HRCP demands political parties join hands to end Karachi mayhem

Lahore, August 4: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed serious concern on Wednesday over the spree of killings unleashed on Karachi after the assassination of a lawmaker, and called upon all political actors to do everything within their power to end the bloodshed in the city and settle their differences in a non-violent manner.In a statement issued on Wednesday, HRCP said: “Karachi has once again descended into the now familiar mayhem, with nearly 70 people dead and another 200 injured. As the murders, torching of vehicles, shops and pushcarts continue, the citizens have been left to fend for themselves.

The assassination of Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Raza Haider is condemnable indeed, but the subsequent killings on the streets of Karachi are equally unpardonable. While MQM’s grievances are understandable, their tendency to blame one party for anything that goes amiss would not help. It is now painfully obvious that there are many actors, including terrorists trying to fish in troubled waters, who can start mischief and then sit back as Karachi degenerates into violence.

 The government has responded in what has become a typical and a stereotyped manner, naming names first and ordering investigations later. It appears that the government considers its primary obligation is not to protect the lives and property of the people but to issue statements listing possible offenders after the crime has been committed. Little wonder then that the aggrieved parties have not taken the official assertions seriously and have proceeded to go after the perceived perpetrators.

 It is an undeniable fact that all parties and groups in Karachi are armed to the teeth and have developed a taste for slugging it out at the slightest provocation. The government’s capacity, rather the abject lack of it, has been totally exposed. The only thing that can redeem the situation is an agreement and an unequivocal commitment by the political parties that they will not resort to violent means, nor display their firepower and street power to settle disagreements.

 They also must move to ensure an across-the-board de-weaponisation drive in the port city and somehow try to make up for the utter inability of the government to protect the most basic of human rights of the people.”

Dr Mehdi Hasan
 Chairperson

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