Karachi has been in the news from the last so many years and for all the wrong reasons. The only news that came from Karachi was of killings, in the name of ethnicity, extortion or simply for the plain purpose of politics. Killing of 10 to 12 people almost on a daily basis and the inability of the government to control the bloodshed because of their political compulsion ruined the normal life in Karachi. Karachi being a provincial capital as well as the main economic hub of Pakistan carries an immense weightage and that’s why it always had an impact on the politics of Pakistan as well as contributing greatly to the challenges of security faced by the country.
Despite the fact that Supreme Court on many occasion tried to sort out the problem to bring peace in Karachi, previous governments seemed less interested in solving the crisis. From lawyers to an ordinary person, each event or festival marked another threat to their lives. Due to mounting media and public pressure, the newly elected government had no other option but to look into the problem and try solving it.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif decided to launch an operation led by Rangers and on September 5th 2013. The operation aimed to uproot land grabbers, extortionists, target killers, terrorists as well as their financers and well-wishers.
In the first stage Rangers arrested targets killers from different areas of Karachi who belonged to different political as well as the banned organizations. Arrests of these target killers were only the beginning of this operation. The biggest breakthrough in this operation came when Rangers entered ‘90’ which is headquarters of MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement). MQM was considered the most powerful political party in Karachi and had a huge influence on Karachi. Governor Sind Dr Isratul Ibad, longest serving governor of Sind belong to MQM and is a clear testimony to the influence MQM carried in Karachi. Rangers not only shattered the” No Go” area concept of MQM headquarters but at the same time recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition.
Rangers also arrested target killers involved in high profile cases along with MQM leader Amir Khan which was a massive blow to the political reputation of MQM. This was followed by more arrests from MQM and PPP, the ruling party in Sind. Arrest of Dr Asim, a close aide of ex-president Zardari tarnished the concept that government and law enforcing agencies were to let go of powerful elite who are involved in criminal activities.
While government is praised for heading operation in Karachi, it is the COAS who is hailed as a hero for Karachi operation as evident from the general perception in Karachi and in the country.
MQM blamed LEAs as well as Sind and federal government and criticized them for framing them while they denied having links with any target killer. Despite the fact that MQM tried its best to propagate Karachi operation as one to be a politically motivated and resigned from assemblies to record their agitation against Karachi operation but the fact remains that not only target killers belonging to MQM have been arrested but target killers of different political parties including ANP, JI as well as banned organization including TTP, LeJ, Sipahi Sahaba and JeM have also been arrested. This diminished the impression that this operation is run against a certain political party.
Impact of this operation is already bearing good results which are obvious from dropping of crime ratio. In 2013, 811 people lost their lives in target killing spree while that figure came down to almost half, 421 in 2015 according to government figures. This also has a huge impact on the overall law and order situation of the country. Terrorism needs finance for it to run beside recruits and Karachi was one place where they got that money for their activities to run terror in entire country. Karachi also provided banned outfits the political cover which they needed to survive.
In Karachi, the only option left with the government is to bring peace and for that they shouldn’t leave any stone unturned. This operation now has the full support of people living in Karachi and that’s because of the trust that was LEAs have gained with their solid actions. Government shouldn’t stop this operation unless peace in Karachi is restored.