Thursday June 20, 2024

Karachi operation — success for real or just a flawed impression?

By Ebad Ahmed
April 21, 2016

Attack on policemen in Orangi Town raises questions over effectiveness of crackdown in city

Karachi: More than 800 days have passed since a much-touted security operation has been under way in the ethnic and political melting pot that is Karachi.

Since September 2013, the city has seen an undeniable reduction in what were, frankly, unacceptable levels of violence for a metropolis often cited as the financial hub of a country that has long been seen as a key player in regional geopolitics.

However, despite the positive developments, there have been a considerable number of attacks on the law enforcement agencies - both police and Rangers - prompting questions on the claim of the “indisputable success” of the Karachi operation.

Speaking to The News, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson Zohra Yousuf said though the Karachi operation had decreased target killings and extortion cases in the city, whenever anti-state elements had found the opportunity, they had struck the most vulnerable segments of the society.

“The issue is that until and unless there is complete de-weaponisation, we won’t be addressing the root cause of the problem,” she said.

“But for that we need single-mindedness on this issue. Unfortunately it appears that the law enforcement agencies have deviated from the main agenda of the Karachi operation by involving themselves in the political matters of the city and the province. It’s unfortunately diluting its impact,” she added

Yousuf further said that the paramilitary force, heading the Karachi operation, should now share its plans with the masses.

“We need that plan so that we can be clear on its objective, how far we have achieved and what remains to be accomplished.”

Professor Dr Tauseef-ur-Rehman, a renowned columnist and academician took Yousuf`s apprehensions ahead saying that with the easy availability of weapons in the society, financial support to miscreants from within the country and abroad, and lastly the ideological far-right narrative perpetuated by the religious seminaries and government schools, the Karachi operation faced a serious challenge in achieving its ultimate aim.

Karachi-based journalist Mazhar Abbbas said perhaps the claim of success in the Karachi operation was not proportionate to the actual accomplishment on the ground.

“Though there has been a marked decrease in crime, but even if today we can’t conduct a polio campaign smoothly then one can be sure that still a lot needs to be done,” he added.

Raw involved?

However, for former Citizens-Police Liaison Committee chief Jameel Yousuf and former

Sindh governor Lt Gen (retd) Moinuddin Haider, the potential involvement of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) could not be ruled out.

 Jameel said the Karachi operation had been efficient in maintaining law and order in the city but such a coordinated attack clearly indicated the involvement of the Indian intelligence agency.

He added that the operation was an ongoing process in which anti-state elements, despite being on the back foot, were attacking whenever they had an opportunity.

Haider said WHO representatives were present at the scene; hence it was clear that the miscreants wanted to make an international headline. “The operation needs to be stepped up; it shouldn’t be a slow-moving affair.”