South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

KARACHI: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed its grave concern over the deteriorating law and order situation, particularly increasing targeted killings, in Karachi.

A report issued by the organisation’s Karachi chapter on Tuesday said that a total of 1,138 people were killed in the city during the first six months of the current year and 490 of them fell prey to targeted killings on political, sectarian and ethnic grounds.

HRCP chairperson Zohra Yusuf, sharing the statistics, observed that a continuous surge in targeted killing reflected the government’s inefficiency to handle the situation that was deepening the sense of insecurity among the citizens.

She was of the view that the government was not taking decisive action against culprits to appease its coalition partners.

According to the HRCP report, 65 women were killed during the first half of the current year — 24 by their relatives and 26 by unknown assailants. It said that four of the victims were burnt to death, three died on railway tracks; two were killed by robbers and another two by Lyari gangsters. Three women fell victim to honour killing and one was killed by police, it stated.

Separately, the report said, 37 men lost their lives in the ongoing Lyari gang warfare over the past six months. Among the 56 victims of ethnic strife 51 were men and one woman, the rest being children.

According to the report, of the 490 victims of targeted killings, 150 were apparently killed for their association with various political, religious and nationalist parties, 56 for their ethnic background and eight on sectarian grounds.

The statistics show that 250 people killed in the city during the period did not have affiliation with any political party. A total of 139 such killings had been reported during the corresponding period of the previous year.

About the victims of targeted killings on political grounds, the report suggested that 77 activists belonged to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), 26 to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), 29 to the Awami National Party (ANP), 16 to the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H), seven to the Sunni Tehrik (ST), nine to the Ahl-i-Sunnat Wal-Jamaat (ASWJ), two to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and one each belonged to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), PML-Functional (PML-F), Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) and Punjabi-Pakhtun Ittehad (PPI). Four members of the banned outfit Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan were also killed on political grounds, it said.

The HRCP report observed that in the first six months of 2010, the figures of targeted killings were comparatively low as 109 people had fallen victim to the menace with 34 belonging to the MQM-H, 22 to the MQM, 11 to the PPP, 16 to the ANP, four to the ST and three each belonging to the JI and SSP. The other parties lost one or two of their activists during the period.

According to the statistics of other violent crimes, the report said 123 people were killed on account of personal enmity during the first half of the current year as against 113 reported in the corresponding period of the previous year.

A total of 41 policemen have been killed so far this year compared to 32 gunned down last year in the city, the report said.

The HRCP report suggested that bomb blasts claimed the lives of 41 people in the last six months as against 27 killed in the first half of the last year. A total of 30 children have been killed in different incidents so far this year, according to the report.

The HRCP chairperson described Lyari and Orangi as the worst-affected areas, and said that the police seemed powerless to control crime.

Referring to Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s recent statement that killings in Karachi would come to a halt soon, she termed it “an unrealistic claim in the present circumstances”.

Source: Dawn – 06.07.2011