News / Asia

Forces Told 'Shoot on Sight' to End Violence in Pakistan's Karachi

Pakistani family members mourn the death of a man who was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan, July 8, 2011
Pakistani family members mourn the death of a man who was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan, July 8, 2011
Ayaz Gul

Authorities in Pakistan have ordered security forces to shoot on sight anyone engaged in violence in the country’s largest city of Karachi, where up to 85 people have died in a surge of ethnic and political violence since Monday.  The violence is the latest indication of a deadly power struggle between the city's main political factions. 

About 1,000 additional police and paramilitary forces are now deployed in Karachi with new orders to shoot any armed "miscreants" they encounter.

Businesses are closed and the streets are deserted. There reports of continuing clashes in parts of the southern port city.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that dozens of suspects have been detained in connection with a series of targeted killings since Monday.  He told reporters in Karachi that political activists are among those killed but most of the victims are ordinary citizens, apparently caught in the cross-fire.

Police say the killings are part of clashes between political groups in Sindh province, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and its rival, the Awami National Party (ANP).

The MQM largely represents the Urdu-speaking community, and until last month was part of the ruling coalition in Sindh.  The ANP represents ethnic Pashtuns.  Both those groups and the ruling Pakistan People's Party are believed to have links to criminal gangs in Karachi.

The capital of Sindh generates 70 percent of the country's revenue. Many in Pakistan believe the ongoing violence in Karachi stems from attempts by the major political parties to increase their influence in the country's commercial hub.

"I believe it is really the political battle that they are fighting like a gang war and the ultimate victims of course are ordinary citizens of Karachi," said Zohra Yusuf, the head of the country’s leading independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).  "And the government and the law enforcement agencies seem quite ineffective or helpless. It is extremely disturbing we really don’t know where the situation is leading to.”

The rights commission says that at least 600 people have died in political violence in Karachi so far this year.

Those attacks, along with ethnic and sectarian violence left thousands of people dead in Karachi in the early 1990s, prompting the government to launch a military operation.

But some observers like Pakistan’s former Interior Minister Moeenuddin Haider say the military may not be able to intervene this time because security forces are deeply engaged in fighting the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists in the country’s northwest.

“I think the army has its hands full at this point of time," Haider said. "And so far the police and the Rangers [paramilitary force] who can restore law and order situation if they are given clear cut direction against anybody who is breaking law and not get involved politically.”

Pakistani leaders were scrambling Friday to respond to the crisis in Karachi, as they met with top officials to discuss ways to respond to the violence.

In Islamabad, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appealed for peace, stressing the importance of the city to Pakistan’s economic stability. He called for the country to unite against violence in Karachi, saying peace in the city will strengthen Pakistan.

U.S. officials are also concerned.  U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter condemned the violence on Friday, and all parties to seek a peaceful resolution of their differences.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid