Lahore, April 30: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has voiced concern over the acute difficulties of the civilian population in Lyari, Karachi, where law enforcement agencies’ operation against organised crime has been going on for several days.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Commission said: “HRCP is not in a position to comment on the nature and utility of the operation being carried out in Lyari, but it must express its utmost concern over the unbearable ordeal of the people living in the area. Reports have emerged of shortage of essentials and of Lyari residents having no access to electricity, water and other basic provisions, including milk for children. The fact that many people have been forced to migrate amid clashes between law enforcement personnel and their targets and that there are no arrangements to provide them shelter is intolerable. The education of children has been completely disrupted. It is regrettable that the problems of the people that could not have been too difficult to imagine beforehand have not received due attention. Relief bodies must continue to supply food and other basic provisions to the people, access to hospitals and transport should be ensured, and precautions taken to save the people from being caught up in the crossfire. The authorities must make sure that the operation does not add to the miseries of the peaceful residents of the area. They must also be transparent about the operation and its strategy, achievements and timeframe, amid accusations that the operation is one-sided. HRCP calls upon the government and all political parties to work towards bringing peace to the violence-hit area of Karachi at the earliest and notes, with regret, that gunbattles have taken 19 lives, including those of three policemen and injured many people, including two journalists. Larger questions of how the miscreants in the area came to be so organised and got their hands on sophisticated weapons on a large scale must also be answered and the reasons for any law breaker’s ability to repeatedly take a stranglehold on Karachi and what countermeasures are planned must be explained to the people. The most essential point is that any operation that causes innocent citizens and their families more loss of life and misery than the outlaws is unacceptable.”
( Zohra Yusuf )