Restore peace in Karachi

Violence with a stink of ethnicity has once again torn Karachi apart. The killing of more than 80 people and destruction of property worth billions, in the wake of assassination of a local parliamentarian, is quite worrisome.More troubling is the fact that Pakistan’s largest cosmopolitan and business hub witnessed a complete collapse of law and order, as the government remains clueless in establishing its writ since the past many days. Moreover, the phenomenon of target killings in which allegedly Urdu-speaking and Pakhtoon dwellers are being gunned down has raised fears of yesteryears civil commotion. The city in particular, and the country in general, cannot withstand another ethnic conflict. It is bound to have severe ramifications not only on the economic health of the country, but is likely to explode in the form of linguistic hatred countrywide.Karachi, for the last many decades, has seen enough of violence and bloodshed. It has been a theatre of ethnic and sectarian unrest, as well as some major suicide attacks. The ongoing new spate of killings has brought an end to the uneasy peace prevailing for quite some time. This is because the concerned authorities have not been able to net the culprits, apparently taking refuge under political considerations. This has given a free rein to the unscrupulous elements resulting in mayhem, and a blow to the growth and confidence of businesses.
The off and on closure of academic institutions and the tendency on the part of ?political parties to call for prolonged shutter down strikes has impacted the cycle ?of life adversely. Though stakeholders, ?including the government and especially the dominant political force, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), have moved in to do some damage control, a lot remains ?to be done. An effort to broker reconciliation between various feuding political factions is the need of the hour. This will go a long way in restoring peace and do away with the intrigues that creep in due to lack of proper communication channels.
Festering unrest in Karachi at a time when the country is in the grip of monsoon-related devastation is unfortunate. The city ?being the growth and revenue engine for the entire economy cannot afford to be bogged down for long in this mindless violence. The assumption that these killings are being carried out by pro-Taleban elements is far-fetched. The MQM believes that Taleban, of late, have moved into Karachi and are operating with impunity. But associating the Pushto-speaking people with Taleban and going after them in any vindictive sweep is uncalled for. The city is in need of a compassionate approach, rather than one based on politics of sectarianism. A tied-down Karachi is in the interest of none. It’s high time chaos and anarchy is put to an end.
(Courtesy The Economist)