South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Ammar Shahbazi

Although the federal and provincial governments like to claim that the law and order situation of Karachi has improved since a targeted operation was launched in the city in September last year, the actual numbers paint a different picture.

Of the 153 people killed during the past month, 73 victims (48 percent) were “non-political persons”, according to a report released by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). The number of dead bodies found in the city in the month of January alone is a staggering 44.

Human rights activists say that extrajudicial killings by law enforcement agencies are partly to blame, and the statistics speak for themselves – 27 of those 44 were killed in ‘police encounters’, a number that is officially accepted by LEAs.

Most of the victims were first kidnapped or ‘picked up’, brutally tortured and then shot in the head.

The HRCP’s data, which is based on media reports, also shows that at least 18 people were killed in a wave of sectarian violence last month. The number of policemen killed was also notably high at 22 last month, a figure that does not include the 13 police commandos slain in a bomb attack outside the Razzaqabad training centre this month.

However, the largest number of lives lost in the city were in, as the report terms it, ‘targeted killing of non-political persons’. A total of 73 people were targeted for factors that could range from ethnic to personal enmity and other non-political reasons.

In Lyari, the situation was relatively calm, as eight people were reported to have been killed as a result of infighting between groups engaged in the seemingly endless gang war.

On a positive note, however, the number of people killed in bomb blasts was five, while the number of political activists targeted in January also remained at a lowly five.

Source: The News – 20.02.2014 –