the result of a well-planned conspiracy. He revealed that links between the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Sipah-e-Sahaba had been uncovered in carrying out joint terrorist activities.
Last year, when violence continued unabated in the provincial capital of Karachi, raising the death toll over more than 1000 due to target killings, intense exchange of fire between two ethnic groups, setting the houses, shops, vehicles on fire, hostage-takings etc., 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 terrorists’ custody. In the past too, a number of militants along with huge cache of arms and ammunition, made of US, India and Israel had been caught.
In this regard, on July 18, 2011, Rehman Malik, while disclosing the involvement of foreign hands in Karachi, had openly stated that the miscreants were using Israeli-made weapons for fomenting unrest in the city. He added, “Over 200 persons have been arrested…Israeli-made weapons including AK-45 rifles have been recovered from them.”
Notably, hinting towards US, India and Israel, on May 1, 2009, Prime Minister Gilani had revealed that he sees “foreign hand” behind Karachi violence. Police investigations have also pointed out that the culprits, who disturbed law and order situation in Karachi were not permanent residents of the city.
However, we cannot see the terror-events in Karachi in isolation. In this respect, American CIA, Indian secret agency RAW and Israeli Mossad which have been supporting separatism in Balochistan including acts of sabotage in the province and other regions of Pakistan have rapidly established their collective network in Pakistan. They are in collusion to ‘destabilise’ Pakistan for their common strategic interests—and to ‘denulearise’ the country after weakening it.
These foreign agencies have recruited Pakistani nationals who are vulnerable and can work on their payroll, giving them high financial incentives to work for them. They have recruited smugglers, criminals, employees of the security companies, experts of the psychological warfare, scholars and journalists in order to fulfill anti-Pakistan designs of America, India and Israel. Political and defence analysts agree that terrorists who commit subversive activities in Karachi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA are receiving training in terrorist camps located in India and Afghanistan.
As regards, Karachi, 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, some Indian Muslims and foreign insurgents who are backed by the 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 Muhttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Peoples Party (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 these paid-agents, while especially leaders of ANP and MQM accuse each other for murdering the people of their-related ethnic or linguistic community.
It is also fault of our political leaders that they raise one after other issue, unintentional benefiting the anti-Pakistan elements to manupulate the same. In this connection, recently question of new provinces in the country started a controversial debate among the rival political parties. On January 29, this year, on the call of the Sindhi nationalists, a province-wide strike was observed in protest against the 20th Amendment bill tabled by the MQM in the National Assembly regarding new province. The Sindhi nationalists opposed it, saying that once this door is opened, more and more provinces will be carved out on an ethnic basis, particularly in Sindh.
While, the ethnic tensions in Karachi between the Pashtun and Urdu-speaking people have also created rift between ANP and the MQM, but the issue of new provinces could peacefully be resolved in accordance with the constitution instead of giving the external elements to exploit the differences.
Nonetheless, 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.
A recent report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan disclosed that 1,138 people have been killed in Karachi in the first half of 2011, with 490 victims of political, ethnic and sectarian violence.
Especially, Pushtuns led by ANP and Urdu-speaking people by the MQM have been fighting against each others intermittently, while on July 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 exploiting the ethnic and linguistic division in Karachi. The situation had so deteriorated that leaders of the ANP and MQM Chief had requested to Pak Army and Rangers to intervention in order to save the lives of people.
It is of particular attention that Karachi is Pakistan’s financial hub and the largest commercial markets, collecting 70 per cent of the country’s tax revenue, and it is home to the state bank and the largest port. So, besides causing unrest in the city and to thus to create instability in Pakistan, another aim of the foreign hands is to cripple the economy of the city as Karachi is 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 of Pakistan and policies formulated at Islamabad are not congenial to other provinces except Punjab.
It is mentionable that more than one million illegal small and heavy weapons contribute to violence in Karachi. In this context, first of all, unlike the previous action, a well-coordinated search operation should be conducted with an aim to cut off the supply chain of illegal weapons in the city and root out culprits from the most affected areas. But a programme of de-weaponisation and detection of foreign-baked terrorists is essential to curb violence in Karachi. In this regard, the ruling party should be fully determined to take stern action against the miscreats and outlaws without any discrimination.
Deteriorated situation of Karachi also demands that our political parties need to behave with far greater responsibility. In this respect, our national, provincial and regional leaders including media must stop exploiting various problems and disparities at the cost of the country which is already facing multiple crises of grave nature. And security forces are coping with sporadic battles with the militants in some tribal areas, especially Kurram Agency, while our external enemies also want to engage Pak Army in Karachi.
Consequently, the latest wave of violence in Karachi needs immediate attention, and cooperation among the rulers, opposition parties, security agencies and general masses as resurgence of terrorists in the city proves.
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