Worsening law & order in Karachi
As the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) staged a token walkout from the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday to protest the killing of its workers and the government’s inaction, Law Minister Ayaz Soomro informed the house that the provincial government was likely to deploy a police force from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in Karachi in order to tackle growing lawlessness in the metropolis.
The MQM’s deputy parliamentary leader said that his party’s sector member Hasan Raza and two sympathisers were kidnapped from their friend’s house in Nayabad two days ago and their tortured bodies were found on Mirza Adam Road on Monday night.
Referring to the MQM’s walkouts on June 14 and 15 against the killing of its workers and the dispatching of a letter to the chief minister in this regard, Faisal Sabzwari said no action had yet been taken to this effect.
He revealed that they also held talks with the senior education minister and the additional chief secretary (home), but to no avail.
Sabzwari, who is also the minister for youth affairs, said the chief minister extended assurances to the traders but they were still being threatened by extortionists and everyone knew what happened in Gulistan-e-Jauhar on Monday following the murder of a suspect there.
“We are part of the government but we are also responsible to our voters,” he said, adding that administrative action was not being seen anywhere.
The police used to fire on people who protest against power breakdowns but terrorists were roaming freely, he said.
Sabzwari revealed that dozens of raids were conducted in the surroundings of the MQM headquarters ‘90’ in Azizabad and several workers were detained.
Another MQM leader, Muhammad Raza Haroon, said that law enforcement agencies conducted raids on MQM offices without informing them, alleging that other parties had been giving shelter to terrorists but no raid was being conducted there.
Without naming any area, he said “a hide and seek” continued in a certain area for six to eight days but no terrorist was captured. He said it had become a crime to go or move in one particular area.
The MQM leader said that when they named one such area, it was given an ethnic colour. He added that they wanted to get its residents free as the terrorists had virtually taken them hostage.
He said that they had become tired of taking the coffins of their workers, adding that they would “compel” their leadership to review the party’s policy towards the government since their walkouts were not bringing the desired results.
Haroon said their “compulsions and weaknesses” were increasing with every passing day, and asked how long they would persuade their workers to exercise patience.
“The government makes promises and gives assurances daily but no action is being taken,” he said and asked as to what the use of sitting in this house was when they could not protect their people.
The MQM leader also criticised the law enforcement agencies for doing nothing when their workers were in the captivity of criminals for three days before being tortured to death.
In his response, Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro said that the Sindh government would call out a police force from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan for deploying them in Karachi to maintain law and order as “the government also now thinks that enough is enough”. He revealed that the chief minister had gone to Islamabad where important decisions would be taken, including reshuffling in the police.
Soomro said that the unrest in the city was a conspiracy against the government, democracy and the coalition partners. He said that if trains were torched in Sindh, treason charges would have been levelled against them, but in Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was orchestrating violence by letting the people set trains and other properties on fire. “Is it not a conspiracy against the government, democracy and the country?” he asked.
Minister for Archives Rafiq Engineer said his voters from Lyari, who mostly work as labourers, were being targeted on the basis of their physical appearance, thus triggering anxiety and fear among them. He said these people were not terrorists neither have they any affiliation with any political party.
He said that a situation was being created to destabilise the government, adding that it was the responsibility of all the coalition partners to stand like an “iron-wall” against the criminals.
Speaking on a point of order, the PPP’s Dr Sikander Shoro said that four labourers of his constituency in Jamshoro were forcibly alighted from a truck and killed by police. He demanded holding a judicial inquiry into the matter.
The PML-F’s Nusrat Abbasi said that a girl, Shahnaz Bhutto, had been declared “Kari” in Daharki, and urged the government to save her. The law minister assured the house that he would seek a report from the SSP concerned in this regard. Humera Alwani called for reactivating the police cell on honour killings.