Karachi is in grip of violence for last many years. Though it has suffered from stints of violence since 1980s, the present streak of sustained violence is continuing since 2007 which had started off when Gen® Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan ignited the situation by calling it a demonstration of ‘power’ and looked the other way when marauders resorted to killing on May 12, 2007. The armed groups attacked the caravans of political parties that were heading toward the airport to receive the then deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry who was scheduled to reach Karachi. The office of a TV channel was attacked, ambulances were hit, vehicles were set on fire and around 48 people were killed. There was total anarchy as police failed to respond and react.
There was hardly a lull in violence during last seven years.
According to SATP data, 1,285 civilians were killed in terrorist attacks, target killings and sectarian violence 2013.
From January 1 to 18 May, 2014, 386 terrorist incidents, target killings and sectarianism incidents have taken place in which 451 persons have been killed and 357 others have been injured. (South Asia Terrorism Portal) From 2003 through 2011, nearly 5,549 people were killed in such incidents. 1
MQM has lost the dubious distinction of being the only party involved in extortion and killings. Other groups emerged to get their share of extortion and land grabbing. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) being the most dangerous terrorist outfit is well entrenched in Karachi by now. It is said that forty groups of TTP including Swat Chapter of Taliban are operating in Karachi. The infighting between two Mehsud groups of TTP owes much to fight over finances which are generated from crimes in Karachi.
The city is full of illegal immigrants living in slums dealing in drugs and weapons that have made the city a jungle where lawlessness prevails and murderous gangs are operating with impunity. People of Karachi have become helpless hostage to these conditions.
The latest terrorist attack on Karachi airport, in which about 27 innocent people were killed and 10 assailants also died, was the most spectacular attack that would have long-lasting impact on the
economy and image of Pakistan.
Albeit the Prime Minister is deeply concerned about Karachi situation as he considers it the economic hub of Pakistan and has launched operation to bring peace in the city, the situation has not returned to satisfactory level. The provincial government does not seem to be keeping pace with the federal government to rein in the killers and extortionists. MQM is naturally averse to the operation as it considers it a move to arrest and kill its members. There is a conspicuous lack of political will on part of the provincial government. Adding to lethality is the extremely popoliticized police. Honest and efficient police officers are transferred on one pretext or the other.
Until all stake holders, federal and provincial intelligence and law enforcement agencies (LEAs), do not stand united to make the operation successful with a missionary zeal to clean the city of violence and mayhem, the chances of success of the operation are not very bright.